www.nettime.org
Nettime mailing list archives

<nettime> Re: Foreign Policy - U.S. Aid - Two Americans trapped in Egypt
Presidential Explorations and Maneuvers on Wed, 5 May 1999 05:21:06 +0200 (CEST)


[Date Prev] [Date Next] [Thread Prev] [Thread Next] [Date Index] [Thread Index]

<nettime> Re: Foreign Policy - U.S. Aid - Two Americans trapped in Egypt.....


     [orig To: <Jim Sorenson <sorenson {AT} infinity.com.eg>,
           CC: <sorenson {AT} cairo-egypt.com>]

Dear Jim, Sandra, the "Fluff," and assorted companies doing petroleum 
business in Egypt,

Thank you for your letter about your very serious difficulties over 
there in Egypt.

Let us back up for a moment, and start right at the beginning. As you 
suggest, a foreign policy is an essential component of any government. A 
government, in dealing with the world, must have principles and 
guidelines, and must take more than a few things into consideration. All 
in all, embassies, consulates, governmental and quasi-governmental 
foreign policy institutes, and so on must be extensive, entrenched, and 
exceedingly well developed. All of these must attend to issues 
relentlessly and carefully, and weigh them with rigor. Only after 
weighing these things can decisions be reached.

All of this, of course, sets the stage for the question: what should a 
hypothetical government's foreign policy be? To narrow this issue to the 
matter at hand, let us assume a government which in some manner 
represents people--a democracy. Let us also assume the existence of a 
wide, unruly world (e.g. Serbia, Iraq, Somalia, Guatemala--or Egypt). 
What should the democracy's policy be, towards that unruly world (e.g. 
Egypt)? How should it take that world (e.g. Egypt) into account, and 
deal with it? How, moreover, should it encourage others to deal with it?

Now upon this basis, we can address your particular situation in greater 
detail. Egypt--or, more precisely, the "development" and 
"intensification" of petroleum-oriented efforts within Egypt, which you 
are earnestly engaged in promoting, as a member of America's "front-
line" elite units of investors, developers, and promoters--has a very 
important place within any respectable, democratic government's foreign 
policy. What should be its place within ours?

To answer this question is no simple matter! But if we are to attempt it 
at all, we must begin at the beginning. Since we are speaking of a 
DEMOCRATIC government, we should begin with the DEMOS, the people. We 
can assume, over here and over there, people, great masses of people. 
Most of these people, of course, simply want to get on with their lives 
and be prosperous in one way or another, to one degree or another--not 
necessarily as much as possible, but certainly as much as necessary.

In the matter of this element, people, there is clearly nothing of 
interest to say. People go to Egypt, they enjoy the noted ziggurats, 
they swim in the Volga, they attend to the hippos lolling about in Lake 
Mead and think of all the glorious history enmeshed in these things. The 
Egyptians are "OK" with this. People go and look, and pay money to look. 
Egyptians take that money, and are happy to show the people around, in 
exchange. They may even find some enjoyment in displaying their national 
"heritage," all the biers and daises and so on for which they are 
famous. All of this, of course, you know from your business that, among 
other things, provides special "tours" tailored to oil executives 
(http://www.cairo-egypt.com/kline.html).

But over here and over there, too, another element: corporations, and 
"corporate money." There is petroleum, there is digging and prospecting 
and discovering and so on. What, with "corporate money" thrown into the 
equation, is to be a U.S.A. foreign policy towards that great unruly 
Egypt? For the U.S. is a democracy, with the DEMOS at its core, and 
corporations, as we all know, are people too, according to U.S. law. We 
must pay attention to issues surrounding this money, and manage them 
well.

It does sound like you are having a simply horrendous time there in your 
adopted "homeland," and it is clear that money plays some part in this. 
You have established companies devoted to helping "corporate money" 
establish a "foothold" in Egypt--more than one, it would seem--and you 
have yachts, or at least boats, that, for example, you wish to tow 
through the Suez Canal. At http://www.cairo-egypt.com/index02.html we 
obtain a vital clue:

       If you would like to market to the oil industry in Egypt, you 
       will have all the information you need to get your company's 
       brochure, price list or proposal directly to the key decision 
       makers in the departments where the orders are generated. Or 
       find the right agent or representative to help you establish 
       a dynamic commercial presence in Egypt. Are you an 
       independent contractor who is interested in advertising 
       yourself and your expertise to the market here? Take a 
       listing! Check our rates and advertising page for details 
       about ads and listings in the Egypt Petroleum Directory.

Now the various practices this implies would of course be impossible in 
the U.S.A. Egyptians, however, are used to it. This is both a "plus" 
(obvious) and a "minus" (less obvious). For while most people of the 
U.S.A. do not understand big corporate money--it does not affect their 
day-to-day lives, and "directly to the key decision makers" does not 
mean much to most Americans, in this context--most people of Egypt DO 
understand big corporate money, because it does affect their day-to-day 
lives, at every level, and they know exactly what "directly to the key 
decision makers" means. They see American money affecting all kinds of 
decisions concerning their country and lives (via the "decision 
makers"), and many of these decisions are perhaps of questionable value 
for them and their livelihood, especially since access to the "decision 
makers" can so easily be bought. They wonder, day to day, how it is that 
their wealth is so small and that of others, not even Egyptians, grows 
in leaps and bounds, using their land. (We are speaking, of course, only 
of Egyptians' perception of these things, not of the things themselves. 
We can call this "Third-World syndrome," if we wish. It involves an 
overdeveloped understanding of big corporate money, among other things.)

