Sunday, 10 September 2017

Book review: How the beast works

"The Global Minotaur: America, Europe and the future of the global economy" by Yanis Varoufakis

There are many books that discussed how Germany and Japan were re-built, using the protectionist formula that successfully built the British Empire and the US economy, and how successful these two countries have since become. But this is the first time that anyone has explained why Germany and Japan were specifically re-built by the US, and why they need these two countries to become a developed nation: as the two pillars of the Global Plan (the Bretton Woods system 1945-1971), to act as the shock absorbents if the American economy took one of its many periodic downturns from the trade surplus against everyone.

From this basis the book then elaborate on the surplus recycling mechanism that the world eventually used, which ignored the original idea of surplus recycling mechanism put forward by John Maynard Keynes, that would balance out global trade imbalances more fairly and evenly.

The book then gives the best explanation on Petrodollar recycling mechanism, which author Yanis Varoufakis refer as the Global Minotaur period, a period when Global Minotaur really took off (from when Nixon abolished the Gold Standard in 1971 - until the crash of 2008), named after the Cretan mythology creature that has to be given a tribute of human flesh to stay alive, and able to create peace in the region as long as the sacrificing foreign tributes keep on coming.

What proceeded next is an extraordinary explanation on how the global economy truly works. Many pointed out that neoliberalism began with Roland Reagan, but Varoufakis proof that it started earlier than that, with Richard Nixon lay out the foundations that would eventually allow Reagan to afford his Reaganomics. The book also provides an excellent explanation on how exactly The Minotaur re-build Germany from virtually a wreck from the war into an economic powerhouse, and shows the stark differences with the way The Minotaur handles Greece.

Indeed, all those explanations on global mechanisms eventually lead the book to the Greek crisis. As the finance minister for Greece during the worst years of its economy, Yanis Varoufakis had the first-hand knowledge of the crisis, which makes this book a very important one to read to understand both Greek crisis and the EU economic crisis, with fresh point of views straight from the voice of the oppressed.

He also made the best argument against the currency union of EU (and why it is doomed to fail), in which he argued “[s]urplus recycling becomes, however, ever more pressing when the various regions are tied together by a common currency or some form of fixed exchange rate. The persistent deficits and surpluses within such a currency union are like tectonic plates pushing against one another.” He then elaborate that “[o]nce currency devaluations are no longer possible, to take some of the strain, the forces generated by ever-expanding trade imbalances threaten the union with earthquakes of increasing strength. Since a currency cannot be devalued to lessen the accumulating trade deficits of the union’s ‘poor relations’, the strains on the fixed exchange rate or on the common currency will grow and grow until the system cracks.”

Furthermore, Varoufakis also provides one of the best explanations on China's role in the current world economic system, and why China increased its investment in Latin America from $300 million in 2009 to $1.7 billion in 2010, as part of their big plan since US economy collapsed in 2008. And this raises a serious question of whether China can "take over" the mantle of world leader if their phenomenal growth rely heavily on the consumption of their goods in the US market (and recycling the proceeds back to the US to keep the cycle ongoing, and not as a display of power, i.e. Owning trillions of US debts and other assets).

The book has excellent historical references, which really shows Yanis Varouvakis's grasps of knowledge. It is right up there, at par with the likes of Bad Samaritans, Debt: the first 5000 years, Capital in the 21st century, and Currency Wars, which masterfully describe how the global economy works. It is as if we are learning directly from the professor of Game Theory himself. I would give it 4.5 star if only Amazon had it.

For more reviews, please visit my book review page on Amazon

Friday, 8 September 2017

Book review: One of the most innovative person in Silicon Valley has a very interesting life story

"Elon Musk: Tesla, SpaceX, and the Quest for a Fantastic Future" by Ashlee Vance

There was a time when Elon Musk lived in South Africa, reads 2 books a day, and was being bullied. A time when he started off backpacking then living in Canada, and ended up nearly pursuing a PhD at Stanford before dropping it to pursue an opportunity in a new trend called the internet. There was also a time when he's trying to make it in Silicon Valley but got back stabbed, a time when he backstabbed people. There was a time when he got fired from his job during his honeymoon, and years later when he finally take a vacation he almost died of malaria.

Indeed, Elon Musk has a very interesting life story, and his story is brilliantly captured by author Ashlee Vance in this gripping book, the most engaging biography I've ever read since Richard Branson's autobiography Losing my Virginity.

