Posted at 9:44 AM (CST) by & filed under General Editorial.

Dear CIGAs,

The following are the respective LIBOR rates. To view the daily updated rates, click the link at the top of the home page.

Current LIBOR Rate

LIBOR is an abbreviation for the “London Interbank Offered Rate,” and is the interest rate offered by a specific group of London banks for U.S. dollar deposits of a stated maturity. LIBOR is used as a base index for setting rates of some adjustable rate financial instruments, including Adjustable Rate Mortgages (ARM’s)

Today’s LIBOR Interest Rates are listed below and updated daily:

LIBOR – 1 Yr  4.131%  -0.038%
LIBOR – 6 Mo  4.376%  -0.018%
LIBOR – 3 Mo  4.750%  -0.002%
LIBOR – 1 Mo  4.560%  -0.027%
Treasury – 30 Yr  4.14%  0.05%
Treasury – 10 Yr  3.84%  0.12%
Fed Prime Rate  4.50%  0.00%

as of 14-Oct-08 09:32 ET
sources: DTN, Federal Reserve

Posted at 7:44 PM (CST) by & filed under General Editorial.

Dear CIGAs,

To sum up today:

Once again the exact economic actions that caused former market bubbles, today’s credit crisis (that is made up of massive legal financial fabrications) and enormous injections of US dollars into the world monetary system by the Fed (Helicopter Drop) were taken.

The FASB has once again allowed egregious financial fabrication in the valuing of OTC derivatives outrageously far away from the reality of their true worthless value.

The injection of dollars into the world monetary system, assuming you understand the mechanism of swaps, and the number that non US central banks said was going to be utilized ($2 trillion NOW) is monetary stimulation faster and larger by orders of magnitude than any monetary action in the history of economics, even when adjusted for inflation.

If you do the same things but to a factor of ten you might get CONSEQUENCES times 100, but hey, it might fool the world for 22 more days.

Posted at 3:57 PM (CST) by & filed under General Editorial.

Dear CIGAs,

I am in shock. the American Banker’s Association is not satisfied. They want to go back to “computer model only” valuation for market-less OTC derivatives which have been and will continue to be a total cartoon.

FASB gave them back an enormous break by allowing significant fabrication of values and still that is not enough.

When in the history of the USA did they fall to such organized lows? Why should they have any laws or rules over anything at all if they can be adjusted or as above cancelled altogether when inconvenient to the big wigs.

Is this what you call the WILD WEST?

Bankers group asks SEC to overide FASB on fair value rules
American Bankers Association sends letter advocating reliance on internal estimates rather than market pricing
October 13, 2008 3:22 PM ET

(Reuters)-The American Bankers Association on Monday asked the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission to override U.S. accounting rule-makers’ new guidelines on mark-to-market accounting, saying they still rely too heavily on distressed asset values.

The staff of the Financial Accounting Standards Board released guidance on Friday intended to formalize a Sept. 30 joint clarification from the SEC and FASB which said that banks could rely on internal estimates, rather than currently deeply discounted market prices, to value assets in illiquid markets.

In a letter to SEC Chairman Christopher Cox, the American Bankers Association said FASB’s guidance was “circular” and “refuses to recognize the realities of the current situation” by requiring companies to still evaluate liquidity risk in their calculations.

“Given the importance of this issue, the impact it has on the crisis in the financial markets, and the seeming inability of the FASB to address in a meaningful way the problems of using fair value in dysfunctional markets, we believe it is necessary for the SEC to use its statutory authority to step in and override the guidance issued by FASB,” Edward Yingling, president and CEO of the American Bankers Association, said in the letter.

The FASB staff’s guidelines, titled “Determining the Fair Value of a Financial Asset When the Market for That Asset Is Not Active” differed slightly from the original Sept. 30 statement. The changes reflected concerns raised in more than 90 comment letters sent to FASB last week on the change.


Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

The last paragraph says it all.

