Obama admin caught flat-footed by Argentina nationalization of Spanish oil company

posted at 12:11 pm on April 18, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

The big news last week from the Summit of the Americas was the Secret Service sex scandal, which had some in the Obama administration lamenting that no one paid much attention to Barack Obama’s efforts in Cartagena, Colombia to improve relations between the US and its allies.  Today, the White House might be hoping for a little more attention to the scandal.  After punting on an opportunity to defend the UK and the principle of self-determination over the Falkland Islands dispute with Argentina, Obama and his team got caught flat-footed by the nationalization of a Spanish oil company by Argentina’s government:

When Argentine President Cristina Fernández de Kirchner abruptly left the Summit of the Americas, it was reported that she did so over the lack of support for her country’s claim to the British-controlled Falkland Islands.

Yesterday, President Kirchner revealed another reason she returned to Buenos Aires: to announce the nationalization of the Argentine oil company, YPF, whose majority stakeholder is the Spanish energy firm, Repsol.  The move has infuriated Repsol and Spanish officials, and raised concerns that this may be the first of many expropriations of privately run companies inArgentina, putting the government on the path toward aHugo Chávez-type model of state control over key resources.

“Once you start expropriating you don’t know where it will stop,” says Boris Segura, an analyst at the New York investment bank Nomura.  “Mrs. Kirchner is now running close to Mr. Chávez’s model,” Segura says.

The EU is furious, although temporarily non-plussed:

Argentina’s move to seize the controlling share of the YPF oil company owned by Spain’s Repsol brought swift condemnation from the European Union on behalf of its aggrieved member state.

Senior officials, including José Manuel Barroso, the European Commission president, expressed deep disappointment and aides insisted that “all possible options” were being studied. The bloc’s foreign ministers will discuss the issue at a meeting on Monday.

But EU officials and trade analysts believe the bloc’s options may be limited, despite the growing clamour from the continent’s corporate sector and some politicians to defend one of its companies against a hostile foreign government.

World Trade Organisation rules do not cover investment disputes, closing off one possible avenue. Other possibilities, such as raising tariffs on Argentinian goods, could backfire, according to Fredrik Erixon, director of the European Centre for International Political Economy think-tank.

Well, thank goodness we had the American President on the ground at the Summit of the Americas.  That gave us an advantage over the EU, and prepared us for this move by Kirchner … right?  Er … not exactly, as Investors Business Daily reports:

After a weekend of cavorting in Colombia, the White House was caught flat-footed by Argentina’s takeover of a big oil company whose loss will hike gas prices, harm Spain and slam U.S. investors. Lucky us.

Never was a response to a global outrage more mealy-mouthed than the one from the U.S. after Argentina’s President Cristina Fernandez de Kirchner, standing under a portrait of Evita Peron, announced a brazen grab for YPF, the Argentine oil company that’s 57% owned by Spain’s Repsol.

Markets fell, world leaders denounced the violation of contracts and economically battered Spain rallied European Union support.

But the U.S.? “We are following developments on this issue. We are not currently aware of any WTO complaints related to this issue,” the State Department said.

Then, leading from behind after Spain vowed a “forceful” response, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton tried to toughen up: “Having an open market is a preferable model. Models that include competition and market access have been the most successful around the world.”

Wow!  That’s telling the Argentines, Secretary Clinton.  Next up, we can discuss further how to hand over the Maldives, er, Malvinas.

The seizure came as China was about to bid on Repsol, which means they may want to get involved in the dispute, too:

Argentina’s move to nationalize local oil company YPF (YPFD.BA), controlled by Spain’s Repsol (REP.MC), has spoiled years of planning by China’s Sinopec Group to buy the South American company, sources said.

Bankers said China’s second-largest oil company had held talks with Repsol to buy its controlling 57-percent stake in YPF. Chinese website Caixin.com cited a source as saying Sinopec had reached a non-binding agreement to take over YPF for more than $15 billion.