According to neuropsychologists Musk’s behavior closely resembles someone who is profoundly gifted: "These are people who in childhood exhibit exceptional intellectual depth and max out IQ tests. It’s not uncommon for these children to look out into the world and find flaws—glitches in the system—and construct logical paths in their minds to fix them."

And fix them he did. Nothing that he does is actually a groundbreaking idea like Thomas Edison's lightbulb or Tim Berners-Lee’s World Wide Web, but he took the most obvious idea (like a failed electric car industry) and make some thinkering and changes to make them work brilliantly and more efficiently. Musk does not implement how a business usually done, but instead he change the methods completely.

With Tesla he tried to revamp how cars are manufactured and sold, and he also builds a worldwide fuel distribution network too. In SpaceX instead of sub-contracting the manufacturing of the parts, they make every single item themselves down to radio and power distribution unit, to save cost and to freely tinkering them.

An out-of-the-box visionary who managed to surround himself with fellow mad scientists, the trial and error stories of his ventures are very intriguing, such as creating a 6-men task force and give them money to blow up stacks of batteries to learn more about it. In everything all he does Musk shows the importance of picking up a plan, test it to the limit, and if it failed it failed fast and he then try a new approach.

To that end, this book is also a short history of the Silicon Valley, and the back stories of his “mad scientists” surroundings, like Tom Mueller, J.B. Straubel, Gwynne Shortwell, Franz von Holzhausen and of course Musk's legendary assistant Mary Beth Brown.

Musk is very involved in his ventures and very in control, in fact he interview himself the first 1000 employees in SpaceX, not only the engineers and software developers, but also the janitors and technicians.

And as you can guess, Musk is a no-nonsense type of person, very efficient, and hates wasting time. Like other pioneering entrepreneurs like Gates, Bezos and Jobs, Musk is also known of being difficult at times, including when he fired a marketing guy for having a typo error, in which the author elaborate “ the perceived lack of emotion is a symptom of Musk sometimes feeling like he’s the only one who really grasps the urgency of his mission. He’s less sensitive and less tolerant than other people because the stakes are so high."

The stakes are truly very high that he neary lose his entire fortune and on a verge on a nervous breakdown during the 2008 crisis, during which Tesla nearly ran out of money for development, and when the crisis meant that nobody was buying a car. By July 2008 he only had money for the companies to survive until end of year, was even on a verge of bankruptcy hours before a new deal was signed and save his companies and his personal fortune. It was that close. It was that interesting.

His larger-than-life character is so interesting that Robert Downey Jr once spent time with Elon Musk, took a tour of his factories and had a long conversation over a meal to get into Musk'a psyche. After that visit Downey then requested a Tesla Roadster to be installed at his newly-inspired character's workshop in his upcoming Iron Man movie. That's right, Elon Musk is the real-life inspiration for the movie character Tony Stark.

For more reviews, please visit my book review page on Amazon

Sunday, 3 September 2017

Book review: The summary of every single Berkshire Hathaway annual shareholders meeting between 1986 and 2015

Warren Buffett never writes a book. Instead, he delivers his wisdom through 4 mediums: Berkshire Hathaway annual meetings, his op-ed pieces, his TV interviews and his letter to shareholders. This book is about the 1st medium.

Often dubbed the Woodstock of Capitalism, Berkshire Hathaway annual meeting have grown significantly in attendance size from only half a dozen people in 1970s, to 300 in 1986, 1000 people in 1989, 10,000 people in 2001, and up to 45,000 people in 2013.

Present in every single one of these meetings between 1986-2015 is Daniel Pecaut, which later joined by his longtime business partner Corey Wrenn. This book is the accumulation of their note taking from those meetings, 30 years worth of the shareholders' meetings, which they summarized into 30 short chapters that contain only the gold, the best gems worthy of a university education.

Just like any company's annual meeting, it is first and foremost filled with the discussion of their holdings and its issues. With their usual wit and wisdom, Warren Buffett and his partner Charlie Munger provide a very open reasoning of why they purchase a particular company (including the methods they use to calculate the values), explain us the way they solve or avoid any problems that arise, and lay out their detailed-enough plans for the future for these companies. The 2014 chapter in particular gives a great summary of the inner workings of Berkshire Hathaway and Buffett's and Munger's thought process, which is nothing short of a masterpiece.

