TCS Daily


Heed the Arab (Wall) Street

By Jerry Boyer - October 7, 2003 12:00 AM

Anti-American demonstrations, comments in Arab language newspapers, acts of violence against the occupation government of Iraq and even opinion polls have been sited as support for the argument that we and our institutions are unwelcome in the Arab world and have made matters worse there.

 

Indeed, one of the chief arguments against coalition intervention in Iraq was that military action there would "destabilize the region." The standard conservative response was that the region was already destabilized. A related argument against the war was that the Arab world "didn't want us there" and that American intervention in the region would create greater levels of hatred towards America and American values.

 

But what do the data say?

 

 

Perhaps the purest statement of a man's true views is what he does with his hard-earned money -- voting with his wallet. When people vote with their silence by not staging counter-demonstrations you don't really know that they're thinking. When people vote with their lips by giving an answer to a pollster you get a view of their thoughts. When people vote with the accumulated capital of their life's labors you find out what they really think.

 

What do people who live in or invest in the Middle East and Central Asia really think about American intervention in Iraq? At a minimum, they think it's good for future -- and for future profits. Looking at the countries with readily available market indices -- Israel TA-100, Turkish ISE National-100, Pakistani Karachi 100, Egyptian CMA -- we find that every one of those indices has risen over the time period, from George Bush's ultimatum on March 17th to now. Egypt is up 19.3%; Israel is up 29.3%; Turkey is up 45.1%; and the-powder-keg-known-as-Pakistan is up an astonishing 67.5%!

 

Jerry Bowyer is a successful entrepreneur who hosts a radio program and a television program dedicated to business and leadership. He is the author of "The Bush Boom: How a 'Misunderestimated' President Fixed Our Broken Economy."

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