Tuesday, June 28, 2005

New and improved Unocal

A company owned by the Chinese government has put in a bid (or here) to buy American oil company Unocal. This had caused some consternation amongst those who fear the new Yellow Peril, but it is difficult to see how a country completely dependent on loans from China can turn around and say it is too good for Chinese equity money. When I think of Unocal, I can't help but think of the Afghanistan gas pipeline, a pipeline which Unocal would be developing if the United States could just get control of the country. The Taliban won't deal with an American-owned company, but the Taliban and the Chinese are old friends (something the Chinese don't like to talk about a lot these days), and presumably the Taliban would be delighted to approve the pipeline if Unocal were Chinese-owned. With the Taliban on board, the warlords who are not Taliban could be bought off for money (a share of transit fees), and suddenly Unocal is a more valuable company, just for shedding the opprobium of American ownership. Wall Street could start a new line of work, the de-Americanization of companies whose American ownership makes their products unsaleable in much of the rest of the world (and just wait to see how much worse this is after the American attack on Syria or Iran). The neocons, through destroying the value of the American brand, have started a new line of financial business where squandered shareholder value can be recovered just by selling American companies to commercial entities that are clearly not American. Removing the American taint can make money for everyone. All hail the financial genius of the neocons!

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