The Case for America

I am a Lebanese-American, a conservative and a capitalist evangelist. I was born in Lebanon, and had one dream and one dream alone – to come to America, and make my fortune as a capitalist. I did just that. I studied at The Wharton School, went to work at the most entrepreneurial firm on Wall Street, Drexel Burnham Lambert, became a global entrepreneur-financier, and made my mark dealing with some of the largest capital pools in the world, orchestrating large scale buyouts and recapitalizations and trading physical commodities the world over.

I travel extensively around the world and every time I am abroad I hear naysayers complaining how America has – to their big dismay – turned to be.

I thought I’d share this blog with you and set the record straight for all the people out there who still don’t get how the American system works and why this great land is still as appealing to the world as ever.

1. It is a fact that despite all the negativism out there, the US remains the world’s leading and most appealing immigrant nation. Last year — 2013 — over a million humans legally migrated to the USA from around the world (more than any other nation); several times that arrived inside her borders illegally. They all didn’t uproot their lives and head to the USA for no reason.

2. Granted the fact that the US as the sole hegemony of the free world and now of the world in general, has a giant footprint and has regularly thrown its weight around in ways that are going to piss people off. Many of those complaints exist with good reason and the US should do more to understand that and ponder those reasons openly and honestly. But, without the US, the world would be far worse, especially if — by some weird reason — the US were to have disappeared at anytime post WWII.

3. When you go through the diplomatic quarters of every nation, there’s still only one nation who has lines of people outside their front gate, day and night waiting to get in. Not Japan, not Germany, not Russia, not India and not China. Occasionally you see similar lines outside the embassies of the UK and Australia and Canada, but none compare to the lines outside the US embassy. Care to guess why?

4. For those who claim that America is no longer a manufacturing power and lost its edge in this respect – America is still a manufacturing powerhouse more than ever. It’s just that most people don’t know it, because we no longer produce the most toasters, toothbrushes, and such. Now, our big areas of manufacturing are things like satellites. Also, keep in mind that although the iPod may be assembled in China, a lot of the parts are made here. As to the Toyota in your garage, well over 80% of the parts and labor that went into it are American.

5. For those who claim that America is no longer an economic juggernaut given the recent crisis the country has undergone through, well let me share with you the cold hard facts despite all what you hear out there.

· The US continues to dominate several large strategic industries (tech, entertainment, media, defense, fashion, financial services)

· The US still has the strongest universities in the world, and the best and brightest students the world over still want to come here

· The US is on the path to energy independence

6. For those who reminisce America’s good old days and want them back, please let me know exactly what you are reminiscing?

· when Blacks knew their place,

· when women were restricted to being secretaries, nurses, and teachers;

· when non-Christian children had to sit through Christian prayers in the public schools;

· when there was no Americans with Disabilities Act and folks in wheel chairs had no access to schools, libraries, or shopping malls;

· when no television show had Black characters unless they were maids or butlers;

· when children with learning disabilities were kicked out of the public schools;

· when 18 year olds were drafted and sent into wars even as they were denied the right to vote;

· when people whose political opinions were ever so liberal found themselves barred from teaching in our schools and universities, serving in our government, performing on our stages and on television, and having their works published.

· when, in the absence of social security, our most impoverished people were also our most elderly;

· when real estate contracts stipulated that the buyer was prohibited from selling the property to Jews, Arabs, and Blacks;

· when employers had the right to refuse to hire workers because of their race, religion, ethnicity, or sex.

· when places of public accommodation (restaurants, hotels, gas stations, pharmacies, amusement parks, etc.) could deny service to people because of their race, religion, ethnicity, or sex.

· when potential voters had to pay poll taxes or pass rigged literacy tests in order to cast a ballot;

· when it was not considered a crime for a husband to rape his wife.
If that’s what you mean by “the good old days,” I’m certainly grateful that they’re gone.

7. To close, aren’t you proud of

· American economic ingenuity and scientific inventiveness?

· The fact that we are a nation of wildly different ideas as to how to run a country that—for the most part—gets up and goes to work every day without ripping itself apart (see: Egypt, Russia, Pakistan, Greece, Syria and others)?

· Warren Buffett and Bill Gates for doing the right thing with their wealth upon their deaths?

· Apple announcing that they will begin building computers in the USA again?

· All the foreign car manufacturers who build cars here, well, profitably while taking care of workers thus demonstrating that the USA has an amazing ability to build great machines?

· Google,, Microsoft, Hollywood (in general), Wall Street (yes, Wall Street), Facebook, Chevron, BoA, Motorola, GE, Ford, JPMorgan and lots of other companies that are innovating and creating jobs (and making a very friendly workplace for women and minorities)?
So for all the naysayers out there still bitching what happened to America, how about rolling up your sleeves and helping where you can to make sure this huge, unwieldy, kind of leaky boat we call America stays on course. And the only way to do that is to look forward, be realistic, understand that we’re all “real Americans”, and that we sink or swim together.

Share your thoughts…

Written by

Ziad K Abdelnour, Wall Street financier, trader and author is currently President and CEO of Blackhawk Partners Inc., a private equity and physical commodities trading firm based out of New York City, Founder & President of the United States Committee for a Free Lebanon (USCFL), Founder & Chairman of the Financial Policy Council, Member of the Board of Governors of the Middle East Forum and Former President of the Arab Bankers Association of North America.