But plans by Argentine President Cristina Fernandez to seize control of YPF, which have incensed Spain and sparked international criticism, have killed any hopes that state-owned China Petrochemical Corp (Sinopec) could seal a deal, they said.

That may not be entirely bad news for the US, but the eruption of nationalization in yet another South American oil-producing nation certainly is.  And so is the cluelessness that surrounds Obama and his foreign-policy team for their lack of response to the event.

Update: The Guardian reports that Repsol execs in Buenos Aires were also caught by surprise:

Even as president Cristina Fernández de Kirchner announced on TV her plan to nationalise Spanish-owned YPF, her emissaries were at the oilcompany’s 35-storey Buenos Aires headquarters giving its Spanish directors 15 minutes to leave the building.

The Falklands might be next:

Renationalisation is aligned in the minds of Fernández supporters with the renewed demand for sovereignty over the Falkland Islands in the South Atlantic claimed by Argentina as “Las Malvinas”.

“The Malvinas are Argentine, so is YPF,” say posters around the country and a T-shirt that artists who support Fernández have started wearing on internet campaigns in favour of the takeover. “This ends five centuries of white Spanish domination,” said a supporter. Argentina was ruled by Spain until  its independence in 1816.

But the big question remains: are the Maldives Argentine?


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The seizure came as China was about to bid on Repsol

uh-huh.

Tim_CA on April 18, 2012 at 1:09 PM

Barry’s just jealous.

Tater Salad on April 18, 2012 at 1:10 PM

World. Hell. Handbasket.

Ok, sure, MAYBE it’s a coincidence that these things seem to follow Barack Hussein Obama around the globe like a dark, stinking cloud of pestilence…

But does it really matter?

logis on April 18, 2012 at 1:11 PM

………and liberals always complain when we try to call out growing socialism.

Tater Salad on April 18, 2012 at 1:12 PM

I’ll bet his response was – “darn, she beat me to it”

dentarthurdent on April 18, 2012 at 1:13 PM

Here’s hoping they have a “d’Anconia Copper” plan in place.

If you’ve got a business in South America; having a plan like that is the only rational play.

Once they “seize” several damaged, destroyed, or worthless businesses in their goal to expropriate the value of others; maybe they’ll learn to stop trying to steal from others.

I don’t see them learning any other way.

gekkobear on April 18, 2012 at 1:15 PM

Can anyone tell me when the 0bama regime has not been flat footed on the international scale?

jukin3 on April 18, 2012 at 1:16 PM

Maxine Waters just had a orgasm.

plutorocks on April 18, 2012 at 12:57 PM

Ok..Jesus…

gah!!!

That’ll be just about enough of that mister….The last thing California needs right now is a $hit blizzard of spider-webby …

…ack….

BigWyo on April 18, 2012 at 1:17 PM

Is Maxine Waters [the Creature From The Black Lagoon] anywhere near Argentina?

OhEssYouCowboys on April 18, 2012 at 12:35 PM

Raaaaacist…..

…do I really need a sarc tag here?

BillH on April 18, 2012 at 1:18 PM

I dont care who takes over what, as long as they dotn take mine and ours. So I say kudos to Obummer, for not giving them billions, how he did to petrobras. Actually, come to think of it, petrobras should benefit from this, as would its investor Soros, so it looks, like the matter discussed between Obummer and Kirchner was sharing the know how on how to nationalize industries and pay off cronies at the same time. Good to know Obummer is not as incompetent as he might seem.

anikol on April 18, 2012 at 1:20 PM

Raaaaacist…..

…do I really need a sarc tag here?

BillH on April 18, 2012 at 1:18 PM

If I offended anything, it was the Creature.

My apologies, Mr. Creature.

:O(

OhEssYouCowboys on April 18, 2012 at 1:21 PM

May be Obama’s team shouldn’t focus on what the Romneys did with their family dog in the early 80s.

mwbri on April 18, 2012 at 1:22 PM

All of this outrageous outrage at 0bama, but won’t vote for Romney if he is the nominee. Go figure.

