For one thing, the Bush Administration should interpose the strongest possible objections to putatively allied governments in London and The Hague that export guarantees and insurance for this deal would seriously complicate bilateral and trilateral relations. For another, the Treasury Department should make life miserable for any banks that might contemplate helping underwrite such an investment.
The real power to punish Royal Dutch Shell for being against us in this War for the Free World, however, should lie with American investors and consumers. The Roosevelt Anti-Terror Multi-Cap Fund (RATF) is the first mutual fund in the nation to be certified by the Conflict Securities Advisory Group as “terror-free.” It holds in portfolio neither Shell nor any other publicly traded companies doing business in Iran, Sudan, Syria or North Korea. Nationwide Financial, E-Trade, Ameritrade and Schwab have begun offering RATF as an option on their investment platforms.
In addition, Sarah Steelman, the Treasurer of Missouri, has taken the first public fund terror-free – and achieved a higher return in so doing. Her state’s 529 college savings plan will shortly offer such an option as well, one which will be available to investors from all over the country. If you don’t want to enrich those who are trying to kill us, insist that your money – be it in public pension funds, 401k plans, mutual funds, life insurance portfolios, etc. – is invested terror-free.
Whether you are an investor or not, you have another option: Show Shell how you feel about its dealings with our Iranian enemies by filling up your car at the pumps of one of its American competitors – who, by law, are not permitted to do business with terrorist-sponsoring states.
Interestingly, Shell’s CEO is already nervous about his company’s ties to Tehran. As he told reporters last week: “I would like to emphasize that we have here quite a dilemma. This is Iran. They are the Number Two in oil and gas reserves in the world. But we have all the short-term political concerns.”
By making an object lesson of Shell, we can help resolve its management’s "dilemma." If it actually starts to be painful to be “against us,” we can ensure that more of those who wish to do business with America – and who typically take for granted our protection of their freedoms – line up “with us,” instead of with our enemies. Without help from our friends, maybe those enemies’ regimes will change their behavior, or even fall from power. It is certainly worth a try.
In recent weeks, Senators John McCain and Joe Lieberman, former Governor Mitt Romney, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, former Senator Rick Santorum and former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu have embraced the idea of terror-free investing. Let’s show Shell and other, foreign-owned companies that partner with our foes – like France’s Total, China’s Sinopec, Russia’s Gazprom and Italy’s ENI – that Americans take seriously the imperative of countering Iran’s nuclear ambitions and support for international terror. They had better be with us, or else.
Frank Gaffney Jr. is the founder and president of the Center for Security Policy and author of War Footing: 10 Steps America Must Take to Prevail in the War for the Free World .
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