Thursday, September 20, 2007

helicopters

Saigon April 1975
Baghdad 2007

All of this hullabaloo about the Canadian $ at historical highs ($1.15 by Hallowe'en...) has had me thinking about helicopters lately.

The last time the dollar was this high, it was Afro's, bell bottoms, platform shoes, wide ties and the BeeGees The pundits crow. (guilty, but I despised disco). Gerald Ford (Republican) was President. The pundits crow. Then I thought, yeah, and the US was bogged down in a war against "insurgents" in Vietnam, and was doing it's damnedest to get out (and did in 1975). And Nixon was later impeached (though not in relation to the Vietnam debacle). To be fair, it was LB Johnson - a Democrat - who started it.

The Vietnam war was initiated on false "intelligence" - related to the US blowing up it's own ship in the Gulf of Tonkin. And it was against the heathen communists that threatened the American way of life. The Can $ was trading at $1.014*. They used helicopters to evacuate Saigon.

Today, the US is bogged down in an unpopular war in Iraq (going after the heathen Al-Qaeda that threaten the American way of life). Another war against "insurgents". Another war initiated on false "intelligence". People are calling for Bush's impeachment. It's Metrosexuals (or is it something else now?), latte frappuccino low-fat bourgeois biscotti, miniature dogs, and scooters. Bush is a Republican. There are also those who say that 9/11 was a false flag operation - just like the Gulf of Tonkin. They will use helicopters to evacuate Baghdad.

Going back to the high before that, we are in 1959 - when the Can $ traded at $1.042*. Wow! The US was bogged down in a Cold War and arms race with China and the USSR. Around this time, Canada bought it's first Sea King helicopters. It was duck tails, straight-leg chinos, The Big Bopper, and some jazz on the fringes. Dwight D. Eisenhower, a Republican, was president.

The high before that was in 1952 - when the Can $ traded at $1.021*. The US was in the middle of another war that they could not win in Korea. The Korean War was the first war that the US used helicopters in a meaningful way. There was no culture to speak of - beyond Mom and apple pie. OK, big bands. Whatever. Dwight D. Eisenhower, a Republican, won the presidency (though Truman - a Democrat started the war).

Interestingly, the Can $ was high against most other currencies during those periods as well. It has actually fallen a long way since then. Mind you, that data* is going back to early post- WWII, so a lot of the European nations (and Asian nations) were still in tatters, and rebuilding. and heavily in debt to boot.

In conclusion, helicopters and Republicans are good for the Canadian dollar. So are untenable wars embroiling the US.

One last thing about helicopters. Don't they call Ben Bernanke Helicopter Ben?


*Historical Foreign Exchange data from fx.sauder.ubc.ca

Article comparing Vietnam War to Iraq War.

13 comments:

aetakeo said...

Funny!

Anonymous said...

OT: just walked past the Patina condo development sales center and there are about a dozen people in line. It appears that the appetite for condo pre-sales is undiminished in this city! Who are these people?

greg said...

anonymous at 1:12 PM:

I believe the Patina line-up standins were hired as extras and stand in line looking as cool as possible for a day or two at a couple hundred bucks a day each. Gives the impression of excitement to the whole business.

Drive by later and see if the same people are standing in line.

Well worth it in marketing terms...

Am I kldding?

solipsist said...

Gives the impression of excitement to the whole business.

Kind of like the drunken uncle at a wedding - calling for another polka at 3 AM when everybody has passed out, or gone home. Yee-Haw!

casual observer said...

"I believe the Patina line-up standins were hired as extras and stand in line looking as cool as possible for a day or two at a couple hundred bucks a day each. Gives the impression of excitement to the whole business."

This reminds me of when I would sell a vehicle using one of those picture sheets with the tear-off phone numbers. I would always tear off about three of the phone number tabs before I put the picture up, just to make it look like there was interest in the vehicle. I must have been ahead of my time, and I didn't even go to marketing school.

BTW, the Korean "conflict" was a United Nations initiative, not U.S., and Canada fought there as well.

Kely said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
patriotz said...

Then I thought, yeah, and the US was bogged down in a war against "insurgents" in Vietnam, and was doing it's damnedest to get out (and did in 1975)

A couple more nitpicks. In Vietnam, the US was fighting both insurgents (Viet Cong) and a standing army (NVA).

US combat operations in Vietnam ended in 1973 and US forces were withdrawn after a peace agreement was concluded by the US and North Vietnam. Henry Kissinger and Le Duc Tho were awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for this (!). POW's (including John McCain) were also released at this time.

About a year later the conflict started up again (as all concerned had expected) and South Vietnam finally collapsed in 1975. US air forces were used to evacuate Americans and well-connected locals but played no part in hostilities, this having been previously banned by the US Congress.

solipsist said...

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I don't like spam, and I like advertising even less, but I thought that kely was kind of cute, so I cut the links, and reproduced her(?) post.

I'm not quite sure whether being told that the articles are really good written is a compliment, or what, but...

At least the spammers are polite, and that's a small mercy.

solipsist said...

BTW, the Korean "conflict" was a United Nations initiative, not U.S., and Canada fought there as well.

Thanks for pointing that out casual. I was aware of that, but I do tend toward long-windedness, and even pedantry, and so opted for brevity.

That "conflict" was a bit before my time, but my understanding was always that it was more of a proxy war than anything. The USSR got to try out its MIGs, and of course China was guarding its doorstep. A vast over-simplification, I know.

According to Wikipedia,There were in fact 15 other nations (including Luxembourg...) that joined in the fun, and the USSR did not attend the vote on the resolution (they were boycotting the Security Council over the Chinese seat). Technically, that war has never ended.

A couple more nitpicks. In Vietnam, the US was fighting both insurgents (Viet Cong) and a standing army (NVA).

Nitpicks appreciated. Discussion is good.

I was around for that war, and watched it on TV. I didn't pay much attention to the finale, as I was more concerned with girls, and my adolescent pimples, and such.

I remember the evacuation of Saigon, but I was probably more interested in the Doobie Brothers, or 10 CC, and the two sisters that lived next door.

Aleks said...

Everything I know about the Korean War I learned from watching MASH, so not surprisingly I always get it confused with Vietnam.

However, I don't think it's surprising that every time the Canadian dollar hits par the US is in the middle of a war. War is expensive and leads to massive deficit spending which drags down the dollar.

solipsist said...

Everything I know about the Korean War I learned from watching MASH...

Ah, yes. Kerosene martinis, and Hot-Lips Hoolihan.

I don't think it's surprising that every time the Canadian dollar hits par the US is in the middle of a war.

Not at all surprising. It's actually more about the green back being down than the loon up. We are up on the Pound, Euro and Yen, but not by much, and the Pound did take a bit of a(n unwarranted) hit with the Northern Rock thing.

Look for a higher loon against the US$ coming though (in my un-esteemed opinion). I am starting a mantra - A dollar fourteen by Hallowe'en (you read it here first!). China is talking about dumping it's US$ holdings,($3 trillion), and so is Saudi Arabia ($3,5 trillion), and a few others. Muchos dineros... Oil will soon be traded in Euros, I think.

We have a grandstand seat to the fall of a great empire.

solipsist said...

I just had a thought...what about oil traded in Canadian$? We are building a military to back it up...

Tony Danza said...

With all the negative press on the USD I am surprised that no one is hyping a contrarian USD play. You know what "they" say, the news is always worse at the bottom.

Would be interesting to see a summary of what happened with the US/CDN FX after these peak CDN$ values were reached.

Love the blog sol, I appreciate the sacrifice you make considering the new baby and all!