Dr. Jack Wheeler
The Commoditization of Oil
When was the last time you thought or worried about the price of aluminum? How about copper? Nickel? Lead? How about cattle, coffee, or cocoa? Wheat? Corn? All of this stuff is important in our daily lives and in world commerce. But unless you are a commodities trader, their prices are not of much concern to you. One principal reason they are not is that they are plain and simple commodities. Their prices and markets are not politicized. Thus the single greatest impact of America's victory in Iraq will be the commoditization of oil and the end of its politicization.
Don’t Trade With Aliens
There is a group of human beings whom I find to be unintelligibly mysterious. In fact, I believe them to be aliens who, while visiting earth occasionally, actually reside in a space ship floating in the interstellar ether. I am referring, of course, to currency traders.
For the most part, other kinds of traders — guys who make it their profession to trade things like stocks or bonds or commodity futures — are normal people. For the most part, currency traders are nuts.
There is simply no explanation for the euro rocketing up far above the dollar since the US
Dr. Jack’s Reading Recommendations for May, 2003
I could not suggest more strongly that you read Bernard Lewis’ latest book, The Crisis of Islam: Holy War and Unholy Terror (Modern Library, 2003). Its compact 164 pages contain an abundance of revelations.
We are so often told, for example, that a basic cause of the hatred radical Moslems feel for the West is the Crusades. Yet, Mr. Lewis explains, the capture of Jerusalem by the Crusaders in 1099 was largely ignored by the main Moslem powers in nearby Damascus and in Baghdad. After Saladin retook the city in 1187, the Moslem world forgot about it for 700 years, until
The World Health Organization or WHO announced today that “the worst is over” regarding the SARS epidemic in Vietnam, Hong Kong, Singapore, and Canada. WHO pronounced Vietnam for being the first country to eradicate the disease, and praised it for doing so transparently, quickly, and efficiently.
One reason Vietnam was able to do so is because it closed its border with China. For notably absent in the WHO announcement was any praise for China. The worst is not over for China. The worst — far worse — is yet to come.
90% of SARS cases worldwide to this day are
Bulletin on SARS
It is important to understand that that the actual death rate for SARS is far higher than the currently reported rate. The death rate publicly given in press reports is a percentage of the reported cases, now running at a little over 2%. The figure to focus on however is the death rate as a percentage of the recovered cases. This figure is much higher, over 10%.
North Pole Memo
My youngest son Jackson and I will be making a trip to the North Pole this month. I started leading expeditions to the North Pole in 1978. This will be my 21st time to 90 North, the apex of the world. It will be Jackson’s 3rd. He’s 10 years old.
People often ask me: "Why in the world would you go to the North Pole so many times?" My stock answer is: "Because people keep paying me to take them there." But it is so much more than that.
Standing on the sea ice of the frozen Arctic Ocean, the
Dr. Jack’s Reading Recommendations for April, 2003
This month we’re going to focus upon books on Islam. The first thing to do in this regard, however, is to go into the To The Point Archives and read the Myth of Mecca article. It explains how the religion of Islam was invented as a religious rationale to justify Arab imperialism. At the end of that article, you’ll see a list of sources, all of which I strongly recommend as works of serious professional scholarship:
• Al-Rawandi, I.M. Origins of Islam: A Critical Look at the Sources. Prometheus, 2000 • Crone, P.M. Meccan Trade and the Rise of Islam. Oxford, 1987.**
Dr. Wheeler's Final Behind The Lines Column from Strategic Investment
PROUDER THAN EVER
[Written ten days after the start of The War in Iraq, March 31, 2003]Let me say it straight. I am almost sixty years old, and I have never in my life been prouder to be an American than I am today.I was talking to my friend Tony Blankley, editorial editor of the Washington Times, the other day, and when I compared George Bush to Ronald Reagan, Tony replied, “It may turn out to be the other way around.”
How to End Civilization as We Know It
Doomsday scenarios were ever-popular during the Cold War. But the reality was that if a nuclear missile hit a U.S. city, we would know for sure who launched it: the Soviets. Thus we knew against whom to retaliate. And thus the Cold War was conducted without a single nuclear shot fired.We are now facing a threat an order of magnitude or greater than that of the Cold War. What if a nuclear bomb goes off in a U.S. city and we're not sure who did it, so we don't know against whom to retaliate?
Something’s in the Air for 2003
STRATEGIC INVESTMENT, January 2003
One hundred and sixty years ago, in 1843, the Commissioner of the US Patent Office, Henry Ellsworth, reported to Congress: “The advancement of the arts, from year to year, taxes our credulity and seems to presage the arrival of that period when human improvement must end.” (This is the source of the spurious quote attributed in 1899 to Ellsworth’s successor, Charles Duell, who never said “Everything that can be invented has been invented”).
Human improvement did not come to an end in 1843, nor will it in 2003. In fact, I think 2003 is going to
PLAYING POKER WITH KOREA
One of the meta-reasons America won the Cold War is that Russians play chess, while Americans play poker. Chess demands great skill and intelligence, particularly at developing complex long-range strategies and anticipating your opponent's moves. But it bears little resemblance to life in the real world. It is completely static and open. Nothing is hidden. Poker is very different. You have to guess what your opponent has and the extent to which he is bluffing. In business, in politics, in life in general, the folks who know how to play poker will almost always fare better than those who know how to play chess.