True to their nature, Buffett and Munger deliver all of their information in such an entertaining way. For example, Buffett referencing a Woody Allen quote on being bisexual increases the chance of having a date on a Saturday night, to make the case for issuing 1 million shares of preferred stock. Or when asked about buying a stock at a premium price, he responded with "if you were going to buy a parachute, you wouldn't necessarily take the low bid." Or his analogy on reverse engineering as singing a country song backwards, "then you get your house back, your wife back."

Moreover, never absent in their annual meetings are their hilarious take-downs on the likes of efficient market hypothesis and modern portfolio theories, in which Buffett said "people market these fad theories to justify needing high priests", while in contrast his winning investing method is astonishingly simple: he said if he were teaching a business school, he would only teach "1.) How to value a business, and 2) How to think about market fluctuations - that the market is there to serve you, not influence you."

Indeed, Buffett and Munger believe that investing and running a business should not be complicated. Berkshire is buying companies like people buying groceries or cars, they welcome lower prices and deplore price increases. They avoid buying companies with confusing accounting because the confusion "may well be intentional and reveal the character of the management." To them an attitude of trust is the best compliance, and they don't even employ lawyers for their deal makings. And as we all know, these clear and simple methods of investing and running a business have resulted their stock price to grow from $2475 in 1986 (a benchmark of the year the authors first attended the meeting) to a whopping $226,000 in 2015.

Moreover, as they grow in stature, a growing majority of the attendants of the meetings come to the annual meetings to seek investment lessons, and they were not disappointed. Buffett and Munger believe the key to investment success is to buy wonderful businesses, and that "3 wonderful businesses is more than you need in this life and would serve you much better than 100 average businesses."

But they also warn that "there is no one easy mechanical formula to determine intrinsic value and margin of safety. You have to apply lots of models. So it takes time to get goos at it. You don't become a great investor rapidly any more than you become a bone-tumor specialist quickly." On this matter, Buffett said that in 40 years he has never gotten an idea from a Wall Street report, instead he directly reads annual reports himself. This highlight the importance of doing you own due diligence.

This approach is probably best described by their analogy of buying a farm: "Let’s say you want to buy a farm, and you calculate that you can make $70/acre as the owner. How much will you pay for that farm? You might decide you wanted a 7% return, so you’d pay $1000/acre. If it’s for sale at $800/acre, you buy, but if it’s for sale for $1200/acre, you don’t. You wouldn’t base this decision on what you saw on TV or what a friend said. You would do your own homework. It’s the same with stocks."

Buffett also claim to have read the entire investment section of the Omaha public library by the age of 10, and that he is big on reading everything in sight. In fact he concluded that "if you read 20 books on a subject you are interested in, you are bound to learn a lot." He also recommended a number of good books along the way, such as "The Intelligent Investor" by Benjamin Graham (especially chapter 8 and 20 which changed his life), and John Maynard Keynes' "The general theory of employment, interest and money" (with chapter 12 Buffett regard as the best description of the way capital market function), while Munger noted that "we're here to go to sleep each day smarter than when we woke up", and recommended Robert Cialdini's book "Influence."

However, Buffett also highlight the importance of temperament: "being clever and very informative are nothing if we don't have the right temperament. Successful investing requires not extraordinary intellect but extraordinary discipline", in which he pointed out the story of the genius Issac Newton who lost a lot of money in South Sea Bubble.

Yes, the amount of wisdom from Buffett and Munger is abundant, and could not possibly fit all into this short review. Some of my personal favourites are the theory of Ovarian Lottery (which puts the world in perspective), the story of a genie granting a 17 year old any car he wants with a condition that he takes care of the car for the rest of his life (which underline the importance of maintaining our well-being), and the newspaper standard (how we should behave as if our actions will be on the front page of the local newspaper).

Munger also repeatedly remarked the importance of good habits, and knowing what to avoid (such as bad marriage, an early death, risking AIDS, experimenting with cocaine or getting into debt). And when asked about their theory for life, Munger said "pragmatism! Do what suits your temperament. Do what works better with experience. Do what works and keep doing it. That's the fundamental algorithm of life - REPEAT WHAT WORKS." Buffett added that "if you're fast, you can run the 100 metres for the gold medal. You don't have to throw the shot put. The key is knowing the edge of one's circle of competence."

Indeed, the grandfatherly wisdom that come out in these meetings are plentiful, and this book construct the writings in such a way that we will feel that we are there all along for 30 years, attending every single meeting ourselves and directly learning from the maestros themselves. That's an invaluable experience, which is why this book is one of the best on Buffettology.