“A physical shortage demonstrated by the “ballistic” demand for coins in the past few months has probably driven rates higher, but the fact many people have gold in their accounts is probably an even bigger factor, Mr. Norman suggested. Investors are likely allocating their bullion, which means it is physically set aside in a vault with their name on it. If the bank holding it fails, it can still be collected because the gold cannot be lent out.”

Hoarding pushes gold leasing rates up
Price spike forecast as banks stockpile bullion
Jonathan Ratner, Canwest News Service
Published: Friday, October 10, 2008

The cost of borrowing gold has surged to its highest level since May 2001 as central banks appear to be hoarding the precious metal.

The one-month lease rate for gold has soared more than threefold, to 2.68 per cent, in just more than a week and the parabolic move — symbolic of the expanding reach of the credit crunch — has experts labelling it another bullish sign for bullion. Prices continue to hover around $900 U.S. an ounce after rising 22 per cent in the past year.

“This (the lease rate for gold) usually precedes a sharp move in the gold price,” said Steven Isenberg, chief executive officer of Toronto-based M Partners. The cost of borrowing gold rose dramatically in March 2001, on signs that central banks were making less bullion available to speculators, mining companies and jewellers. This helped gold rally more than 12 per cent in the following two months.


Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

  1. Small correction, 2nd line should read Fed Reserve via unlimited off balance sheet arrangements called swaps provides dollars for European Nations to inject.
  2. Small correction, 2nd line should not read capital, but rather “dollars.”
  3. Small correction, 3rd line. The US Treasury, at the current rate of $50 billion per tranche, has the ability to do the same, just a hell of a lot less via the Bailout Bill.
  4. Small correction, 4th and 5th line. The article failed to mention that foreign investors so far in needy financial entities in the US have been royally screwed.
  5. Small correction 6th, 7th, 8th and 9th line. Too much reference to the 1929 Crash makes any further Dow index declines quite disturbing to the masses. This is a spin failure that could be quite costly.

Stocks Soar by 11% After Aid to Banks
The New York Times
Monday, October 13, 2008 — 4:16 PM ET

Stocks roared on Monday, erasing much of last week’s losses,
on news that European nations had injected capital into major
banks, that the Treasury was working on plans to do the same
in the United States, and that a deal for a major Japanese
bank to provide new capital to Morgan Stanley was in place.
The S.&P. 500 posted a gain of 11.6 percent, its largest
since the Great Depression, to close at 1,003.35, in
preliminary figures. The Dow industrials gained 936.42 points
to close at 9,387.61.

Read More:

Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

The Fed is permitting world central banks to flood the world markets with dollars, offering swaps on an unlimited amount basis.

Europe and other world central banks say they are placing more than two trillion in markets.

The following is a reasonable definition of a dollar swap:

Currency swap
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

A currency swap is a foreign exchange agreement between two parties to exchange a given amount of one currency for another and, after a specified period of time, to give back the original amounts swapped.


Currency swaps can be negotiated for a variety of maturities of up to 30 years. Unlike a loan, a currency swap is not considered to be a loan by United States accounting laws and thus it is not reflected on a company’s balance sheet. A swap is considered to be a foreign exchange transaction plus an obligation to close the swap being a forward contract.


What miracles can be brought by changing a name from loan to swap?

The Fed is giving possibly trillions of dollars to the world banks and financial entities by funding central banks around the world should they wish to call on this “not a loan, off the US balance sheet” technique.

If you supply more apples in even a neutral apple market does the price of apples not go lower?

If you supply more dollars in even a neutral dollar market does the price of dollars not go lower, especially when unlimited amounts are supplied? Unlimited to me means infinite.

An infinite supply of dollars means an infinite price for gold. Believe it or not.


Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

I always felt that people with stored food were a tad neurotic. I now apologize for that.

