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Minyan Mailbag - Isolationism


It is our right and our responsibility to ask difficult questions at times.


Note: Our goal in Minyanville is to remove intimidation from the financial markets and encourage an interactive dialogue among the Minyanship. We share this next discussion with that very intent.


I read your comments with interest, as I've been traveling quite a bit lately, both in and outside of the U.S. The truth is that you need not go very far to find people who are seeking to disassociate themselves from the U.S. Even a quick recent trip to Toronto found my welcome far less warm than it has always been in the past. This headline didn't surprise me one bit.

While I find that dislike for the U.S. has not yet translated to dislike of Americans -- at least in many parts of the world -- I also find that there's less interest in doing business with us at all levels. During discussions with an Israeli VC in whose fund I am an investor, I heard one very interesting comment. Given his belief that the fastest growing markets will be outside the U.S., he is steering his portfolio companies away from relationships with U.S. firms. His rationale is that U.S. firms will have significantly more trouble getting into many markets than will their European and Asian counterparts. He believes this is already becoming apparent in the behavior of buyers in developing economies, and also believes that U.S. government policy is making things worse. (For example, Bush's recent comments about Russia, which virtually guarantee that U.S. companies will be at the bottom of the list of suppliers.)

The impact of politics should not be ignored, and it goes well beyond the actions of central banks. The ability of U.S. exporters to compete -- which is already in question in many areas -- is further hampered by a policy of going our own way regardless of our trading partners' concerns.

Minyan Michael


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