There’s never a dull moment in geopolitics. The North Korean crisis has calmed down, at least temporarily. Kim Jong Un and Donald Trump are preparing for a peace summit, probably in early June at a location yet to be determined. Kim Jong Un is making verbal concessions about denuclearizing the Korean peninsula and discontinuing nuclear weapons development. It remains to be seen what he wants from the U.S. in return.
Many U.S. policymakers are highly skeptical that North Korea will keep its promises because they have lied about every promise they’ve made in the past 30 years. This could just be an effort to buy time and get the U.S. to back away from Korea while they continue developing nuclear weapons in hidden labs and testing facilities. But, at least for now, the tensions have cooled off and we’ve hit the “pause” button in the five-month countdown to war that began last October.
Meanwhile, another hot spot has flared up that may be even more dangerous than North Korea. As this article explains, President Trump is preparing to terminate the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), agreed between Iranian leaders and President Obama regarding the Iranian nuclear and missile programs.
The JCPOA is not a treaty and has never even been signed. It’s just a memo agreed on a handshake basis by two sides who don’t trust each other. Trump can tear it up in a heartbeat if he wants.
Iran is now threatening unspecified retaliation if Trumps terminates the JCPOA, including a resumption of nuclear programs and “unexpected” attacks, which probably means cyber-attacks or terrorism.
It’s never a good time for investors to take their eye off the ball of geopolitical risk. A prudent allocation to physical gold and an increase in your cash allocation are two ways to prepare for the unexpected.
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