Icelandic Shoppers Splurge as Currency Woes Reduce Food Imports
By Chad Thomas

Oct. 13 (Bloomberg) — After a four-year spending spree, Icelanders are flooding the supermarkets one last time, stocking up on food as the collapse of the banking system threatens to cut the island off from imports.

“We have had crazy days for a week now,” said Johannes Smari Oluffsson, manager of the Bonus discount grocery store in Reykjavik’s main shopping center. “Sales have doubled.”

Bonus, a nationwide chain, has stock at its warehouse for about two weeks. After that, the shelves will start emptying unless it can get access to foreign currency, the 22-year-old manager said, standing in a walk-in fridge filled with meat products, among the few goods on sale produced locally.

Iceland’s foreign currency market has seized up after the three largest banks collapsed and the government abandoned an attempt to peg the exchange rate. Many banks won’t trade the krona and suppliers from abroad are demanding payment in advance. The government has asked banks to prioritize foreign currency transactions for essentials such as food, drugs and oil.

The crisis is already hitting clothing retailers. A short walk from Bonus in the capital’s Kringlan shopping center, Ragnhildur Anna Jonsdottir, 38, owner of the Next Plc clothing store, said she can’t get any foreign currency to pay for incoming shipments and, even if she could, the exchange rate would be prohibitively high.


Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

This must be a result of Islamabad just realizing there are only 22 days left before the Presidential Election.

Pakistan president heads to China amid strained US ties

ISLAMABAD (AFP) – Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari flies to China on Tuesday seeking economic investment and support for his country as its ties with the United States come under increasing strain.

Pakistan is one of China’s closest allies in Asia, with Beijing seeing the country as a counter-balance to India.

Islamabad has been a key ally of the United States in its “war on terror,” but that relationship is on rocky ground due to Pakistan’s inability to shut down Taliban and Al-Qaeda fighters based in its tribal belt.

Though the four-day visit is Zardari’s first state visit since he assumed office in September, he met US President George W. Bush in New York late last month for the UN General Assembly.

Retired army general Talat Masood told AFP that Zardari was still “learning on the job” and had a difficult diplomatic balancing act to pull off.


Posted at 3:51 PM (CST) by & filed under Jim's Mailbox.


Click here to listen to a song on the current economic crisis.



Jim Rogers said the next to come is an “inflationary holocaust.” This was taped last week. The salient comment, past half way into his interview, dovetails what you often have written about. The agreement you have is that monetary inflation is the cause and precursor of price inflation regardless of the level of business activity. The greater the amount of money and the shorter the time in history to inject this infinite floods of dollars result in a “inflationary holocaust” quite soon.

Click here to see the video…

CIGA Christopher

Dear Christopher:

Today every political and financial interviewer pulled out a host of Nobel Laureates, Professors, Dean of Business Schools, former Secretaries of the Treasury and other well known equity professionals to high five and applaud the G7 accomplishment of flooding the world with dollars.

Speaker of the House Pilosi got into the act by rehashing the hash of the bailout. She was sure to emphasize the line “do more.”

The answer that governments apply to all situations is to throw cash in dollar swaps in the trillions as a off balance sheet injections.

How did Einstein define insanity? I believe he said it was doing the same thing repeatedly while anticipating different results. The government is doing the same thing that created this crisis and is apparently anticipating different results.

As Jim Rogers says, we are bailing out 29 year old brats driving Maserati’s who we know are the manufacturers of mountains of OTC derivatives. The actions of these brats will end (via what was done this weekend) the financial world as we know it.

The inflation that is heading towards us without regard to the level of business activity is WILD.

I am not concerned that gold will fail to trade at $1650 by January 11, 2011. My concern is that it might be much higher.


Posted at 6:30 PM (CST) by & filed under General Editorial.

Dear CIGAs,

Wrong financial targeting produces zero results after the first flush of glee and high fiving.

