The Saudi Factor
I saw "Fahrenheit 911" the other day. Most of what I saw was expected, except for one claim. Mr. Moore claims that "the Saudis own 8% of the United States."
He may have sources that I cannot access, but it is has been difficult for me to confirm that number.
We believe that they have around $1 trillion in cash equivalents here.(source:Atlantic Online, The Fall of the House of Saud, by Robert Baer ) This figure rose dramatically under President Reagan as he negotiated to reduce our trade deficit with them.
We believe they have around $1 trillion in public equities. We know they are the largest shareholders in Citibank for example.
These numbers are the easiest to estimate.
The value of all U.S. real estate is estimated to be around $25 trillion. We don't know how much of this they own.
And finally we do not know how much of U.S. private enterprise they own.
Whatever the numbers are they are substantial. And by definition the Saudis that own the assets are few in number, the elite controlling princes.
The next question we must ask is how stable is this regime? My thought is...not very.
I know that it does not make Mr. Greenspan nervous that so much of our debt is owned by foreigners (54% up from 25% seven years ago), but I wonder how he feels about assets. It is one thing to have a diverse foreign ownership; it is quite another to have a concentrated one.
If the Saudi princes wind up in a Saudi prison, what do the new owners, who are likely to be unsympathetic to the U.S., do with those assets?
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