Mirimichi on April 18, 2012 at 1:22 PM

“Having an open market is a preferable model.”

How is this acceptable for our Secretary of State? Preferable, preferable?

WitchDoctor on April 18, 2012 at 1:23 PM

Sounds like a little payback for the trouncing socialists took in Spain’s last election.

ButterflyDragon on April 18, 2012 at 1:24 PM

Leading from behind again!

KOOLAID2 on April 18, 2012 at 1:28 PM

It appears from the news stories I read that Argentina renationalized YPF by buy 51% of the shares – is this accurate?

Monkeytoe on April 18, 2012 at 12:28 PM

I don’t think so. All the stories I’ve seen have said seized, not bought.

It appears that Evitacita just said “Nice company you’ve got here. 51% of it is mine now.”

Mr. Bingley on April 18, 2012 at 1:29 PM

The move has infuriated Repsol and Spanish officials

Gee, why would anybody be infuriated by outright theft?

Major points to any nation that calls this stealing rather than controversial, problematic, disturbing, or other diplomatic euphemisms.

tom on April 18, 2012 at 1:29 PM

How third-world of them.

John the Libertarian on April 18, 2012 at 1:31 PM

Hillary is consulting the State Department Magic 8-Ball for further instruction.

Cicero43 on April 18, 2012 at 12:19 PM

Somehwere in the State Department, someone right now is working on a Reset button.

Or is that an Overcharge button? I can never keep those straight.

tom on April 18, 2012 at 1:32 PM

Obama admin caught flat-footed…

LOL….Again? No Way!

seriously though….save time – put that phrase on a hot key.

Tim_CA on April 18, 2012 at 1:32 PM

This ends five centuries of white Spanish domination

Any relation to Mr. Zimmerman?

LASue on April 18, 2012 at 1:38 PM

coming to America soon :-(…Now we know it’s Argentina that Barry uses as a model and inspiration, considering his unexpected move to crack down on oil ‘speculators’..then comes BP, Exxon, etc…that’s how it all starts…

jimver on April 18, 2012 at 1:40 PM

It appears that Evitacita just said “Nice company you’ve got here. 51% of it is mine now.”

Mr. Bingley on April 18, 2012 at 1:29 PM

she must have had a short tête-à-tête with Chavez and got some useful tips from him…

jimver on April 18, 2012 at 1:42 PM

Flat footed: off guard or unawares

Sleeping: a naturally recurring state characterized by reduced or absent consciousness

Not sure flat footed is the best description of our president.

STL_Vet on April 18, 2012 at 1:44 PM

What Obama was really thinking:

“It would be easier to be President of Argentina, too.”

toby11 on April 18, 2012 at 1:46 PM

The people with money and power in Argentina are all white European descendents. In fact, that is true of almost all of South America. People of native heritage are the poor underclass, while the European descendents rule. It’s just more so in Argentina than the other South American countries.

Which is why I always laugh that everyone pretends that “Hispanics” or “Latinos” are a race or ethnicity different than say, French or Italian. It’s not.

Monkeytoe on April 18, 2012 at 12:54 PM

Posted the old joke on another thread, but here it is again:

“Mexicans are descended from Aztecs. Peruvians are descended from Incas. Argentinians are descended from boats.”

(Largest Italian population outside of Italy is in Argentina. Huge Italian immigration waves since the 1850s right up to the present. Estimated to be the largest ethnic heritage in Argentina, with some 28 million Italian descendants.)

de rigueur on April 18, 2012 at 1:47 PM

Its a picture of two socialists trying to bring fairness back to the marketplace. The question is who thought of this first.

nicknack60 on April 18, 2012 at 1:48 PM

“This ends five centuries of white Spanish domination”

Aha! I knew George Zimmerman was somehow to blame for all this!

GalosGann on April 18, 2012 at 1:50 PM

Wesley Mouch caught flat-footed by Mexico nationalization of Spanish Copper Company.

