Jimmy Carter was completely wrong on Korean troop withdrawal

September 1977, Washington, DC, USA --- President Carter Speaking at Press Conference --- Image by © Wally McNamee/CORBIS

North Korea and its sociopath twenty-something Communist Dictator, Kim Jung Un, the son of former Dictator Kim Jung Il, and the grandson of former Dictator Kim Il Sung, warns it is in a “state of war.”  The rogue country, officially considered the equivalent of a “terrorist” state by the U.S. government, now possesses nuclear warheads, has tested a nuclear device, and has also successfully tested inter-continental ballistic missiles that could be capable of reaching American targets and interests in the Pacific Ocean, let alone its other neighbors and its South Korean opponents.

But while the U.S. military and our 28,000 or so troops in South Korea, and our allies are considering both their intelligence reports and what truth there is in the threatening rhetoric of North Korea, and have flown B-2 stealth bombers and steamed U.S. nuclear aircraft carriers to the region in a show of force, and as tensions rise, many of us might remember the repeated failures of the role played by Jimmy Carter on the Korean Peninsula, which have surely contributed mightily to the world’s tensions today, and the lessons to be learned from confronting a warmongering dictator in Korea with cotton candy.

Jimmy Carter, the failed American Democratic President, who in just four short years between 1976 and 1980 gave away the Panama Canal, presided over an inflation crisis, an energy crisis, an unemployment crisis, and the taking of American hostages in Iran and a botched rescue mission, who forced U.S. athletes to boycott the Olympics, who “de-recognized” the Republic of China on Taiwan as the legal democratic government of China and rendered that friendly nation and ally to lower than diplomatic status, and who was thrown out of office after one term by voters in favor of Ronald Reagan, was also wrong about something else: his campaign promise to withdraw all U.S. troops from South Korea.

The Military Intelligence Professional Bulletin, by Fred Hoffman, published in 2002 a newsletter detailing Jimmy Carter’s misguided determination to withdraw all U.S. military forces in South Korea. Carter’s personal decision to extract the United States from protecting people in South Korea from North Korean tyranny reveals his very poor judgment in matters dealing with real human rights. According to the Bulletin, (which I am drawing on in this piece) while campaigning for President as early as January 1975, Carter declared that if elected he would order the withdrawal of all U.S. ground forces from the Korean peninsula.  Less than a week after he was elected, in January 1977, Carter indeed issued orders to begin the withdrawal.  For the next two-and-a-half years, Carter fought the protests of Congress, America’s allies in Asia, and military intelligence, and actually withdrew 3,600 U.S. ground forces that had been protecting South Koreans.  Carter took these actions despite the fact that within just a few years, the North’s fellow Communists in nearby North Vietnam had broken the Paris Peace accords and invaded and conquered the Republic of Vietnam (South Vietnam).

Carter took his position on unilateral withdrawal disregarding the fact that military tensions remained high between North Korea and the United States. In 1968, North Korea seized a U.S. naval ship, the Pueblo. In 1974, tunnels were discovered that were dug under the demilitarized zone between North and South Korea, dug by the North Korean communist government. Clearly, Carter’s position had little justification from a military standpoint, or from the standpoint of standing up to international Communist aggression. Unilateral withdrawal gained no corresponding peace gesture from North Korea. Carter’s  position was to be a nonsensical pacifist; and by withdrawing U.S. forces, Carter was not only abandoning the aspirations for freedom of the Korean people and jeopardizing the stability of Japan, he was also doing North Korean dictator Kim Il Sung’s dirty work for him. If Carter had his way, South Korea would most surely have been invaded by now without a fight from the United States, and millions more would be living under Kim Jung Un’s nightmarish Communist dictatorship.

During Bill Clinton’s presidency, yet another North Korean crisis developed over that country’s use and enrichment of uranium. “Hot” diplomacy ensued and Clinton’s choice of a “special Ambassador” to reason with the North Korean Communist Dictator was … Jimmy Carter, who came out of retirement to negotiate an agreement with the North Koreans that was supposed to limit their uranium use and enrichment to peaceful purposes. Carter had his way that time, and his effort clearly proved to be yet another foreign policy disaster for our nation. Because of Carter’s poor perceptions in diplomacy, and given North Korea’s test of a massive underground nuclear explosion on February 12, a wholly contrary result to Carter’s mission, his “special Ambassador” status can be seen as a complete failure.  Rather than stopping nuclear proliferation, Carter played the role of a patsy to a Communist Dictatorship, one that has now joined the “nuclear weapons club” of nations and today gravely threatens the free world.

