Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Why the US Should Welcome Investors from Middle East

Paul Blustein of the Washington Post wrote:

"Already, the list of U.S. businesses owned by Arab investors -- not just from Dubai -- includes some well-known names. Among them are Caribou Coffee Co., the fast-growing rival to Starbucks Corp.; Church's Chicken, a fast-food concern; Loehmann's, a specialty retailer; TLC Health Care Services Inc., a provider of home nursing and hospice care; and even several financial publications, including the American Banker.

Such "direct" investment in hard assets -- companies, factories and real estate -- is generally preferable for the U.S. economy, in the view of most economists, to foreign investment in bonds, stocks and other financial assets. One advantage of direct investments is that they cannot be dumped in a panic the way that, say, a Treasury bond can...

The main drawback of a direct investment is that it involves foreign control, which can raise national security concerns..."

Read the story here.

The way I see it, far from creating security concerns, direct foreign investment can actually help lower the risk of a foreign attack, whether of the conventional or the terrorist kind. How?

Imagine you were a terrorist, which target you would hit first, a place where you had a lot at stake through investment or a place where you have no personal interests at stake.

An untended consequence of the US welcoming FDI from hostile groups, countries, individuals is that it would raise the likelihood of an attack on other US allies say the Brits.

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