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Tuesday, March 01, 2011

Friends in Embarrassing Places

From Slate:
Money, even foreign money (and particularly that Saudi money), has always been able to buy access to Western statesmen. But in the last decade or so, the proportions have subtly shifted. The democratic West has become relatively poorer, while a clutch of undemocratic "emerging" markets have become richer. To put it more bluntly, Western politicians, ex-politicians, and even aristocrats have become much, much poorer than the very, very rich businessmen emerging from the oil-and-gas states of Central Asia, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East.
The growing wealth of the rest of the world, combined with the fact that a lot of that world is run by dictators who effectively "own" their countries provides the means by which Western leaders can be bought.  And they are bought ... wholesale.

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