What American policy needed when Carter was president was more troops, not less in Korea; and a stronger military hand.  Reagan proved that point in his policies, which helped topple communism in Eastern Europe and the former Soviet Union. But Carter’s policies to the contrary lost four years in Korea. And what America needed when it negotiated North Korean’s nuclear fission policy was a tough realist as the top negotiator actually dedicated to stopping nuclear proliferation, not a Jimmy Carter.

Carter’s utter failure on Korea is sadly a failure now affecting new generations of Americans, and Asians, born into freedom many years after he was thrown out of office, but who now must bear the brunt of his poor decisions. It is a terrible legacy for a president.

James V. Lacy is publisher of the California Political Review.

This article was originally published March 30, 2013.

California Is Headed Into a Very Dark Pit

california-flagAs California still continues thumbing their nose at the brute, non-global-warming believing Donald Trump, we the people may need him now more than ever. After eight years of doing away with 70 years of post World War II deterrence, realpolitik, balancing hostile nations and leading the world, supposedly California voters thought it was more prudent “to lead from behind.” And now the price to restore global deterrence that will protect California is being paid.

These actions, where elections have consequences, now find California in the cross hairs of North Korean nuclear missiles. Global warming, human rights (whether gay rights or religious freedom) and despising Donald Trump/Republicans won’t take precedent when the threat ignored by “strategic patience” takes aim at Los Angeles and San Francisco for nuclear annihilation. Eight years of hand wringing and indecisive rhetoric has produced North Korea, Iranian, Chinese and Russian belligerence. Each of these war-seeking nations will strike California (the heart of the U.S. economy) if and when they are given the chance.

None of these issues are crossing the California Legislature or Gov. Brown’s collective minds at this time. If that’s the case then what is the state of the state? We’re on our way to passing the largest transportation tax in the history of California, according to State Senator John Moorlach, that will do nothing to alleviate the current transportation issues, address concerns about former transportation taxes that were appropriated elsewhere or address Cal Trans union-led inefficiencies, instead of accounted for transparency. Additionally, CalSTRS continues missing investment return rates, and the unfunded liability will drain state, city and county finances in only a few years. Other California pensions aren’t doing much better, and these workers who were promised one thing will more than likely never see there money in the coming decades.

Something will have to give – pensions to public employee unions. The promise was, we (the Democratic controlled state), will promise you hundreds of billions of taxpayer money, if only you keep electing us without ever actually asking how that plays out in the real world of diminished returns, an aging society and an already overtaxed electorate. California is also trillions in debt along with almost a trillion dollars of infrastructure (roads, bridges, dams, canals) work that needs to be done immediately.

Through this maelstrom, Gov. Brown is leading in polls to replace Senator Feinstein if she retires and the California Legislature has solid approval ratings. Yet crime soars in all major California cities after the passage of anti-cop, anti-incarceration propositions (47 and 57) and AB109. Democratic voters, moreover, allow the governor to reign over a “green clergy or green clerisy state,” says Joel Kotkin, to the detriment of the very constituents he claims to help with his anti-carbon, non-negotiable environmental policies.

Now cities such as Hermosa Beach want to be carbon-free without ever asking the economic, long-term, scalable viability of renewable energy to replace coal or gas-fired power plants. With the difficulties imposed by environmental mandates, (which do nothing to offset coal-fired carbon use by countries such as Germany, the U.K., China, India, most of Asia and Africa), the U.S. Census Bureau now reports housing permits and construction have slowed in Los Angeles County. Los Angeles, where I am based, continues to pass higher taxes while flouting federal immigration law. When does the madness stop? Or does it ever, particularly if Prop. 13 is overturned and state revenue would soar. That is an ever-looming possibility to solve budgetary gaps, but California continues voting for Democrats who govern this way.

What California has become, moreover, is a paradox of dysfunctional Republicans and Democrats who aren’t the kind of Democrats our parents grew up under – Pat Brown, FDR, Truman and Kennedy – men who cared about middle class prosperity and jobs, instead of billionaire Tom Steyer’s environmental edicts. Which is ironic, since he made billions off fossil fuels. We also lead the nation in illegal immigration, increasing welfare recipients, decreased incarceration causing skyrocketing crime rates and a overregulated middle class that is fleeing the state. But this is good for Democrats since the arriving poor take their place hoping for generous entitlements, service jobs or some type of government employment that benefits the California Democratic Party. It’s a perfect storm of how California is headed into a very dark pit of titanic proportions.