For more reviews, please visit my book review page on Amazon

Monday, 24 July 2017

Book review: A very smart book, on a passionately entertaining subject

"Inverting the Pyramid: The History of Football Tactics" by Jonathan Wilson

This is the fascinating long history of the Great Game, from the tactical perspectives and the philosophies that come with them.

The book began right from where it all started: the meeting organised by H.C. Malden of Godalming, Surrey, in his Cambridge rooms in 1848, which summons university representatives of Harrow, Eaton, Shrewsbury, Winchester, Rugby, and 2 non-public schoolboys, to create the first unified Laws of the Game, the "Cambridge Rules." The rules then spread around the world in the next few decades via British men of various occupations, blended in with the local culture and create distinctively local style of play, until it became a truly global phenomenon in the 20th century.

The title of the book brilliantly captures this phenomenon, through the evolution of its formation from the pyramid-like shape 2-3-5 in the early days, to 3-2-5, 4-2-4, 4-4-2 to the inverted pyramid shape 4-5-1 and even 4-6-0 that several teams use today, complete with all the advantages-disadvantages, blank spots, and all the major incidents that colour the many transformations.

Sunday, 23 July 2017

Book review: The importance of Khatam

"Misquoting Muhammad: The Challenge and Choices of Interpreting the Prophet's Legacy" by Jonathan A.C. Brown

For Muslims Al Quran is infallable. And Hadiths, despite composed by men, are a close second. But in reality the people who read them are still subject to (mis)interpretation, are prone to errors and human emotions like greed and envy, or can have their own hidden agendas using religious doctrines. This book is about that human fallability.

The book shows the complex intellectual and spiritual debates on the interpretation of Al Quran, and how complicated and political the writings of the Hadiths are. It shows that Islam is where it is today not only through the conquerings and assimilations, but also as a result of many theological frictions occurring for the past 1400 years.

The central message of this book is very straight to the point: we need to read Al Quran wholly, from cover to cover (or Khatam). Reading only some verses of Al Quran or just bits and pieces would take the verses out of context, and thus their individual messages could be highly misleading - the major problem the world has always had since the 600s, especially today.

Saturday, 8 July 2017

Book review: How to control our cognitive biases

"Thinking, fast and slow" by Daniel Kahneman

When 9/11 happened, the world suddenly feels like a much dangerous place. When Malaysian Air planes crashed almost nobody wanted to fly with them anymore. When your teenage daughter comes home late from a party you can't help but imagining all sorts of crimes you read on the news. These are the examples of cognitive bias, a big part of our decision making process. And this book is about how to recognise them and how control them.

The book is written by Daniel Kahneman, the only Nobel Prize Winner on Economics who is actually NOT an economist but a psychologist. Due to his scientist nature the theories he presented in the book have been tested, published, peer-reviewed, and re-tested by many more scientists. And he also uses a lot more theories in the book that are based on experiments made by these peers, to make some excellent points.

The result is an exceptional book, a complex sets of extraordinary findings written in a simple language that makes them easy to digest. Findings that look at decision making process using very specific filters.

Friday, 16 June 2017

Book review: History's amusing lost stories

"When Hitler Took Cocaine and Lenin Lost His Brain: History's unknown chapters" by Giles Milton

This is a light reading from history's lost facts and forgotten stories, from late 19th century until mid 20th century. Perfect for laid back weekend read.

It consist of 50 short true stories with pretty wide range of topics from forced-canibalism, to adventurer who bought his wife at a white-slave auction, the black people who became an attraction at their zoos, the kamikaze pilot who lived to tell his story, notorious jail breaks, bizarre murder trials, to the richest men in the world, and of course to what happened with Lenin's brain and how Hitler's erratic behaviour was caused by the 80-plus drugs he consumed daily.

The author, Giles Milton, is a bestseller author of narrative non-fiction books, which immediately shows since the very 1st paragraph. The true stories read like a gripping novel.

I'm already purchasing the sequal of this book as we speak.

For more reviews, please visit my book review page on Amazon

Sunday, 4 June 2017

The underlying problem with radicalism is ignorance

The best form of worship is the pursuit of knowledge - Prophet Muhammad (PBUH)

The underlying problem that causes radicalism is not only poverty, but ignorance or lack of religious education.

