Friday, November 27, 2009

Black Thanksgiving

Today, known as Black Friday in America, may go down in history as Black Thanksgiving instead. Some are already dubbing it Black Swan Friday. Yesterday, as the US sat down to turkey and interminable American football games, Dubai imploded. Dubai World, the government-run bubble machine, cannot pay its $60bn debts. It built islands in the ocean, hotels, office buildings, residential palaces - most of which are either unfinished or unoccupied. The fact that it is probably close to bankruptcy comes as no surprise to anyone pays the slightest bit of attention to part of the world. The words "well" and "duh" spring to mind.
But at least we don't have to worry about unemployed Middle Easterners jumping aboard ships and sneaking into US ports courtesy of Dubai World. Because DW also owns DP World, the marine terminal operator that bought 22 major ports in the US. British port and ferry firm P&O sold its leases to manage the ports - including New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Baltimore, New Orleans, and Miami - to DPW in 2006. Congress freaked when it found out, citing national security. Then President George Bush tried to veto any blocking of the deal because - well heck, Dubai is our friend. In the meantime DPW sold the ports to the less-than-saintly AIG. What a palaver, eh? But imagine if DPW was bankrupt and still owned some of the most important ports in the US.

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