Sarkozy’s New Sugar Daddy: Qatar
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  • Important post on a much ignored topic. Back in the 70s, I worked at a major US money center bank that was a leader in what was then a new business, “recycling petrodollars.” In the period that began with the 1973 oil embargo through the early 80s, something like $500 billion of these dollars (roughly $1.5 trillion today), about 90% from the Middle East, flowed through international banks which at first invested the dough mainly in Europe but later, as the pickings got slim there, increasingly in developing countries (who naturally took the money and complained about neocolonialism). This torrent of dollars, not surprisingly, had an effect on US (and European) policies (not to be conspiratorial about it but at the personal level, this had a lot to do with both the Shah and post-1973 Sadat’s being adopted as among David Rockefeller’s best friends).

    I don’t know how the recycling went in the later 80s and 90s, but it certainly continued. By the 2000s, though, most of the money was flowing directly into asset purchases, whether on the exchanges or through partnerships with European, US, Chinese or other foreign companies. I looked up some fairly recent stats and found that in 2007, the total available for investment from the OPEC countries was about $1 trillion, of which $600 billion was from the Middle East.

    Anyway you look at it, that much dough will get you a lot of friends and allies — even successfully tempt public figures like Sakozy and let’s not forget, Al Gore, and even Bill Clinton who has collected millions in “speaker fees” from the Gulf over the past dozen years.

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