We need to read the whole thing to fully understands religion, and oftentimes people just rely on a teacher to do the hard work for them. Sometimes they don't even choose their own teacher, but someone comes along to teach religion for free, something that they might not be able to afford to begin with.

And that's when the brainwashing begins, when ignorance or lack of religious education (a blank sheet) meets someone who is charming but with a radical agenda.

So I guess one of the main solutions for any country in tackling radicalism is to provide a proper religious education, before any nation is completely overtaken by the radicals.

Saturday, 3 June 2017

Book review: The funnest, most out-of-the-box, analysis on the keys for success

"Barking Up the Wrong Tree: The surprising science behind why everything you know about success is (mostly) wrong" by Eric Barker

This is the 1st book I've ever pre-ordered. I am a regular reader of the blog Barking Up The Wrong Tree, and I once thought would it be cool if Eric Barker can make a book out of these gems? And my God he did, and it did not disappoints one bit.

Like Dale Carnegie, Eric Barker uses so many stories, book references and great quotations to make his points across. There are stories such as how a poor boy in Mexico can become a world class neuro surgeon, how a clinically crazy person can win the enduring Race Across America, or how can an illiterate person in a horrible time and place and without proper education can conquer more land in 25 years than the Romans ever did in 400 years. There are also eye opening stories of how trust is completely lost in a Moldovan culture, how crimes create street gangs (and not the other way around) for protection, and how surprisingly civilised and organised pirates were.

The author then back them up with numerous scientific findings to validate the points he is making, just like the approach of Daniel Kahneman. For example, there are scientific explanations on why some people never quit, why people have depression, and why people commit suicide. Moreover, there are explanations on why high achievers can sometimes have anxiety problem or even depression, why the number ones in high school (the valedictorians) so rarely become the number ones in real life, why beautiful people normally becomes more successful, why nice guys finish first and last (and not in the middle), and why high achievers are rarely active in their social media accounts.

Friday, 2 June 2017

Book review: This should be the 1st book anyone read to understand about Islam

"Lost Islamic History: Reclaiming Muslim civilization from the past" by Firas Alkhateeb

This is the clearest book I've ever read so far on the history of Islam. It is focused, it has a clear timeline, and it is very concise, with no distracting facts that are irrelevant with the narrative. It is detailed enough, but without being complicated.

As a result, we can easily follow the development of Islam since its birth in the 600s until now 1400 years later, spanning territory from Muslim Spain to the Middle East and Africa to India and South East Asia, complete with all the ideological debates, the spiritual struggles, and all the many political frictions and conquerings.

Indeed, it is a perfect book to understand the complete picture, before proceeding to other books with more in-depth topics such as the life of the Prophet Muhammad, Muslim Heroes, the Muslim Empires, Islam and Science, the interpretations of Al Quran, the validity of Hadiths, the theological debates between the Fiqh, Islamic fundamentalism and its terrorists, and so much more.

By the time I finish reading this book I have this great sense of clarity of what Islam is about, and why the many different beliefs, sects, organisations or customs - from the liberals to the moderates to the conservatives - behave the way they do, something that no other book on Islam have managed to summarise so far.

For more reviews, please visit my book review page on Amazon

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Book review: Sometimes great wisdom comes from the thinest books

"On Tyranny: Twenty lessons from the twentieth century" by Timothy Snyder

Every once in a while there's a thin book appears before us that has an incredible wealth of information delivered in a concised manner, such as The Art of War, Book of Five Rings, The Richest Man in Babylon, even Who Moved My Cheese and One Minute Manager. This is one of those books.

This is a very straight forward book, written by a profesor of history from Yale who has written numerous books on the subject. It is as if Tim Snyder compiles the very essence of his books into 1 big summary.

The content of the book is exactly what the cover says it is: 20 chapters that consist of 20 lessons from the 20th century, which covers World War 1, World War 2 and the Cold War, with great emphasis placed on what Hitler and Stalin did.

These lessons then being compared with the current affairs of the 21st century, and show that they all have a striking resemblance. For example, what Hitler did with the Reichstag, Putin also did with Chechnya, and I might add George W Bush did with 9/11 and Erdogan did with the attempted coup on 2016. Whether they're the mastermind behind it or not is besides the point, what's important is what they did after as a reaction.

Indeed, the theories in the book can give us a much bigger understanding on the world we live in now, and all of that enlightments I can read it in less than half a day, on a busy day. Highly recommended!