Life imitates art? *shrug*

pun intended

CapnObvious on April 18, 2012 at 1:51 PM

Maxine Waters just had a orgasm.

plutorocks on April 18, 2012 at 12:57 PM

Your Maxine Waters comment should be a banning offense.

Gladtobehere on April 18, 2012 at 1:58 PM

Note: My previous comment needed a sarc tag. Sorry.

Gladtobehere on April 18, 2012 at 2:00 PM

I’m sure Obama is taking notes. He would love to do the same thing when he has more “flexibility” after his “last” election.

PattyJ on April 18, 2012 at 2:00 PM

Obama and Kirchner are birds of a feather.

And O-man is modeling “hope and change” after the 2001 Argentinian economic collapse. Coming soon to your neighborhood.

Mr Galt on April 18, 2012 at 2:04 PM

Either two things are going to result from this (maybe both):

1. Argentina knew that oil company was being marketed to China so they have nationalized it so THEY can sell it to China and make the money instead of the Spanish oil company. Basically, they steal the local subsidiary and sell it to China.

2. The Spanish parent company now engages in a joint venture with Rockhopper Exploration to develop the newly discovered oil field around the Falkland Islands. This will absolutely make steam fly out of the ears of Fernández de Kirchner.

One of the other purposes of nationalizing that oil company may have been to order a confrontation with Rockhopper over the oil fields around the Falklands, to which Argentina lays claim.

crosspatch on April 18, 2012 at 2:07 PM

What, you need a road map? This is how Socialist roll…

RockyJ. on April 18, 2012 at 2:18 PM

I’ll bet his response was – “darn, she beat me to it”

dentarthurdent on April 18, 2012 at 1:13 PM

Do you think he realizes there is nothing in the US for him to nationalize because he won’t let oil companies drill here? Maybe we could use that as a carrot. See Mr. President, if we let companies drill for oil, then you can nationalize the companies and claim the profits for the US. You could balance the budget. You can’t do that if the companies are forced to drill in other countries.

Get him to allow drilling and vote him out in November.

talkingpoints on April 18, 2012 at 2:27 PM

What Obama was really thinking:

“It would be easier to be President of Argentina, too.”

toby11 on April 18, 2012 at 1:46 PM

be my guest :-) he doesn’t speak Argentinian though :-)

jimver on April 18, 2012 at 2:32 PM

Yo, Prez: Socialists steal. It’s what they do.

mojo on April 18, 2012 at 2:33 PM

Odumbo’s thought, if they can do it, we can. Odumbo will seize Apple corp.

rjoco1 on April 18, 2012 at 2:35 PM

blink on April 18, 2012 at 2:04 PM

Thanks. that makes the most sense of anything I’ve seen. I assumed it was probably something like that, but I note that the “journalists” don’t report anything regarding this. I assume that is out of deference to the idea of nationalizing industry and not wanting to make this move sound bad. Which is also why many articles I’ve seen regarding this claim that Argentina “purchased” the shares.

It all sounds fair and above-board that way. Gotta love the news that doesn’t bother to answer pretty basic questions in a story.

Monkeytoe on April 18, 2012 at 2:42 PM

It is highly likely the Zero Regime not only knew about this but tacitly approved of it.

Zero nationalized a couple of US car companies, why not let some chick nationalize an imperialist oil company?

Statists rejoice.

CorporatePiggy on April 18, 2012 at 2:43 PM

talkingpoints on April 18, 2012 at 2:27 PM

I don’t think he’s smart enough to understand that – he would just want to nationalize everything as part of the path toward total socialist control.

dentarthurdent on April 18, 2012 at 2:49 PM

Maybe he was distracted by someone in HIS hotel room. Then again, he was so cool sitting with his legs crossed (like a girl) and telling everyone that he was looking for a vacation spot to bring michelle. Did anyone hear all the applause? I did. He just thinks he’s so cool and walks above everyone.

