Richard C. Longworth: Buyer’s market

From the Chicago Tribune:

Congress and columnists are in a predictable tizzy over the news that CNOOC, a state-owned Chinese oil company, had put in an $18.5 billion bid for Unocal, a U.S. oil company…

There are several things to be said about all this, none of it good news for Americans who thought we controlled our own economic life.

First, you haven’t seen anything yet. The Chinese have been dipping their toes into American investments for a couple of years. Now they’ve waded in up to their ankles. Pretty soon, they’ll want to make some really big purchases–one of the Big 3 auto companies maybe. And they’ve got the money to do it.

Second, there isn’t anything we can do about it, without creating a solution that would be worse than the problem.

Third, this may be good for us. But like a lot of medicine, it’s going to sting a bit.

And fourth, all this stems from decisions by the Bush administration–a deal with China, if you will–that has put us deep in hock to a country and a government that may or may not have our best interests at heart.

See also “China Oil Corp.’s bid for Unocal — new evidence of power game” from the San Francisco Chronicle.

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