THE SECRET RUSSIAN GAS IDENTIFIED
Across the world, today's newspapers carried front-page headlines similar to that of the Washington Times: "Russia Remains Silent on Deadly Knockout Gas." The mystery of the Knockout Gas's identity has been solved.
In light of Janet Reno’s concession of defeat in Florida’s gubernatorial primary elections, America needs to remember the horrific evil perpetrated by then-Attorney General Reno in the first months of the Clinton presidency.It is important to grasp that what happened in Waco was no accident, that the Davidians were killed on purpose in an act of revenge by the American government. And it is important to know just how they were killed, that the method of their killing was as grisly and evil as anything perpetrated by Saddam Hussein.During the Iran-Iraq war, Saddam Hussein discovered the most lethal chemical warfare agent was a combination of sulfur mustard gas with hydrogen cyanide, which he used in artillery shells to slaughter thousands of Iranians. It was in effect this same combination that Janet Reno had the FBI use to slaughter 87 men, women, and children in Waco.
GLACIERS IN THE GOBI
In the deepest heart of the Gobi Desert of Mongolia, just south of the Flaming Cliffs where Roy Chapman Andrews discovered dinosaur eggs in the 1920s, there is a naked spine of mountains called the Gurvan Saihan. In the Gurvan Saihan there is a valley called Yol Alyn, the Vulture’s Mouth. And in the Vulture’s Mouth, there is a glacier.
It is not a big glacier, the ice buildup of a stream that refuses to melt even in the heat of the Gobi summer. But it is a glacier nonetheless, thick enough for my son Jackson and I to walk
Still Not Eaten by the Leopard Seal
When penguins in Antarctica get hungry, they get nervous. Grouped together on an iceberg, none of them wants to be the first to jump in the water and go fishing — because there just might be a leopard seal waiting for them. There’s nothing in the sea a leopard seal finds more tasty to eat than fresh penguin.
So the waddle (on land or ice, a group of penguins is a waddle; in the water, it’s a raft) bunches together, the ones in the back pushing forward, the ones in the front backing up away from the ice edge. When
Blowing Up The Bombers
One of the most critical imperatives for Israel right now is to stop the suicide bombing. One of the best ways would be to blow up the bombs -- and preferably the bomber along with it -- prematurely. The ideal would be to blow up the bomber so only he (or the occasional she) dies and no innocent Israelis.Here are two different versions of how to accomplish this.
It is obviously important that OBL (Osama bin Laden) not be simply hunted down and shot to death. He should be captured and interrogated until all the information he has about his terrorist network has been extracted from him – then he should be summarily executed. No trials, no being "brought to justice." What, then, would the most efficient and effective form of interrogation be?
GULBUDDIN AND THE CIA
As many recent commentaries have noted, there was no unified command of Afghan “Mujahaddin” freedom fighters resisting the Soviet occupation of their country in the 1980s. There were about half a dozen major groups and a host of smaller ones.
The legendary commander Ahmad Shah Massoud, assassinated by OBL (Osama Bin Laden) agents just before The Atrocity, belonged to the “Jamiat” group led by Burhanuddin Rabbani. Qari Baba, the famous commander in Ghazni who looked like a cross between Buddha and Genghiz Khan, was part of the Harakat group. Ramatullah Safi was the most outstanding commander of the Gailani group.
THE MYTH OF MECCA
For an increasing number of Islamic historians, the tradition of Mohammed being the source and explanation of the Arab Conquest, wherein Arab tribesmen on horseback emerged out of the Arabian deserts to conquer Syria, Mesopotamia, Persia, Afghanistan, Egypt, Libya and Spain in less than 80 years (636-712), stands history on its head. They demonstrate that the story of Mohammed uniting various Arab tribes as Genghiz Khan did for the Mongols, and providing them with the religious fervor to conquer in the name of Islam, is "sacred history," rather than real history.
Completely Out of the Box
Jack Wheeler Strategic Investor, July 2001
The origin of the phrase “thinking out of the box” comes from an intelligence test called the Nine Dot Box. Imagine three rows of three dots, each equally spaced some distance apart on a regular piece of paper. The task is to connect the dots with a minimum number of lines drawn by a pen or pencil. The only rules are: you must draw a line through every dot once and only once, all lines must be straight (no curves), and your pen/pencil cannot leave the paper.
Most people cannot figure out how to do
WHAT LIFE IS ALL ABOUT
I am writing this in Zermatt, Switzerland. August is a time of year to wish for politics to go away. Besides, when you bother to check the news (maybe once a week or so), the headlines never seem to change: the Arab-Israeli "peace talks" continue to no avail, there are floods in Bangladesh, and so forth.
Thus I thought you might indulge me in a summer soliloquy about life and meaning and purpose — something over which to relax and contemplate as a diversion from important summer questions such as whether the inside of your forearms are as tan as
Why the Clinton White House Went After Microsoft
Early last October, a senior White House henchman, let’s call him Richard Head, paid Janet Reno a visit. The conversation went something like this.
Head: Ms. Reno, the president is very concerned that you do the right thing regarding criminal investigations of his administration.
Reno: That’s reassuring, Richard — may I call you Dick?
Head: Yes — so we at the White House would like you to prosecute Bill.
Reno (spilling her coffee): Prosecute the president? But I thought no matter how massive the evidence against him, I was to stonewall…
Head: No, Ms. Reno, that’s the wrong Bill —