According to a Social Science Research Council report California has the most un-equitable levels of income, education levels and standards of living between coastal and inland communities. But as Joel Kotkin states: “Our emerging republic of climate” will only exacerbate these problems while tech, entertainment and media companies keep headquarters in California, but the real work is done in Texas, Nevada, North Carolina and other low cost, low tax states. California, however, was once the heart of the American dream, but the Democratic Party and apathetic, longing-for-Reagan-Republicans have killed that dream until voters change their patterns.

California losing its manufacturing base, aerospace and military industries is analogous to the U.S. losing deterrence; seeking to recapture that lost spirit is among the most dangerous moments when great powers lose their way. California and the U.S. will find this out at their peril whether this year or in the near future – but we will find out.

Allowing the North Koreans to develop an ICBM or signing a nuclear agreement with the world’s largest sponsor of terrorism – Iran – or letting the Chinese militarize the $5 trillion a year South China Sea while backing down to Assad continuing to gas his population are the same as California wholeheartedly believing in climate change/global warming without ever asking the consequences of your actions? California and the U.S. are on a sure-fire path to war – militarily and economically – because what was once normal (deterrence and middle class prosperity) have been replaced by fashionable, progressive policies. The false canard of sloganeering has taken over from that passé, dullard way of studying how economies grow, jobs are created and families being at the epicenter of public policy is no longer in vogue.

I implore California voters to begin asking themselves, their families and friends why they keep voting for the same public officials while expecting different results. Further, President Donald Trump doesn’t need us – and would beat Hillary Clinton again if the election was held today – so the Legislature and Gov. Brown should make nice immediately. One strategically placed nuke flips California’s massive electoral college votes to the next Republican running for president. That’s not made up scenarios, but realpolitik at its scariest. So stop the nonsense and imprudent hatred of the president. Our lives and state may depend upon it, quicker than we want to believe.

While elite, California enclaves decry high crime rates, they voted for the very people who put in place the propositions that treat criminals the way a parent treats a child who takes an extra piece of candy. Deterrence works – for societal criminals, murderous, nation-state tyrants and for California policymakers – but for now, sticking our heads in the sands and hoping for the best while Senator Kevin de Leon and Gov. Brown shove climate change legislation down our economic throats won’t stop North Korea or the downfall of California.

Todd Royal is a geopolitical risk and energy consultant based in Los Angeles.

The #NeverTrump Crowd Owes President Donald Trump An Apology

donald-trump-3Before launching into this piece I know wonderful conservatives who are part of the #NeverTrump ideologues. I also have close, personal friends – even mentors – who are still part of this movement; but now for the good of the country, California and professional reputations I implore all of you to let prudence be your guide. Stop your continued misguided, ridiculous and frankly embarrassing behavior and admit he is a great, conservative president who actually stands up and fights for what is best for the United States and California.

Let’s review what President Trump accomplished in one week. He got Judge (now Associate Justice) Neil Gorsuch onto the Supreme Court, and according to Senator Tom Cotton (a former member of the 101st Airborne, served in Iraq and Afghanistan), “Restored America’s credibility in the world,” after striking Syria over their chemical weapons attack. Senator Cotton further remarks:

“It’s also telling that the strikes in Syria occurred while President Trump dined with President Xi Jingping of China since the president has repeatedly expressed his concerned about North Korea and expects China to restrain Pyongyang.”

No fan of President Trump, Ian Bremmer, president of Eurasia Group, echoed the same sentiments as Sen. Cotton, that Trump understands the rough and tumble world of international diplomacy. He one-upped President Xi by making him wait an hour for his arrival at their recent summit the same way Ronald Reagan first greeted Gorbachev on a cold winter day wearing only a suit while Gorbachev was bundled in a heavy top coat and scarf. Trump understands what Obama didn’t, and the Chinese have begun changing their behavior after the summit, when it was reported by Reuters that China is turning back North Korean coal (North Korea’s main export) from their docks.

“But wait,” the #NeverTrump crowd will say, “Donald Trump is an ally of Putin and aligned himself with his crude behavior against American interests by wanting normalized relations with Russia.”

