Dubai, AIG, and the Ports

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We learned last month that Dubai, the Gulf microstate, needs more time to pay off its debt. Adam Maxwell Jenkins, a college roommate of mine, has a great letter in today’s Financial Times explaining one especially interesting way that affects us:

It was only a little more than three years ago that the teetering Middle East state conglomerate was barely beaten back from taking control of 22 US ports after its DP World subsidiary agreed to purchase the British owner-operator P&O. Congressional opposition, voiced at first by Senator Charles Schumer, soon flowered into bipartisan outcry, attacking the deal as dangerously undermining US homeland security by placing a vulnerable component of our border infrastructure in the hands of a foreign company.

Dubai ended up agreeing to sell the ports to another conglomerate in order to calm the controversy. The punchline is that company’s name: AIG Global Investment Group. “Truly, one cannot make this stuff up,” Jenkins writes:

If only cooler heads had prevailed, taxpaying investors in the US might now be well positioned to capitalise on Dubai World’s distress as it gears up to dispose of purchases made in better times.

Sad stuff. For what it’s worth, Mother Jones was on the right side of this: we posted an article in 2006 explaining why not selling the ports to Dubai was a bad idea.

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Our fall fundraising drive is off to a rough start, and we very much need to raise $250,000 in the next couple of weeks. If you value the journalism you get from Mother Jones, please help us do it with a donation today.

As we wrote over the summer, traffic has been down at Mother Jones and a lot of sites with many people thinking news is less important now that Donald Trump is no longer president. But if you're reading this, you're not one of those people, and we're hoping we can rally support from folks like you who really get why our reporting matters right now. And that's how it's always worked: For 45 years now, a relatively small group of readers (compared to everyone we reach) who pitch in from time to time has allowed Mother Jones to do the type of journalism the moment demands and keep it free for everyone else.

Please pitch in with a donation during our fall fundraising drive if you can. We can't afford to come up short, and there's still a long way to go by November 5.

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