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Monday, October 21, 2019

Authoritarian Hush Money

Erica Pandey at Axios:
The big picture: It's not just China. American companies have long ignored attacks against democratic values in authoritarian countries that are willing to shell out for their products or services. 
The American intelligence community acknowledges that the Kremlin interfered in an American presidential election and committed a nerve agent attack on British soil. But American corporations still maintain strong ties to the regime, even though the U.S. has had sanctions in place against Russia since 2014.
  • Companies like Boeing, Ford, and McDonalds all consider Russia a big growth market, per Reuters.
  • McKinsey, along with Paul Manafort, was paid to clean up the image of the pro-Russian Ukrainian politician Viktor Yanukovych, who decried the West and was convicted of financial fraud, reports the New York Times.
  • “They don’t want to alienate regimes, or they would lose business," David J. Kramer, a former assistant secretary of state, told the Times.
Journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered by the Saudi royal family, but it's business as usual between U.S. companies and the Saudi government.
  • Wall Street is still vying for the IPO of Saudi oil giant Aramco — a deal that could be worth up to $2 trillion.
But no country has pushed American people and companies around like China