  1. Who is going to guarantee the Federal paper of bankrupt nations?
  2. After Lehman, what banks are going to have faith in the government guarantee of all and everything? You can make the public happy, but fellows, it is your landsmen who are panicked, not the general depositors.
  3. Government guarantees of all and everything means an infinite printing of paper, be it a non marketable T-bill or pure cash.
  4. The problem to avoid is the allowing of one quadrillion one thousand one hundred and forty-four trillion dollars of notional value to become real value. The Lehman bankrupt counterparty proves this.
  5. Do you fellows really understand the anchor that is sinking your ship? I honestly don’t think so at the level of G7 ministers.
  6. If you are trying to fool the public, the action by FASB this weekend might have some real impact. It is not the public that is in a state of panic. It is an OTC derivative collapse accelerated by the Fed’s error in letting Lehman enter Chapter 11. That moved nominal value to full value.
    Now a move to non-transparency is not going to do anything for the problem of banks trusting banks because of the valueless type of derivative after type of derivative.

The FASB’s reprehensible action might just be a major BACKFIRE.

The FASB is violating their own mandate to protect the general interests of the public through transparent true value and clear auditing procedures.

FASB rushes to get revised fair-value guidance out on Saturday
Why? Because tweaked guidance on valuing assets could boost third-quarter earnings for some companies
By Marine Cole
October 10, 2008 2:05 PM ET

(Excerpt from article)

“Thus, Mr. Willens noted, “it would not be surprising to see third-quarter earnings reports show marked improvement from past periods as the values derived from ‘mark-to-model’ assumptions exceed those resulting from the use of observable inputs, in such prior periods, with respect to the same securities.”


Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

Even though Merrill only got 20 cents and Lehman got .0875 cents on the dollar for their bag of failed derivatives, the financial entities can now put false and misleading values on their worthless OTC derivatives. Maybe they will even mark up the crap to develop totally false and misleading earning.

Remember the problem is between banks and not between the public and banks.

FASB rushes to get revised fair-value guidance out on Saturday
Why? Because tweaked guidance on valuing assets could boost third-quarter earnings for some companies
By Marine Cole
October 10, 2008 2:05 PM ET

The Financial Accounting Standards Board adopted new guidance on fair-value accounting in illiquid markets today, giving financial institutions more leeway to value financial instruments based on internal inputs.

The board will release its final guidance Saturday, and it will be effective upon issuance.

“I think it’s safe to say when we wrote [Financial Accounting Standard 157 on fair-value accounting], we probably didn’t contemplate exactly the current situation that’s developed in the credit and financial markets,” Robert Herz, chairman of FASB, said during today’s meeting.

“Under such conditions, it’s important to understand and apply both the objective of 157 and the framework,” Mr. Herz said. “By doing that, it will require in some cases more analysis, more judgment.”


Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

Well here it comes. The cost of the Formula combined with the derivative madness is beginning to hit the cash register. The USA will be quite fortunate if the next year’s Federal Budget Deficit is only 2 trillion. Now there is a great reason to own US dollars. Do you think the Geek Algorithms will get it now before they get it in the end?

Cost of U.S. Crisis Action Grows, Along With Debt
By Matthew Benjamin

Oct. 10 (Bloomberg) — “The global financial crisis is turning into a bigger drain on the U.S. federal budget than experts estimated two weeks ago, ballooning the deficit toward $2 trillion.”

Bailouts of American International Group, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac likely will be more expensive than expected. States are turning to Washington for fiscal help. The Federal Reserve said this week it will begin buying commercial paper, the short- term loans companies used to conduct day-to-day business, further increasing costs. And analysts now say the $700 billion bank- rescue plan passed by Congress last week may have to be significantly larger.

“I always assumed they would be asking for more money along the way if it was necessary, and it looks like it’s going to be necessary,” said Stan Collender, a former analyst for the House and Senate budget committees, now at Qorvis Communications in Washington. “At the moment, there’s nothing happening here that’s positive for the budget. Nothing.”

