Sunday, February 26, 2006

UAE Port Deal Is All About Dollars, Not Sense

By MARC McDONALD

If you want to know what the proposed United Arab Emirates port deal is really all about, you'd do well to pay heed to the advice once doled out to reporters investigating Watergate: Follow the money.

Because at its heart, dirty old grubby money is what this controversial deal is really all about.

The fact is, the U.S. economy has become so hollowed out and dependent on foreign capital, that overseas nations can get whatever favors they want from our money-corrupted political leaders these days.

This isn't the first time the Bush White House has shown just how deeply in debt it is to the interests of oil-rich Arab states.

Take Saudi Arabia for example. Despite the fact that all but two of the 9/11 hijackers came from Saudi Arabia (and that the Saudis admitted that they funded Al Qaeda), Bush has always been reluctant to press the Saudis on any issue in the "war on terror." After 9/11, the Saudis refused to cooperate with U.S. investigators. They refused to let investigators take a look at the Al Qaeda money trail (which, of course, led straight back to Saudi Arabia). They also refused to let U.S. investigators talk to relatives of the 9/11 hijackers. No wonder Bin Laden still runs free.

Why do you suppose Bush gave the Saudis such kid-glove treatment? The same reason he's now going to bat for a UAE state-owned company to take over the operation of U.S. ports: money.

Astute foreign observers and power players have long realized that our nation's corrupt political leadership won't hesitate to sell out the interests of the American people if the price is right.

Even before Bush came to power, a popular saying was known to have circulated around East Asia: "Influence in Washington is just like Indonesia these days---it's for sale."

Countries like Japan and China have long been aware that if you dangle enough money in front of an American politician, you can get him to jump through hoops on cue. Tokyo saw this as far back as the Reagan administration. It's important to remember that Reagan routinely cooperated with Tokyo on trade matters (much to the detriment of U.S. industry). And in the end, Reagan was rewarded by Tokyo: when he left office, he was able to pocket several million dollars for merely giving a couple of speeches in Tokyo.

In light of all this, it really shouldn't be surprising to learn that, back in the early 1990s, a sheik from the UAE gave $1 million to the Bush Library Foundation, which established the George Bush Presidential Library in Texas.

One might debate whether America's security is compromised by having our nation's ports run by a state-owned United Arab Emirates company. But the bottom line is, in this deal, money (as always) is trumping America's security interests. U.S. politicians like Bush are always happy to sell out the American people for cash from foreign interests.

To the likes of Bush and our other corrupt politicians, it's just business as usual.

The fact is, America is not only addicted to overseas oil these days. We're also heavily addicted to overseas capital. If it weren't for the hundreds of billions of dollars flowing into our borders from the likes of Japan and China, our Ponzi scheme economy would have collapsed like a house of cards long ago.

Between our enormous debt to Asian central banks and the corruption of our politicians with foreign money, there's little chance America will ever be able to take the urgent steps it needs to extinguish the out-of-control crises that are our soaring fiscal and trade deficits. Nor is it likely that America will be able to take the urgent action needed to prevent the impending collapse of the U.S. dollar and the U.S. economy.

Decades from now, I would suspect that the main thing historians will recall about the Bush White House is not 9/11, or even the "war on terror," but rather how a corrupt Bush fiddled like Nero while America's financial house burned down.

5 comments:

Safe Cruise Blog said...

Royal Caribbean Incorporated in Liberia - Is that safer than United Arab Emirates?

Only 17% of Americans believe that control of 6 major American ports should be given to the United Arab Emirates. Perhaps Americans should think twice before becoming sharholders or customers of Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines (RCCL) since they are incorporated in Liberia and controlled by families form Norway and a partnership in the Bahamas. Would you entrust the safety and security of your loved ones to a Liberian Corporation?

The folowing statements appear in the Form 10-K filed by RCCL with the Security and Exchange Commission on February 24, 2006:

We are not a United States corporation and our shareholders may be subject to the uncertainties of a foreign legal system in protecting their interests.

Our corporate affairs are governed by our Restated Articles of Incorporation and By-Laws and by the Business Corporation Act of Liberia. The provisions of the Business Corporation Act of Liberia resemble provisions of the corporation laws of a number of states in the United States. However, while most states have a fairly well developed body of case law interpreting their respective corporate statutes, there are very few judicial cases in Liberia interpreting the Business Corporation Act of Liberia. For example, the rights and fiduciary responsibilities of directors under Liberian law are not as clearly established as the rights and fiduciary responsibilities of directors under statutes or judicial precedent in existence in certain United States jurisdictions. Thus, our public shareholders may have more difficulty in protecting their interests with respect to actions by management, directors or controlling shareholders than would shareholders of a corporation incorporated in a United States jurisdiction.

We are controlled by principal shareholders that have the power to determine our policies, management and actions requiring shareholder approval.

As of February 10, 2006, A. Wilhelmsen AS., a Norwegian corporation indirectly owned by members of the Wilhelmsen family of Norway, owned approximately 20.4% of our common stock and Cruise Associates, a Bahamian general partnership indirectly owned by various trusts primarily for the benefit of certain members of the Pritzker family and various trusts primarily for the benefit of certain members of the Ofer family, owned approximately 15.8% of our common stock

Anonymous said...

Publicly financed elections are really the only way that you will ever get the money corruption out of American politics. I don't see this ever happening, though. Historically, political elites in any nation are always reluctant to tamper with the system that propelled them into power.

Anonymous said...

I think this UAE deal shows how isolated Bush is from reality and from American public opinion. (Shouldn't really be surprising; after all, he doesn't read newspapers).

Anonymous said...

This is just the tip of the iceberg. I predict that in the years to come, a huge chunk of our nation will be sold off to foreign buyers. In the past, foreigners were content to hold U.S. dollars to finance America's huge debts. Increasingly though, foreigners are opting for real, tangible assets rather than flimsy dollars. Of course, selling assets is one thing, but what I find more troubling is that our politicians themselves are being sold off to foreign buyers.

Anonymous said...

We Democrats shouldn't be popping the cork on the Champagne just yet in celebrating Bush's troubles. Bush has long been one lucky son of a bitch and time and time again, when his fortunes were low, he got a lucky break (9/11, for example). The November elections are a long ways off and a lot can happen between now and then.