Sen. Cotton takes issue with that line of reasoning from the #NeverTrump crowd when he further stated in an op-ed for the New York Times (not the biggest President Trump fans by the way):

“Russia’s geopolitical standing has taken a severe blow. Mr. Putin was powerless to protect his client in Damascus. Moscow now faces a Hobson’s choice of empty words of condemnation or escalation on behalf of a global pariah, which risks further American action. After years of Russian aggression being met by empty American words, now Mr. Putin finds his credibility at stake.”

Or, as my former graduate school professor Victor Davis Hanson recently opined about “redline threats” in a brilliant article titled, “Ancient Laws, Modern Wars,” when smaller nations (Russia, China, North Korea, Iran) believe deterrence is nothing more than hollow words – which the former administration gave the U.S. and the world – then wars such as World War I are the outcome. Words need forcible actions and this president and his secretary of state are proving that on a daily basis.

Even a former high-ranking Obama administration official despaired over the moral depravity and ineptitude of her former colleagues and boss who knew chemical weapons were still in Syria, lied about it anyway, and did nothing to stop this latest chemical attack – except having the Treasury Department:

“Quietly introduce last minute treasury sanctions against Syrian officials involved in chemical warfare. Assad in particular.”

In other words, President Obama’s administration, led by former Secretary of State John Kerry (Kerry said, “100 percent of chemical weapons are out of Syria”), knew Putin and Russia had done nothing about Assad’s chemical weapons, continued the myth, or are such gross incompetents they had no idea that Putin’s government didn’t keep their promises to remove Assad’s chemical weapons.

That would mean the 16 U.S. government intelligence agencies, “that work separately and together to conduct intelligence activities considered necessary for the conduct of foreign relations and the nationals security of the United States,” never spoke with, wrote a memo of, or even had an underling relay that information (chemical weapons still exist in Syria) to President Obama, his national security team (led by Susan Rice), or former Secretary Kerry.

But the Republican purists and #NeverTrump crowd will still argue and debate President Trump’s merit as a leader, policymaker and how he isn’t presidential enough for their liking. As Dennis Prager articulates in a recent column: “Purists Kill Whatever They Believe In,” whether health care reform (Obamacare is still law costing hundreds of billions in taxes, wages and premiums), no hope of tax reform (also costing hundreds of billions), or not having the ability, reasonable level of competency and skill to actually govern, which purist Republican are demonstrating right now in California and the U.S. Congress.

Why wouldn’t he go to Twitter to bash his own party and the press? Given the above example does any reasonable person believe he will receive fair coverage by the press and his own party at this time?

Ironically, his tweets of Sweden being overrun by terrorist-immigrants and President Obama spying on him have more truth than falsehoods to them. Read Eli Lake’s piece in Bloomberg on Obama officials spying on Trump transition team members where NSA Susan Rice was behind breaking the law and high-ranking national security officials (Deputy Defense Secretary Evelyn Farkas) admitted to spying on the incoming administration along with high-ranking officials from the National Security Council, Department of Justice, the Office of the Director of National Intelligence and the CIA.

But Trump is a buffoon and un-presidential, correct? Now the Swedish Prime Minster has said, “His country will never go back to the days of mass immigration,” after the failed asylum seeker (who launched the recent Swedish terrorist attack) was let in Sweden without being vetted. The #NeverTrump crowd and Republican purists owe President Trump their deepest gratitude for their safety, because he doesn’t seem so wrong after all – now does he? And whom do you trust – the eloquent, former law school professor or the rough and tumble real estate developer?

Yet Republican policymakers are still blaming President Obama while not working with Trump for their inability to pass any of the above changes. This was confirmed by Congressman Frank Lucas (R-Ok.) to Politico when he said, “Clearly President Obama gave us a common focus. Now that he’s gone, we have to govern.”

Congressman Lucas and his ilk should be voted out of office. Either govern or at least support the president, because members like Congressman Lucas and California State Republican Senator Anthony Cannella are killing the Republican Party while making the case for the continuation of leftism perpetuated by the Democratic Party.

Using the reasoning that the enemy of the good is the perfect, here are a few questions for the #NeverTrump crowd: Who else was going to beat Secretary Clinton? I voted for Cruz and supported Rubio wholeheartedly until he dropped out of the race, but if it weren’t for Trump in Florida, Rubio loses, to the detriment of Florida and the country. Were Drs. Thomas Sowell and Victor Davis Hanson wrong for supporting Trump? Are they stupid, unwise, without domestic or international knowledge or simply non-prudent bumpkins? Not hardly.