Bambi on April 18, 2012 at 2:51 PM

That Ayn Rand sure was a loon. She got it all wrong. She had copper instead of oil, Mexico instead of Argentina, and a deftly crafted worthless enterprise instead of a valid production operation.

Clearly her theories are not to be treated with any respect. We should trust Hillary Clinton instead, who finds a competitive market “preferable” to tyranny and despotism.

Freelancer on April 18, 2012 at 2:54 PM

It is highly likely the Zero Regime not only knew about this but tacitly approved of it.

Just like they approved fast and furious, “just someone on tv”, the black panthers, and everything else they try and suggest they know nothing about.

Bambi on April 18, 2012 at 2:54 PM

I’m not sure that “flat-footed” is the correct term here. It’s hard to be be flat-footed when Obama probably believes the ends justify the means.

St Gaudens on April 18, 2012 at 3:00 PM

So the president is to blame because he didn’t know about a secret take over that caught the world by surprise. Alright, that’s setting the bar pretty high.

Zekecorlain on April 18, 2012 at 3:03 PM

Obama extorted $20 billion from BP but when he is reelected he will have more flexibility.

dunce on April 18, 2012 at 3:04 PM

It appears from the news stories I read that Argentina renationalized YPF by buy 51% of the shares – is this accurate?
Monkeytoe on April 18, 2012 at 12:28 PM
I don’t think so. All the stories I’ve seen have said seized, not bought.
It appears that Evitacita just said “Nice company you’ve got here. 51% of it is mine now.”
Mr. Bingley on April 18, 2012 at 1:29 PM

I’m Argentinean with family still there, so I may be able to shed some light on that (I had the same question when I first heard that, btw). In short, the seized. Kirchner’s plan is to, through force, cause the stock to plummet and then “buy” 51% of the stock to make the acquisition “legal”. The country is broke so she’ll be funding it with money from Argentina’s Social Security (seniors always get the short end of the stick down there). Don’t try to find logic anywhere in her behavior. She is drunk with power and just cares about her and her pals (all the oil research, refineries, and transportation companies that will get the government contracts now that YPF is national again are all friends of hers).

She also nationalized Aerolineas Argentinas (the national Airline company that had been sold to Iberia back in the 90′s) a few years ago. The result? A daily subsidy of like $$200,000 to keep it running.

If anyone wants a great example of how well capitalism works check YPF’s story. Created as a national company in a socialist country was privatized in the early 90′s. In about 2 years it went from being in shambles to a company trading very well in the world market which led Repsol to show interest a few years later. It also saw it’s biggest progress in both research and development at the time.

Now it is going backwards and the country is continuing it’s path to hell (it’s been down that road since the Kirchner’s have been in power).

ptcamn on April 18, 2012 at 3:19 PM

I’d re-up in the Marines to go down there and hand out some @55 whoopins if the Argentines decide to go after the Faulklands. Nothing screams commie aggression like nationalizing foreign owned companies and military action against a neighboring civilian population.

If I were President I’d be down there tomorrow laying into President Kirchner(politically) over this. (get your mind out of the gutter) ;)

StompUDead on April 18, 2012 at 3:29 PM

StompUDead on April 18, 2012 at 3:29 PM

The Falklands will be fine. Argentina got its army dismantled when the Kirchner’s took power years ago. Think of Ernesto and Cristina Kirchner during the 70′s as the Bill Ayers and Bernadine Dorhn of Argentina for reference, though not as high ranking in the organization as far as i know. The first thing they did was start an all out vendetta against anything tied to the army (through legal means and executive orders).

Argentine has no means of invading anything. The Falklands are just a rallying cry to distract the zombie masses from the power grab and corruption that Kurchner is involved in.

But, a good whoopin’ would serve the country well if you ask me.

ptcamn on April 18, 2012 at 3:41 PM

On one hand, yeah, the Argentine government ain’t our favorite folks.