The 2009 budget deficit could be close to $2 trillion, or 12.5 percent of gross domestic product, more than twice the record of 6 percent set in 1983, according to David Greenlaw, Morgan Stanley’s chief economist. Two weeks ago, budget analysts said the measures might push deficit to as much as $1.5 trillion.


Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

Hey G7 (should be G13), the problem is called OTC derivatives, not runs on the regional banks.

FASB folds and permits financial entities to egregiously lie to the public, missing the real target which is Bank to Bank confidence.

Traders’ worst fears realized at Lehmans auction
By Stephen Foley in New York
Saturday, 11 October 2008

“The auction set a price for Lehman bonds of 8.625 cents on the dollar. Financial firms that sold credit default swaps, therefore, owe 91.375 cents on the dollar – more than Wall Street had been factoring in. That figure increased nerves about whether everyone in the chain will actually be able to pay the amount that they owe, something that will become clear over the coming days. “


Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

Just in case you missed it this Friday afternoon:

FDIC news release:
Failed Bank Information
Information for Main Street Bank, Northville, MI

On October 10, 2008, Main Street Bank, Northville, Michigan was closed by the Michigan Office of Financial & Insurance Services and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC) was named Receiver.  No advance notice is given to the public when a financial institution is closed.

The FDIC has assembled useful information regarding your relationship with this institution.  Besides a checking account, you may have Certificates of Deposit, a car loan, a business checking account, a commercial loan, a Social Security direct deposit, and other relationships with the institution.  The FDIC has compiled the following information which should answer many of your questions.


Posted at 2:09 PM (CST) by & filed under General Editorial.

Dear Jim,

You said that FASB, under significant pressure, would trade away years of their long and well earned reputation this weekend by more than likely supporting value to maturity – another title for accounting bullshit.

Will this change everything?

Your friend,
The Green Hornet

Mr Dear Old (me not you) Friend,

The value of this garbage has already been set in cement. This is a professional, not yet public, panic based on the financial destruction between financial institutions. The FASB cannot cure bank (professional) trust of each other by instating a foundation of today’s new fabrication, value to maturity.

The reason for this is value has already been set to “Value to Maturity.”

Merrill got 20 cents on the dollar. Lehman got less than 10 cents.

Only numb-nuts can fluff that off.

What a shame to see the policemen of proper auditing of values bastardize all the good they have done in one cowardly act of submission


Dear Little Tatanka,

According to the following article, it looks like a holiday is coming to the UK on Monday.

Ciga Big Tatanka

State to save HBOS and RBS
Government set to become biggest shareholder in top banks as Japanese weigh bid for Morgan Stanley
John Waples and Iain Dey

THE government will launch the biggest rescue of Britain’s high-street banks tomorrow when the UK’s four biggest institutions ask for a £35 billion financial lifeline.

The unprecedented move will make the government the biggest shareholder in at least two banks.

Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS), which has seen its market value fall to below £12 billion, is to ask ministers to underwrite a £15 billion cash call.


Dear Big Tatanka,

The Chancellor said, “Hey, it’s only a small holiday. Give us a break, we’re broke like everybody else!”


Posted at 7:54 PM (CST) by & filed under General Editorial.

Dear Friends,

According to news reports, the G7 on one weekend of mutual understanding will restructure the entire world monetary system and make the present consequences of more than one quadrillion one thousand one hundred forty-four trillion dollars of notional value rotten garbage go away.

A few of the characteristics of the problem that will be solved in two days of deliberation of the G7, but they mistakenly think they are still the Sun of the World around which all other countries orbit quietly and obediently. That alone has to give you some insight into the problem.

Behind the curtain of silence the subprime loan problem, better described as a global meltdown of credit and default derivatives, continues. The reason for this condition is an attempt to value that for which there is no value. It is spreading globally as a product of the limitless manufacturing PRIMARILY (above 75%) by USA financial entities.

