In 1970 Simon and Garfunkel released the song "Bridge Over Troubled Water"... a great song title, a legendary song, but maybe more importantly... a fitting label for this new year. 2019 is the bridge year. On the path we just walked is the post Cold War world, and it all began to change in 2008. A year that saw both a Russian invasion of a potential NATO country and the collapse of Lehman brothers. In fact, they happened near simultaneously with one another… in a span of just a few weeks.
We've been on this path since Christmas Day 1991. The Billboard top four songs were sung by Bryan Adams, Color Me Bad, C and C Music Factory and Paula Abdul… but on the other side of the world the Soviet Union was disintegrating. What would the world end up looking like? The West had spent decades mobilizing to contain a threat that now didn't exist. Western Europe had united to guarantee quote "peace and prosperity", and to forever eradicate the chance of world war. Even China and the United States had come together in this effort. Everyone had direction, but what had brought everyone together to the dinner table… was now gone. That's not to say we all didn't pretend things were still the same. We'd go on pretending for over two more decades, but the signs of change hit us like a mack truck in 2008.
We now find ourselves on the bridge. 2019 will be the year where we stand in the middle looking at the other side. Historic and generational scale change is what awaits us. The European Union will continue to unravel. NATO will start to dissolve. New Alliances will emerge. Old and new enemies will come together.
The way things used to work, will seem like a distant memory… and it will all begin to come clear this year.
The world is changing, and the waters of chaos are rising.
We're on the bridge, and the troubled waters beneath us is rising. The waters of chaos will push us on into uncharted territory, and - as in 2008 - the United States will be the catalyst. Recession is coming. Since 1933 our economic cycle has a recession - on average - every four years. It has now been over 8 years since the last recession hit. An economic uppercut is coming, and it's coming at a time when global debt is at record numbers. Consider this: consumer confidence began to decline back in November, oil prices are bottoming out, credit is beginning to crunch, asset prices are falling, and - for the first time in a decade - interest rates are rising. All of that adds up to a recession… and very soon.
When we stop buying, the entire world takes a hit. It's the same thing that happened in 2008. We caught a cold and the entire world sneezed… then caught pneumonia. Look at what's already happening. The UK is exiting the European Union, Italy and Greece are on the verge of default, French Yellow Vest protests resurged this past weekend, Russia can't pay their bills with oil at 50 dollars a barrel, and China is dealing with a greater than anticipated GDP slowdown and a trade war. Meanwhile war drums are beating with new military alliances forming and old ones dying. The world is changing, and the waters of chaos are rising. 2019 will be the year where we look back and say, that's where we saw it all take shape.