Wednesday, 16 June 2010

This Was The Week

This was the week when President Obama, having got tougher with "British" Petroleum every day for a month, got so tough that America now has no goal except getting tough with BP.

This was the week when Exxon, Chevron, Royal Dutch Shell and Mobile all claimed that they never spilled any oil and even if they did, they had really brilliant plans for cleaning it up that were so much better than BPs. A weary congressional committee chairman, possibly the only sane man left in American politics, pointed out that they had, in fact, practically identical contingency plans to BP. (Probably all commissioned from the same consultancy firm, if the truth were known.)

This was the week when an organised campaign to "seize BP's Assets" really took off, with millions signing up to it without asking if it was in fact organised by Transocean's publicists...

This was the week when blaming people for an accident took precedence over fixing the problem.

This was the week when an American president demanded, with menaces, a $20bn downpayment on a crisis that has cost $1.6bn so far and will probably actually cost, at most, $8bn.

This was the week when some Americans seriously started to believe that BP had managed to crack the Earth's crust open and that the entire Gulf Coast would be evacuated in consequence.

This was the week when America started a "war on oil slicks", using all the language of a Blitz which no American has known, to describe an accident that's being patiently fixed, when America's politicians allow, bit by bit, by the very people they are competing with each other to castigate.

This was the week when the managers of China's Sovereign Wealth Funds, calm and sober men more powerful than everyone on Capitol Hill put together, decided that Greece was actually a safer place to invest in than the United States, a conclusion that the Qatari Sovereign Wealth Fund reached last month.

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