Keep in mind that over the counter derivatives created between 1999 and 2007 generally have the following characteristics:

  1. Without regulation.
  2. Without listing on public exchanges.
  3. Without standards.
  4. Therefore not in the least bit transparent.
  5. Therefore without an open market of the bid/ask type.
  6. Dealt in by private treaty negotiations.
  7. Without a clearinghouse
  8. Unfunded without financial guarantee of any kind.
  9. Functioning as contracts of specific performance.
  10. Financial character or ability to perform is totally dependent on the balance sheet of the loser in the arrangement.
  11. Evaluated by computer assumptions made by geek, non market experienced mathematicians who assume religiously that all markets return to their normal relationships regardless of disruptions.
  12. Now in the credit and default category alone considered by accepted authorities as totaling more than USD$20 trillion in notional value.
  13. Notional value becomes real value when the agreement is forced to find a real market for ending the obligation which is how one says sell it.

The US dollar has improved based on the well crafted Urban Myth that Euroland has more problems than the USA. That like all great lies of history becomes true by experts, saying it loud and often. This method of the transition of nonsense into manufacturer truth is known as Spin. It was one of the most important imports from Germany in 1945. Some think this method of spin exceeded the imports of Dr. Von Braun.

The first plan crafted for the dollar recovery was experts assuring everyone that Euroland, as the source of this problem, clearly would have to have more problems than the USA, with a finger clearly pointing at UBS.

Next many interventions took place with fanfare galore. I love the picture of the Congressional personality high fiving on the passage of the bailout bill.

Since then the Secretary of the US treasury has announced investments in bankrupt banks four times, each time as a new intervention cure of problem.

The best of all might be the collapse of FASB this weekend as the overseers of fair accounting making values where there is none.

FASB to release fair value guidance this weekend
Friday October 10 2008

NEW YORK, Oct 10 (Reuters) – The Financial Accounting Standards Board, which sets U.S. accounting rules, is likely to release formal guidance on mark-to-market accounting this weekend, it said at a meeting on Friday.

The board’s guidance is intended to formalize clarifications issued by FASB and the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission last month, which told companies they could rely on internal estimates, rather than fire-sale prices, to value assets trading in illiquid markets.

At a special meeting on Friday to consider the reforms, the FASB directed its staff to rework and clarify certain parts of its proposal, but stuck to the general concepts issued earlier.

FASB members said at the meeting they wanted to make sure companies were not completely disregarding market transactions in illiquid markets, but rather using them as one of many inputs.



Jim’s Formula:
September 1, 2006

  1. First interest rates rise affecting the drivers of the US economy, housing, but before that auto production goes from bull to a bear markets.
  2. This impacts many other industries and the jobs report. An economy is either rising at a rising rate or business activity is falling at an increasing rate. That is economic law 101. There is no such thing in any market as a Plateau of Prosperity or Cinderella – Goldilocks situations.
  3. We have witnessed the Dow rise on economic news indicating deceleration of activity. This continues until major corporations announced poor earnings, making the Dow fall faster than it rose, moving it deeply into the red.
  4. The formula economically is inherent in #2 which is lower economic activity equals lower profits.
  5. Lower profits leads to lower Federal Tax revenues.
  6. Lower Federal tax revenues in the face of increased Federal spending causes geometric, not arithmetic, rises in the US Federal Budget deficit. This is also true for cities & States as it is for the Federal government.
  7. The increased US Federal Budget deficit in the face of a US Trade Deficit increases the US Current Account Deficit.
  8. The US Current Account Balance is the speedometer of the money exiting the US into world markets (deficit).
  9. It is this deficit that must be met by incoming investment in the US in any form. It could be anything from businesses, equities to Treasury instruments. We are already seeing a fall off in the situation of developing nations carrying the spending habits of industrial nations; a contradiction in terms.
  10. If the investment by non US entities fails to meet the exiting dollars by all means, then the US must turn within to finance the shortfall.
  11. Assuming the US turns inside to finance all maturities, interest rates will rise with the long term rates moving fastest regardless of prevailing business conditions.
  12. This will further contract business activity and start a downward spiral of unparalleled dimension because the size of US debt already issued is of unparalleled dimension.

