NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- A persistent shadow drops now over prospects for economic growth in America and Western Europe, where most public companies have a concentration of customers and assets.
It is not simply that populations across Western Europe are too old and or are growing too slow. It's that Russia is decidedly on the move while America unwisely retreats from a once commanding position of geo-political influence worldwide.
Russia's unrelenting advance and America's sloppy, ambivalent response so far raise ghosts and worries in western Europe that already are heightening anxiety in capitals and households grown accustomed to a peace kept at comparatively low cost, under America's increasingly porous defence umbrella.
At the same time, rumblings mount in Russia, China and the Middle East, plainly suggesting that foreign appetites for holding fiat currencies such as the U.S. dollar and the euro are waning.These rumblings, once translated into alternative schemes supplanting use of the dollar and the euro as reserve currencies of choice, further threaten American and European multi-national companies and governments, long-accustomed to operating using priviledges that inevitably will disappear. A one-two punch could soon be landing hard to pummel traditional, long-only investors: structurally driven constraints upon reported financial results from continuing operations, coupled with rising benchmark interest rates for U.S. and western European governments. It is a mistake of enormous proportions to assume what plays out now involving Russia's annexation of Crimea and unfolding advance into eastern portions of Ukraine has to do only with territory or with tweaking the geo-political balance along an edge of the European continent. It is an even bigger mistake to assume, as famed journalist Ambrose Evans-Pritchard does, that Russia has already lost much in Putin's Crimean gambit over continuing objections from key western powers.