On the other, when the choice is Argentine nationalization or being sold to the Chinese government (Sinopec being one of those not-quite-arm’s-length subsidiaries of the Beijing kleptocracy) I’m not going to lose much sleep over Kirchner’s choice.

JEM on April 18, 2012 at 3:51 PM

… I’m not going to lose much sleep over Kirchner’s choice.
JEM on April 18, 2012 at 3:51 PM

So, what you are saying is that you are ok with a government seizing private property by force as long as that property is not sold legally to a buyer you don’t like? Yeah… I see the equivalency there… Should we ask somebody from Venezuela to describe how well they are doing under a regime that thinks just like you?

ptcamn on April 18, 2012 at 4:03 PM

Spain should seize all Argentine assets in their country. Somewhere, the Perons are smiling.

Ward Cleaver on April 18, 2012 at 4:12 PM

blink on April 18, 2012 at 2:04 PM

To say nothing of the impact on the equity prices of even unrelated companies from the assault on the foundations of their private enterprise system.

Destabilize the basis of corporate ownership down there, and pretty soon you can buy the whole damn industrial base for peanuts.

DrSteve on April 18, 2012 at 4:59 PM

She was a student and followed Obama’s “best practices”

If it has a problem have the gubment take it over.

Obama tried in GM and Chrysler.

He gifted chrysler to the Italians.

seven on April 18, 2012 at 5:23 PM

The move has infuriated Repsol and Spanish officials

If only the Spanish hadn’t spent so much on AGW feel-good projects, they might be able to protect their national interests worldwide.

Pssst….hey White House…thats a hint.

BobMbx on April 18, 2012 at 6:48 PM

Obama admin caught flat-footed by Argentina nationalization of Spanish oil company

And this is our business how?

Dante on April 18, 2012 at 7:47 PM

And this is our business how?

Dante on April 18, 2012 at 7:47 PM

Besides the fact that people who aren’t shills or leeches tend to take note when leftist tyrants outright steal property?

MelonCollie on April 18, 2012 at 8:02 PM

Besides the fact that people who aren’t shills or leeches tend to take note when leftist tyrants outright steal property?

MelonCollie on April 18, 2012 at 8:02 PM

That doesn’t answer the question. Given that it wasn’t our property, this is our business how?

Dante on April 18, 2012 at 8:15 PM

That doesn’t answer the question. Given that it wasn’t our property, this is our business how?

Dante on April 18, 2012 at 8:15 PM

The same reason (some) people said we should care when Hitler started annexing land, Major Clueless. Such actions will eventually start to hurt US. Nevermind that the Obama administration would do this in a heartbeat if they could, and may be emboldened by the actions of others.

MelonCollie on April 18, 2012 at 8:19 PM

The same reason (some) people said we should care when Hitler started annexing land, Major Clueless. Such actions will eventually start to hurt US. Nevermind that the Obama administration would do this in a heartbeat if they could, and may be emboldened by the actions of others.

MelonCollie on April 18, 2012 at 8:19 PM

That still isn’t an answer.

Dante on April 18, 2012 at 8:29 PM

That doesn’t answer the question. Given that it wasn’t our property, this is our business how?
Dante on April 18, 2012 at 8:15 PM

In a direct way it matters because, coupled all the other market signals, it will push the price of oil up (and coupled with the forced hiked that fuel has here for the summer season, you do the math).

Indirectly, take it as a sample of the direction we are headed. For some years now I’ve been seeing things here that I never though could happen in the US, and that make me tremble because they are the beginning of the decadence of a society when everything goes downhill, and things I saw back in Argentina. Not that Argentina is a (or was) a model to follow, but the moment that the US starts behaving like that South American nation instead of the other way around it should be a sign to re-think a lot of what we are doing.

So, other than condemning Kirchner you can’t do anything. It will somewhat affect you at the pump, which should be more than enough to keep everyone hammering the poor energy policies of our administration. But it is a sample of what happens when socialist policies creep into a society who stops caring about personal responsibility.

ptcamn on April 18, 2012 at 9:02 PM

That still isn’t an answer.

