America has a schizophrenic relationship with foreign direct investment.
Well, I think the United States has a schizophrenic view on foreign direct investment. We want the ability to let our companies invest anywhere around the world unfettered. And anytime any of our countries . . . companies are not allowed to invest around the world, we yell “protectionism” and we complain that people are not being fair to our country. On the other hand when people want to invest in this country we get upset. The Dubai port situation was an embarrassment to our country. When China looked at buying – through one of its oil companies – Unocal, we acted as if the Red Army was about to invade Los Angeles. Now the truth is we try to have it both ways and we really shouldn’t. We should encourage our companies in the United States to invest overseas. I think that produces great . . . greater wealth for people in the United States. I think it produces greater cooperation among countries and companies. But I think we should be very open to foreigners investing in this country. And I think we have to recognize that as the world is shifting its wealth away from the United States towards the Far East and the Middle East, that those sources of capital in the Far East and the Middle East are going to increasingly invest in places like the United States, and we shouldn’t view this as criminal.
Recorded on: 9/13/07