US Must Shield Its Vital Industries From Foreign Influences

Thursday, 02 Jun 2011 07:59 AM

By Jacob Wolinsky

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I read one of the most shocking news stories earlier this week.

Goldman Sachs offered Libya the opportunity to become one of its major stakeholders. The news wasn't from some conspiracy website, but rather from the front page of The Wall Street Journal.

Here is the story: The Libyan government invested a total of $1.3 billion with Goldman Sachs, the value of which decreased to only $25.1 million due to the financial crisis.

To make up for this 98 percent decline, what Goldman did was propose an opportunity for the Libyan fund to invest $3.7 billion in Goldman.

Goldman offered Libya several proposals each promising a flow of payments which would successfully pay off the incurred losses. Negotiations eventually failed.

The news leads to an important and frightening realization that there are various foreign bodies which are one of the biggest stakeholders of some of America’s major companies.

In 2009 while America was suffering from the downturn of the global economy, China was successful in purchasing $9 billion worth of shares in some of the biggest American firms, such as Morgan Stanley, Bank of America and Citigroup.

A plastics unit of General Electric was sold for $11.6 billion to Saudi Basic Industries Corp., 70 percent of which owned by the Saudi government.

Another example could be the purchase of a 10 percent company stake by China State Investment Company of a private-equity firm Blackstone Group for $3 billion.

Opportunities of acquiring stakes of large American companies realized by foreign countries during the financial crisis, now pose undeniable amount of threat to American companies as various countries currently hold controlling powers of and are responsible for major financial decisions of some of America’s leading companies.

Prince Waleed of Saudi Arabia holds a large stake in both NewsCorp and Citigroup.

While, government intervention is usually very bad, it is alarming that foreign nations and individuals can gain large stakes in vital U.S. industries like the banking sector and media companies.

Imagine Saudi Arabia buying a 50 percent stake of CNN, Newscorp (parent of WSJ and Foxnews), or MSNBC, etc. and basically dictating what Americans learn from the media. This is an alarming situation, which requires laws to prevent our vital interests.

Another matter of concern is the fact that China now has more than $1.5 trillion in foreign exchange reserves, the majority of which is invested in U.S. government securities. This substantial holding of approximately 10 percent of U.S. government debt and the formation of the sovereign wealth fund is of alarming concern to the American economic and national security. It was recently leaked that China used its large treasury position to bully America on domestic and foreign policy issues.

What is needed in the name of national security are new laws protecting vital industries from foreign influences, and a dramatic decrease in our national debt.

(The writer of this article owns shares of Newscorp. The author does not own any other companies mentioned in the article).

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