Problems In The Middle East? Head To These Safe Havens

I was traveling overseas recently. I arrived back in the U.S. via New York, passing through JFK Airport. You probably know the “return to America” drill, which is similar at airports everywhere.

There I was, standing in a big room, waiting to show my passport. As fate would have it, the guy in front of me had an issue with his documents. Thus, he received a thorough, wire-brush inquisition from the uniformed federal officer. Our tax dollars at work, sequestration or no.

I was next in line, with my toes just touching the painted yellow stripe on the floor. So I waited. And waited…

Of course, I thought about skipping to another area. But the queues were long, and I didn’t want to make any sudden moves. That’s what they’re looking for, you know. Don’t alert the Man when you don’t have to, right?

Meanwhile, the customs and immigration area was flooded with the noisy sound of “news” on half a dozen television sets. It was CNN, and I was truly part of a captive audience. It reminded me of the brainwashing scene from that classic movie by Stanley Kubrick, A Clockwork Orange. (Really, if it weren’t for government offices and the Delta Airlines terminal in Atlanta, would CNN have any ratings at all?)

All I wanted to do was get through U.S. Immigration and Customs and catch my next flight. I tried to resist CNN, going so far as to hum Gordon Lightfoot songs to myself — “Early Morning Rain,” to be specific. I like that one verse, “Hear the mighty engines roar/ See the silver wing on high/ She’s away and westward bound/ Far above the clouds she’ll fly.” Yep, that’s for me.

Still, I was stuck in passport control, and CNN’s news flow penetrated my eardrums. The story was about President Obama’s visit last week to Israel and then to the West Bank and Jordan.

I didn’t follow the presidential visit while I was away — too busy — and I wasn’t paying much attention at JFK, either. Not when I could imagine Gordon Lightfoot strumming and singing, “This old airport’s got me down,” accompanied by magnificent weeping steel guitars. Ah… weeping steel guitars. Don’t get me started.

“Limited Goals”? Really?

Despite my best efforts to tune out CNN, a little bit leaked through. I actually chuckled when a CNN talking head said something along the lines that President Obama had “limited goals” for his visit to the Middle East. Oh, really?

Five years into his presidency, Obama finally visited Israel. With “limited goals,” no less, per CNN. Then again, where else was Obama going to go? Egypt is a mess. Libya is a mess. The rest of North Africa is a mess. Iraq is a mess. Saudi Arabia is pre-revolutionary. Yemen is revolutionary. And those are our “friends” over there.

Of course, the rest of the Middle East is a total mess, too. Lebanon is fractured. Syria is in civil war. There’s saber rattling and conflict building across the arc of conflict, from Iran to Afghanistan and perhaps the almost-failed nuclear state of Pakistan.

Face it, the whole region is going to hell in a handbasket. No wonder that one of Obama’s big photo ops was to stand in front of an Israeli Iron Dome missile battery. Those few square feet were the safest real estate on the planet for a few brief moments last week. No wonder everyone was smiling.


Smiling President Obama stands before Iron Dome
missile battery. Courtesy of Ynetnews

So what’s my point? Well, the Middle East is a mess. And you don’t really think that things are going to get better over there, do you?

So where does this discussion lead?

Frankly, I could spend all day discussing how hosed-up things are in the Middle East. But my point is that the troubles within this region make a strong case for energy investing elsewhere. As I’ve said before, thank God for elsewhere!

Remember, North America is experiencing a rebirth of its own fossil fuel energy industry. We can harvest our own hydrocarbon molecules in places like North Dakota’s Bakken, the Permian Basin or the Eagle Ford in Texas. And this could not have come at a more opportune time. There are vast new investment opportunities here, although it means that entire generations of politicians, academics, media talking heads and such will have to confront the obsolescence of their anti-oil-company, anti-industry prejudices. Long story.

But elsewhere in the world? That’s a different story.

The problems in the Middle East are also why I still like global development of big oil plays away from the trouble, offshore Brazil for example. Indeed, the action in the Middle East makes me like the offshore sector even more, because it’s just harder for a bunch of revolutionary religious zealots to drive their Toyota “technical” trucks up to a drilling ship that’s 100 miles offshore, moored in 2,000 feet of water.

Now’s the time to keep looking “elsewhere” for energy opportunities. These safe-haven energy plays should lessen the impact of Middle East turmoil on your portfolio.

Thanks for reading.

Byron King

Original article posted on Daily Resource Hunter

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Byron King

A Harvard-trained geologist and former aide to the United States Chief of Naval Operations, Byron King is our resident gold and mining expert, and we are proud to have him on board as the managing editor of Whiskey & Gunpowder.

This “old rock hound” uses his expertise and connections in global resource industries to bring...

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