Capital Wars!
April 4, 2002 8:06 PM   Subscribe

Capital Wars! The US Defense Department wants all large foreign acquisitions of American companies to be approved by a secretive national security committee, a move designed to restrict access to sensitive US technology. Valid measure to protect national security or a return to mercantilism? (via drudge :)
posted by kliuless (4 comments total)
It's a return to mercantilism, all right. And it fits in nicely with Bush's protectionist measures (steel, textiles, lumber). I don't understand why the anti-globalists don't like him more: he's turning out to be one of them.
posted by phartizan at 6:31 AM on April 5, 2002

yeah, that's the way i was kind of leaning. i just don't get stuff like this, centrist republicans (and by association bush) being the bastion of free trade and capital mobility, etc. like he's undermining their whole platform. maybe he's just riding the wave of (invincible) unilateralism, high on 80% approval ratings?

the best explanation might be like the one for him signing campaign finance reform -- that it'll be struck down as unconstitutional. all of the benefit, none of the blame. in this case, maybe he knows it'll be blocked in congress? the only other thing i can think of is it being a political payoff (like apparently with steel tariffs for the w.virginia vote) with an eye on triangulating or something for 2004 i guess.
posted by kliuless at 1:05 PM on April 5, 2002

I think he saw it would look bad to fight campaign finance reform, so he decided to go along with it. But he keeps going along with Ass-croft's & the military's suggestions in the name of domestic security, I'm afraid we'll find ourselves back in the witch-hunts of the 50's.
posted by phartizan at 1:15 PM on April 5, 2002

just an update :)

Pentagon retracts plan for review of mergers

yay! but there is a possible sticking point:
Despite the Defense Department's retreat, critics of the proposal within the administration remain concerned that the provision may be put back into the bill by national security hawks on Capitol Hill, particularly when it is amended in the armed services committees of the House of Representatives and the Senate. The Pentagon would not comment.
also saw this thing in relation to trade policy that was pretty interesting, another dumb example:
Several United States universities and government agencies have tried to buy the machines over the last decade [NEC vector supercomputers] for purposes like aircraft simulation, seismic studies and molecular modeling. But sales have been thwarted by resistance from the Commerce Department and members of Congress, who complained that NEC was "dumping" the machines, or selling them below cost.
and another one, this time on regulating "human/knowledge capital" which seems stupid especially in light of US success in FDI. there is case to be made for government subsidized industry, like dutch R&D efforts in wind energy provides a nice counterexample, although i think the scope should be limited to developing the potential of nascent but promising industries, not the protection of existing markets! of course supplementing corporate social responsibility might also be encouraged more :)
posted by kliuless at 9:00 AM on April 21, 2002

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