Final question for The National Review and The Weekly Standard folks and California policymakers who didn’t support Trump, and still lost: After your high-priced and overpaid columns, speeches, lectures, luncheons, dinners, conferences, radio and television appearance along with week long cruises around the world, where you are all speak and no action, what would you have done if Hillary Clinton had won and the Democrats were in control?

Because for 99.9 percent of the world under assault from the U.S. and California Democratic Party over social issues (abortion, gay marriage – support it or else – transgender rights – also support it or else, and global warming – unfortunately, support it or else) not to mention the disaster that is taking place around the world echoed by Victor Davis Hanson and for California, written extensively by Joel Kotkin over its forthcoming financial and societal meltdown there are few options over our intrusive, leviathan government. What are your answers? As opposed to we hate Trump’s tweets and he isn’t Reagan?

Trump is confronting Russia, China, North Korea and Iran the way Reagan confronted Russia. Secretary Tillerson is exactly what is needed to deal with those four bastard countries. The day of niceties red-reset buttons with Russia are over.

Here’s what today’s Democrats are giving us: Higher taxes, horrible racist, crime-infested cities, poor infrastructure, failing universities and public education, higher taxes, global warming policies costing trillions and most Republicans go right along with it like lambs to the slaughter. Is it any wonder the country elected Trump? Paradoxically, these same Republicans and the #NeverTrump crowd still haven’t repealed Obamacare, cut taxes or begun rebuilding the military – it’s been Trump – and it’s why you owe him an apology. Begin working with him, and start preparing for the foreign policy disaster that is coming our way when California implodes and China/North Korea, Russia or Iran attacks us.

Todd Royal is a geopolitical risk and energy consultant based in Los Angeles.

How Iran and North Korea Could Wreck California’s Energy-Dependent Economy

Iran OilIt’s difficult to ascertain what non-OPEC, and even some OPEC members will do about future supply cuts and how this will affect the California economy. According to energy trader Martin Tiller, “90 percent compliance is a good sign for OPEC, but Venezuela, UAE and Iraq aren’t following commitments.” Contrary signals are also coming from Nigeria and particularly Libya. New specters of doubt have also been raised whether Nigeria will be able to deliver vast amounts of new oil to the market. This is all good news for OPEC though prices are still struggling to reach the $60-70 a barrel range because of oversupply problems. The market is having a tough time finding equilibrium, and U.S. shale producers are ramping up production, causing prices to stay in the mid 50s. These are all interesting aspects of energy markets, but there are other factors for California to consider moving forward with the state’s energy and economic portfolios.

What California policymakers should begin concerning themselves with more than President Trump’s energy policies, shale producers and OPEC compliance are the two dynamics that could make oil jump significantly in the future – the geopolitical rumblings coming from Iran and North Korea.

These geopolitical-investment risks are financial pieces not being mentioned enough by state agencies responsible for energy regulation, large energy companies such as Chevron based in California, the Legislature and Gov. Brown. Both countries have upped their belligerence towards the world community, and that doesn’t bode well for consumers, which could add further hardship onto California’s economic fortunes.

Recently, the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) reported the discovery of multiple new fields with 30 billion barrels of crude reserve, and the Iranians are ramping up production to Europe in spite of other OPEC members cutting back production. NIOC also wants to boost oil production up to 4 million barrels a day.

Higher exports and increased oil production gives Iran billions in additional resources to cause global disruptions. However, the major uncertainties for California and world energy markets are whether the Iranians continue flouting United Nations ballistic missiles sanctions. These actions by a powerful nation and member of OPEC reveal the underlying significance and implications of future California energy developments. With California being one of the largest economies in the world, the economic forecasting entities (whether private or public) need to begin analyzing the Iranian dynamic.

California decision-makers also need to understand that Iran is not the pre-sanction weakling they once were, but instead is a rising global energy powerhouse with the means and capability to develop any type of military weapon system they deem necessary for the regime’s survival.

The western world led by President Obama, with California’s backing, and Iran began pursuing détente towards normalizing relations in 2015 with the nuclear weapon agreement between the P5 + 1. California markets welcomed those stabilizing signals, but that isn’t the case anymore. Iran is now a Middle East hegemonic force that has to be recognized by California citizens, public officials, energy investors and firms.

