Thursday, February 2, 2023

Who Will Benefit in Post-war Iraq?

Let's open with this video from June 2011 starring then Secretary of State and President-elect (in her mind) Hillary Clinton at the Business Forum Promoting Commercial Opportunities in Iraq:



Here are some key quotes with my bolds:


"Now, we are entering a new phase in our relationship with Iraq, and we are very committed to making a major civilian commitment to Iraq’s future. We’ll be opening, as you know, and running consulates in Irbil and Basra, we’ll have civilian experts available to work with not only Iraqi counterparts, but also Americans and to support American businesses in the years to come, as we do in our diplomatic – especially our commercial diplomatic work all over the world. And so it’s time for the United States to start thinking of Iraq as a business opportunity. And the sacrifice that the Iraqi people have made for your freedom is one that we highly respect...


According to the IMF, Iraq is projected to grow faster than China in the next two years. Now, let me repeat that, because when I read it I said, okay, are you sure because we always think of China as being the juggernaut? But no, indeed, Iraq is projected to grow faster than China...


But Iraq has one of the largest customer bases in the entire Arab world. It has one of the world’s largest supplies of oil, and it has one of the best educated workforces in the region....


Today, Turkish, Chinese, French, Jordanian, Iranian companies are lining up to do business. But very honestly, we see too few American companies alongside our soldiers and our diplomats. Iraqis are looking to rebuild every sector of their economy, not only their oil sector but agribusiness, transportation, housing, banking, and many others. For example, Citibank is now engaging with Iraqi financial institutions and working with corporations who wish to invest in Iraq. Now, I do not want to sugarcoat the difficulties. I think, among friends, we need to have an honest conversation about what is it we all need to do to realize these very positive projections....


Now, each company will make its own decisions about the costs and benefits, but we want to go on record unequivocally in encouraging American business to begin that process, and we will do everything we can to support you in it. Our embassies and consulates will be hubs that support commercial activity in every region of Iraq. The State Department will work hard to champion American companies, including through events like this one."


Commercial diplomacy.  Don't you love that.


So, in the end, the war in Iraq ended up being all about business opportunities, most specifically for Corporate America.  Hundreds of thousands of Iraqi civilians died: that American companies could profit from economic expansion into post-war Iraq.


Now, and, in case you've forgotten or didn't pay attention when it happened, Ukraine's President Volodymyr Zelenskyy extended an open invitation to the Corporate World (aka GloboCap) to come to Ukraine at the World Economic Forum's 2022 Annual Meeting back in May 2022 as shown here (30 minutes 30 seconds)



"We offer every company that leaves the Russian market to continue operating in Ukraine will have access not only to our market of 40 million consumers but also to the common market of Europe and your brand, your positions they will only increase because you would truly support the protection of freedom.  Our representatives here in Davos can inform all of you on the details of the prospects that Ukraine opens for your businesses.  Ladies and gentlemen, we offer the world to set a precedent for rebuilding the country after the war which will show everyone who  dreams of destroying the life of a neighbour that the war is not working.  I invite you to take part in this rebuilding.  The amount of work is enormous.  We have more than half a trillion dollars in losses, tens of thousands of facilities that were destroyed.  We need to rebuild entire cities and industries and we offer a special historically significant model of rebuilding, one each of the partner countries or partner cities or even partner companies will have the opportunity to take patronage over a particular region.  It could be a city or community or even and industry."


That open invitation had to get the upper floor corner office dwellers in Corporate America rubbing their collective hands together at the opportunity to take advantage of yet another war-torn nation. 


With both Clinton's and Zelenskyy's comments in mind, let's look at a recent development in the world's ongoing war between NATO and Russia over Ukraine.  As background, BlackRock is one of the United States three largest index fund managers with $8.594 trillion of assets under management which is more than the GDP of all nations in the world excluding China and the United States as shown here:



Here is the recent announcement from BlackRock:



So, keeping Hillary Clinton's comments about commercial opportunities for Corporate America in the post-Iraq war era in mind, it's looking like BlackRock (as a highly influential representative of Corporate America) is already preparing itself to profit from the Ukrainian post-war era.  And, as an aside, BlackRock is also benefiting from the war itself as shown here:



War, it's not what it appears to be.  In the post-Second World War American-led global reality, war has never been about enemies fighting each other, it's always been about who benefits from the both the war itself (i.e. the defense industry) and those who step in to rebuild the targeted nation after it is destroyed.  The rebuilding is also not about helping civilians, it's about helping the ruling class increase their already obscene levels of wealth.

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