For more reviews, please visit my book review page on Amazon

Wednesday, 10 May 2017

Ahok the unreasonable man

George Bernard Shaw once said the reasonable man adapts himself to the world, the unreasonable man adapts the world to himself. All progress depends on the unreasonable man.

Mandela was an unreasonable man when he challenged the status quo's Apartheid system, and he was sentenced to 27 years in jail for it. Gandhi and Sukarno both refused to accept the normal situation of their day, both respectively tried to get rid of a colonial ruler, and as a backlash both were sent to prison numerous times.

Ahok is also an unreasonable man, who tries to make many positive changes in a bleak and very corrupted environment.

The fact that he had 70% approval ratings just months ago from the work he has done, but sentenced to 2 years in prison for blasphemy today, is a true testament on how strong (and effective) the corrupted power behind the black campaigns is.

Regardless of all the possible theories or political strategies behind this move, the simple fact remains: what little faith I had in the Indonesian justice system before, it's all gone now.

Wednesday, 19 April 2017

Terima kasih Ahok

Selamat untuk Anies Sandi atas kemenangan nya. I sincerely wish you both the best di dalam mengemban tugas baru, demi maju nya kota kita semua.

Terima kasih Ahok, untuk 5 tahun yang singkat tapi sangat bermanfaat: 2 tahun wakil gubernur dan 3 tahun gubernur.

Terima kasih untuk berbagai infrastruktur baru yang penting kayak flyover Kampung Melayu-Tanah Abang, Flyover Tendean-Cileduk, pembangunan Simpang Semanggi, dan yang paling penting, MRT.

Terima kasih untuk puluhan ruang hijau terbuka seperti taman Jagakarsa, taman Sunter, taman Zodia, taman Tanjung 2, taman PPA, dan yang paling drastis taman waduk Ria Rio.

Terima kasih udah nutup tempat2 prostitusi, transaksi narkoba, perdagangan manusia kayak Stadium, Kalijodo dan Diskotik Milles, tapi nggak nutup Alexis (pesan titipan dari temen).

Sunday, 16 April 2017

Tamasya Al Maidah

Tamasya Al Maidah: 1.3 juta "umat" dateng ke 13000 TPS di Jakarta di hari pilkada, jadi 100 orang di tiap TPS untuk "mengawal" agar orang2 "bebas memilih."

Segitu nggak pede nya kah sama kemampuan sendiri, sampe black campaign bawa-bawa agama dan suku aja udah nggak cukup, dan sekarang harus nerror?

I'm not going to be subtle, because I'm pissed, agama gua yang suci disalah gunakan untuk tujuan yang busuk: ngejatuhin lawan politik. You know exactly what I'm talking about:

Just in case masih ada yang ragu kalo tim sukses nya Anies ada dibalik semua ini apa nggak, tau siapa sebenernya ketua panitia Tamasya Al Maidah ustadz Ansufri ID Sambo? None other than guru agama nya Prabowo

Premanisme dan Islam emang beda tipis di kamus mereka. Sekarang siapa yang penista agama? How can any thinking Muslim be okay with this.

Further reference:

Ketua Panitia Tamasya Al-Maidah ustaz [sic] Ansufri ID Sambo dilaporkan ke Bawaslu DKI Jakarta

Friday, 7 April 2017

Trump's strike on Syria

Just in case you missed it: Trump gave the order to his national security team, to fire those 59 missiles at Syria's airbase, just before meeting Chinese president Xi Jinping. Trump then sat through dinner with Xi as the strike was under way.

Now that's cold blooded, because China is an Assad backer. Hence, is this action a provocation by trump or a leverage for Trump in his meeting with Xi?

Trump may be justified for condeming the chemical attack conducted by Assad on [rebel opposition] civilians, but he didn't say jack shit when Israel (US proxy in the Middle East) did the same thing on the civilians in Gaza. So this "retaliation" is never about moral reasons.

So what is it about then? Whatever is going on in Trump's head, in the first few weeks of his presidency he reduces State Dept budget, cuts foreign aid, closes borders and uses the fund allocations to expand his military. So take a wild guess on what Trump will eventually do in his presidency.

6 people are reportedly killed, the strike didn't get through approval by congress first, not to mention that it violates international law. And with Assad's Syrian government acting as the proxy for Russia in the Middle East, US directly striking Syria is equivalent to Russia directly striking Israel. And as you can guess, Putin is now pissed.

*Grabs popcorn