Nicholas Hereas of the Center for a New American Security believes:

“In order to confront Iran or push back more fiercely against it, you may find you’re in a conflict far more far-reaching and more destructive to the global economy.”

This plausible scenario could cause California gas prices to return to the days when wars in Iraq, continued Sunni-Shiite tensions and Hezbollah (an Iranian military proxy) fighting Israel in Lebanon caused oil to rise above $100 a barrel. Only focusing on supply and exploration & production (E&P) profitability without considering geopolitical-investment risk is either a boom or a curse for California. Hedge funds have taken historic long bets on oil rising, but wars and conflicts cause markets and governments to move in unforeseen ways. And with companies such as PIMCO and other investment management firms based in California this could open up our economy to a host of unforeseen risks.

This is why the Institute for the Study of War in a recent report said:

“For the first time in its history, Iran has developed the capacity to project conventional military force for hundreds of miles beyond its borders. This capability, which very few states in the world have, will fundamentally alter the strategic calculus and balance of power within the Middle East.”

These are turbulent winds to not take Iranian threats seriously. Having state investment pension risk equations that don’t account for how Iran acts in the Middle East now that their influence stretches from Tehran to Mediterranean while simultaneously fighting conflicts in Syria, Iraq and Yemen seems misguided. Moreover, they command tens of thousands of proxy militias, and without factoring these real-world facts into the price of servicing California’s trillions of dollars of debt doesn’t seem prudent either. Unfortunately, political risk and production are now equal partners when it comes to Iran and California’s economic stability.

North Korea is never mentioned in relation to California oil prices, but could very well be the biggest reason gasoline prices skyrocket at the pump. Thae Yong-ho one of the highest-ranking officials in the North Korean government to ever defect ardently believes Kim Jong-un would attack the U.S. with nuclear weapons if his regime were on the brink of failure. Mr. Yong-ho further elaborated the North Korean leader lives a secretive, isolated life that includes no one having the location of where he even lives. Kim Jong-un is further painted:

“His ability to wreak harm should not be underestimated if his very survival were threatened he would lash out and destroy whatever he could and once there was an effective nuclear arsenal the leader would be prepared to use it.”

In early February, North Korea tested a ballistic missile, which could be used to further its quest for an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM) that could eventually strike California. A U.S. Pentagon spokesman, Navy Captain Jeff Davis stated:

“North Korea openly states that its ballistic missiles are intended to deliver nuclear weapons to strike cities in the United States, the Republic of Korea (South Korea), and Japan.”

For California officials to not imagine a scenario where North Korea has the ability to strike major oil producers and consumers doesn’t seem shrewd. The difficult part for California energy regulators, energy firms, and consumers are how to measure the likelihood of North Korean belligerence into our economy?

Additionally, China is now angered that North Korean and Iranian sanctions placed on those countries have now affected Chinese firms. China has close economic and diplomatic ties with both countries, but particularly North Korea whom they share a border with on the northeastern part of China. North Korea needs China since they are its biggest trading partner along with its main source of food, arms and energy. Despite all this, China has allowed North Korea to continue multiple nuclear tests, and doesn’t appear likely to stop them anytime soon. This seems a perfect opportunity for Gov. Brown to push for closer ties between China and California to counter this risk.

Long-arching trends have been building up between North Korea and western-aligned nations for decades. At least Iran has OPEC to constrain them, but seemingly North Korea only has China to keep them from having a negative enduring impact on the global economy. Therefore, would China allow North Korea to fire off an ICBM towards California if that would have a lasting impact on their ability to grow their economy without abundant fossil fuel availability? The South China Sea standoff is just one example when confrontational geopolitics and economic trade collide – and the results can be disastrous – unless properly managed.

Relative oil and gas price stability has returned since prices have risen the last few months, but 2017 could see energy upheaval. Likewise energy asset prices for California could swing wildly, not at all, or somewhere in between. But geopolitical tumult could cause everything within the California energy value chain to wildly escalate; catching the state flat-footed the way the housing crisis in 2008 caught many banks off guard. The economics of oil and gas can manifest frustration in many ways, but what California officials at the local, county and state level shouldn’t overlook are how Iran and North Korea are shifting global conditions and energy markets.

Todd Royal is a geopolitical risk and energy consultant based in Los Angeles.