In an era in which America’s military supremacy has been laid to waste by fourth generational (a.k.a. asymmetric) warfare, America has to fall back on economic imperialism. As Arthur Silber notes, with the purchase of AIG — a company that commands over $1 trillion in assets spread over 130 countries among 74 million clients* — the U.S. government just purchased one hell of a big stick to go along with its baby carrots:
Consider. Country A through Z… wants to renegotiate thousands, perhaps millions, of insurance policies. Or it wants a break on some rates, perhaps for a crucial construction project. Or it needs a grace period to make some payments, maybe in connection with a major government program. Or…fill in the endless possibilities at your leisure.
And the United States now says: “Well, sure! We’d love to help you out. In exchange, how about granting/extending/giving us better terms on those basing rights?”
Or: “But you know what we’d like? First rights to those valuable resources of yours. [Fill in your preferred resource.] Plus waivers of all those environmental protections you have in place.” Probably plus a bunch of other things.
Or: “We’d be happy to do that for you. But we need some overflight rights for the next year. Make that three years. We may have a few, well, operations we need to execute. We’re sure you understand.”
Or: too many possibilities to begin to list.
Get it? And if Country A through Z says, “no” … well, gee, too bad, says the United States. Guess we can’t accommodate you. How many people, and businesses, and governments do you think will say no, as the screws begin to tighten?
The AIG takeover is a huge weapon. A monumental weapon.
I still support the takeover of AIG, but I’m a hell of a lot less happy about it, now. And don’t even get me started on the current push to spend nearly $1 trillion to bail out the corporate sociopaths occupying America’s boardrooms.