You too, it would seem, understand big corporate money. It has affected 
you adversely. The people of Egypt, reacting badly to big corporate 
money, have treated you badly, apparently mistaking you for big 
corporate money and wishing to "react" or "oppose." Perhaps they think 
that because you help petroleum companies get a foothold in Egypt, that 
you are "in cahoots" with them. Perhaps the people of Egypt think you 
are in the "Exploration Scene," which you detail with maps at 
http://www.cairo-egypt.com/egypt.html. Or perhaps they think you are "in 
cahoots" because, using access to "key decision makers,"

       Jim Sorenson... has been personally instrumental in 
      establishing five foreign exploration companies in Egypt 
      under production sharing agreements. He has also set up 
      a number of service companies - for Trapetco and other 
      foreign interests. 

Or perhaps they are suspicious because you advertise that K-line Ltd. 
(one of your companies, mentioned above)

       can provide quality representation in Egypt for companies 
       wishing to do feasibility studies, establish offices, 
       finalize agreements, or manage projects. We are particularly 
       experienced at setting up petroleum exploration companies and 
       providing the technical and administrative expertise required 
       to carry operations through to production.

Perhaps the people of Egypt mistake "administrative expertise" for less 
savory-sounding schemes that U.S. companies have been known for in Third 
World countries. Or perhaps it is that Trapetco S.A. (another of your 
companies) "has become involved in a number of oil related ventures, 
representationships and pioneering investment projects in Egypt" since 
1977.

Whatever the ultimate cause of your problems--whether it be your 
"representationships" or just the Egyptians' reaction to them--we 
suggest you have hope. It is not far from this point when, under certain 
specific circumstances, the U.S.A. will step in. All you need to do is 
assure the U.S. government, which ultimately controls the U.S. armed 
forces and other tools for encouraging cooperation with American 
business, that your situation is typical of many who wish to tow boats 
through the Suez Canal, or earn lots of money in Egypt by extensive use 
of the Egyptian landscape and physical heritage, via 
"representationships." You must show that many others are, like you, 
mistaken for big corporate money. It might help if big corporate money 
decides to use you and others like you to explain its difficult position 
in Egypt, to the American people. Perhaps you should speak to some of 
your client companies regarding these matters. If you can get a lot of 
backing and documentation of the sorts outlined in this paragraph, we 
can assure you that George W. Bush, Al Gore, and others will have to do 
a great deal--a very great deal--to help you.

Finally, on behalf of America, thank you foremost for your tenacity, for 
insisting on remaining on Egypt, which has been very good to you in many 
ways despite the beatings-up, robberies, and so on that you report at 
http://www.cairo-egypt.com/trouble.html in words that make us shudder. 
You are on the front line! You are there with the best of the American 
soldiers, those fighting in various countries, maintaining the American 
foothold where it has been established at such huge cost for so long! 
Much as the U.S. government told factory workers to remain at their 
posts in the event of atomic attack, we send you great big "THANKS" for 
remaining at your post through these fiendish assaults on American 
values, as represented by you and your ADORABLE "Fluff." May you, your 
companies, and of course the "Fluff" continue to profit well and 
healthily, despite these several setbacks you describe.

As Dan Quayle said, we must decide whether to look ahead to the future, 
or past to the back. Only when we know this, and when we know many other 
things concerning our government, will sane and wholesome foreign policy 
be able to coexist with the engines of commerce and power.

Earnestly,
Roy and Liz

Presidential Explorations and Maneuvers: Your efforts redeemed
http://www.gwbush.com/

You wrote:
>Dear Governor Bush,
>
>We wish you all the best in your upcoming campaign.
>
>If and when we get out of Egypt, we will support your
>run for the Presidency with our votes and our hearts. It
>certainly is time for a change!
>
>In the meantime, we would very much appreciate if you, or
>one of your staff, could take the time to read about our
>plight in Egypt at:
>
>www.cairo-egypt.com/trouble.html
>(a private webpage)
>
>We have given so much over the years to Egypt-U.S. relations
>and to Egypt-U.S. commerce, and sadly, both governments appear to
>have entirely forsaken us.
>
>We'll still be here after the next election, and maybe your
>new government can help us, and those like us overseas, then.
>
>Best of luck.
>
>Jim Sorenson and Sandra Simpson (Mr. & Mrs)
>sorenson {AT} cairo-egypt.com
>
>Our senators who know the whole story:
>
>Arlen Specter (R) Pennsylvania
>Rick Santorum (R) Pennsylvania
>
>P.S. Our main webpage which is not private is located
>at www.cairo-egypt.com

---
#  distributed via nettime-l : no commercial use without permission
#  <nettime> is a closed moderated mailinglist for net criticism,
#  collaborative text filtering and cultural politics of the nets
#  more info: majordomo {AT} desk.nl and "info nettime-l" in the msg body
#  URL: http://www.desk.nl/~nettime/  contact: nettime-owner {AT} desk.nl