Therefore as you get to #12 you are automatically right back at #1. This is an economic downward spiral.

I heard all this “slow business” as negative to gold talk in the 70s. It was totally wrong then. It will be exactly the same now.

Spin it, intervene in it, witness the media glee. Regardless of it all, gold will trade at $1200 and $1650, the dollar at .72, .62 and .52.

Regards, Jim

Posted at 3:54 PM (CST) by & filed under General Editorial.

Thoughts for the Day:

The expectation for dramatic action by the G7 are extremely high. The options available to the G7 however are quite limited.

The consequences of all the limited options available to the G7 will create a modern day worldwide Weimar Republic.

The generally accepted theory that Europe will suffer worse than the US as a result of the OTC derivative collapse is a popular urban legend, yet the euro is off from $1.60 to $1.34 based on a carefully structured myth.

Japan says G-7 countries must look forward
The Associated Press
Published: October 11, 2008

WASHINGTON: Japan’s finance minister says that although the United States is the source of the financial “earthquake” roiling world markets, the world’s top economies should struggle together and not assign blame.

WASHINGTON: Japan’s finance minister says that although the United States is the source of the financial “earthquake” roiling world markets, the world’s top economies should struggle together and not assign blame.

Shoichi Nakagawa says the efforts Friday by the so-called Group of Seven countries are not the end of what they are prepared to do.

He provided few specific details.

But he said through an interpreter that the International Monetary Fund has to “fulfill its role” and strongly respond to the crisis. He says Japan will make further contributions if necessary.

He had said earlier in the day that Japan is set to propose that a joint fund be set up to give emergency loans to nations hit by the crisis.


Jim Sinclair’s Commentary

Please read the following article.

Pakistan will turn out to be the most serious problem out there. It will be more disturbing and world changing than the present fact that there is no major money center bank, nor is there an international investment firm that is solvent.

Dexter Filkins: Pakistan’s long road to chaos
02:06 PM CDT on Friday, October 10, 2008

Hours after a truck bomber killed 53 people last month at the Marriott Hotel in Islamabad, Pakistan’s interior minister laid responsibility for the attack on Taliban militants holed up in the Federally Administered Tribal Areas, or FATA — the remote, wild region that straddles the border with Afghanistan.

“All roads lead to FATA,” Rehman Malik said.

If the past is any guide, Mr. Malik’s statement is almost certainly correct.
Also Online

But what Mr. Malik did not say was that those same roads, if he chose to follow them, would very likely loop back to Islamabad itself.

The chaos that is engulfing Pakistan appears to represent an especially frightening case of strategic blowback, one that has now begun to seriously undermine the American effort in Afghanistan. Tensions over Washington’s demands that the militants be brought under control have been rising, and last month an exchange of fire erupted between U.S. and Pakistani troops along the Afghan border. So it seems a good moment to take a look back at how the chaos has developed. It was more than a decade ago that Pakistan’s leaders began nurturing the Taliban and their brethren to help advance the country’s regional interests. Now they are finding that their home-schooled militants have grown too strong to control. No longer content to just cross into Afghanistan to kill American soldiers, the militants have begun to challenge the government itself.

“The Pakistanis are truly concerned about their whole country unraveling,” said a Western military official, speaking on condition of anonymity because the matter is sensitive.

That is a horrifying prospect, especially for Pakistan’s fledgling civilian government, its first since 1999. The country has a substantial arsenal of nuclear weapons. The tribal areas, which harbor thousands of Taliban militants, are also believed to contain al-Qaeda’s senior leaders, including Osama bin Laden and Ayman al-Zawahri.