Dante on April 18, 2012 at 8:29 PM

-Nationalization of a major oil producer by a Latin American socialist has caused problems for us in the past. Witness Hugo Chavez. We are wise to take notice of similar activities.

-The intentional destruction of stockholder value in a European company has repercussions in our financial system.

-Spain is an ally. So is Argentina. When two of our allies have a major trade dispute, we are wise to pay attention to it.

- The UK is our strongest ally. Argentina has been at war with the UK as recently as the 1980′s. . Since Spain and the UK have intertwined economies, any diplomatic or military intervention is likely going to involve the entire EU, including the UK – who we’re already in a sticky situation with diplomatically because of some remarks by our President directly related to Argentina.

If by “our business” you mean how should the US intervene? I would say we should not, apart from condemning the move publically.

But if by “our business” you mean that we should be interested, then yes, yes we should be interested.

But I have a feeling you’re not going to be satisfied with any answers.

Quantus on April 18, 2012 at 9:11 PM

Obama admin caught flat-footed by Argentina nationalization of Spanish oil company

In a sense. In the grander scheme of things, they certainly view this as a great thing and look forward to the day they can do it here.

Dr. ZhivBlago on April 18, 2012 at 11:00 PM

Hilary Clinton got caught flat footed because she was too busy dancing and drinking booze at night in Colombia when she should have been paying attention to what was going on at these meetings.

Conservative Samizdat on April 19, 2012 at 2:56 AM

But I have a feeling you’re not going to be satisfied with any answers.

Quantus on April 18, 2012 at 9:11 PM

You’re right, because you didn’t answer the question. The UK is our ally. Ok, big deal. That doesn’t make their affairs our affairs. Spain is an ally. Ok, big deal. That doesn’t make their affairs our affairs.

Your convoluted reasoning regarding financial systems is the kind of pretzel logic interventionists love to use.

“The great rule of conduct for us, in regard to foreign nations, is in extending our commercial relations, to have with them as little political connection as possible. Europe has a set of primary interests, which to us have none, or a very remote relation. Hence she must be engaged in frequent controversies the causes of which are essentially foreign to our concerns. Hence, therefore, it must be unwise in us to implicate ourselves, by artificial ties, in the ordinary vicissitudes of her politics, or the ordinary combinations and collisions of her friendships or enmities.” – George Washington

Dante on April 19, 2012 at 8:00 AM

The answer, Quantus, is that it isn’t any of our business.

Dante on April 19, 2012 at 8:01 AM

Doesn’t the American taxpayer own Solyndra? Obama just nationalizes and bankrupts companies!

ConcealedKerry on April 18, 2012 at 1:00 PM

No, he just gave them hundreds of millions of dollars of loan guarantees without getting an effective claim on the company’s assets — the government’s claim was subordinated to private investors. If Obama had nationalized Solyndra, at least the taxpayer would have been left with the company’s inventory of overpriced solar panels. We didn’t even get that.

J.S.K. on April 19, 2012 at 9:34 AM

The answer, Quantus, is that it isn’t any of our business.

Dante on April 19, 2012 at 8:01 AM

I think the answer is that you want to pretend you’re not an Ugly American–”Who are we to tell the rest of the world how to live?”–while still being an Ugly American–”If it’s not directly affecting the US, I don’t care about it.”

I wish smugness was a tradeable commodity. I’d suggest Obama nationalize yours.

rwenger43 on April 19, 2012 at 10:30 AM

It’s a bad sign when the latest news out of Argentina sounds like a bad ripoff of Atlas Shrugged (the nationalization of the San Sebastian railroad, including the shock from the American bad guys that those wonderful collectivists could have done such a thing).

Oh, and Dante? Charles Lindbergh called from 1938–he wants his political platform back.

M. Scott Eiland on April 19, 2012 at 2:31 PM

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