You’ve read lately that the building industry has slumped. That is only in this country. In foreign lands with whom the United States has diplomatic (?) relations there’s another story.
Our State Department recently accepted a design for a new $1 billion embassy in London. It looks somewhat like a huge ice cube on toothpicks. “WE” have bought five-acres of England, south of the Thames, on which this transparency will be erected. I doubt it will sport the magnificent gilded eagle identifying the present embassy at Grosvenor Square. I also doubt that American construction workers will be moved to England to build it.
Terrorist threats are real, so our diplomats (and CIA agents) need quarters as secure as they can be built. Marines who guard them can do only so much, so new “safe” facilities are being built and others renovated or “hardened.” Londoners have been upset about ugly concrete barriers protecting our embassy at Grosvenor Square. There, since about 1960, WE’ve been paying rent to the grossly wealthy Duke of Westminster. The landlord duke offered to sell “US” that building if we return property taken from his family during the American Revolution. That’s unlikely to be settled in his favor, so WE, several years ago, began planning to move into a new structure that requires no barriers. (It will have a moat, instead. The architects whose design won the competition must be familiar with ancient castles.)
This unwelcoming “Welcome to America” edifice is one of many (number not readily available) that have been, are being, or will be built or renovated on foreign soil. Two in Pakistan (a Turkish builder has been involved there) come to another $1 billion. A consulate in China (built with Chinese labor) is estimated at $260,000,000.. Toss in another 48 or 98 such projects and you’ll be looking at some real money.
You know about the modern “Krak des Chevaliers” in Baghdad’s Green Zone, whose cost is pushing a billion. But do you know it was built by a Kuwaiti contractor, who, according to one report is now a billionaire–in Dollars American–and who used imported (does that translate as “slave”?) laborers? None, I presume, were Americans.
How many billions are being spent to build and rebuild these representations of the United States? I doubt anybody will tell. Maybe nobody knows.
Maybe nobody knows why some of that cash isn’t building something, like schools, in this country. Don’t blame me; all this was started years ago.
by Jim Turner – Lodi, CA