I read a very interesting article by Niall Ferguson in FT today, relating 2007 US banking crisis to 1870 Ottoman empire crisis. A quote is below:

“The crisis had two distinct financial consequences: the sale of the khedive’s shares in the Suez canal to the British government (for £4m, famously ad­vanced to Disraeli by the Rothschilds) and the hypothecation of certain Ottoman tax revenues for debt service under the auspices of an international Administration of the Ottoman Public Debt, on which European bondholders were represented. The critical point is that the debt crisis necessitated the sale or transfer of Middle Eastern revenue streams to Eur­opeans. The US debt crisis has taken a different form, to be sure. External liabilities have been run up by a combination of government and household dis-saving. It is not the public sector that is defaulting but subprime mortgage borrowers.”[…]

“Yet we need to recognise that these “capital injections” represent a transfer of the revenues from the US financial services industry into the hands of foreign governments. This is happening at a time when the gap between eastern and western incomes is narrowing at an unprecedented pace.

In other words, as in the 1870s the balance of financial power is shifting. Then, the move was from the ancient oriental empires (not only the Ottoman but also the Persian and Chinese) to western Europe. Today the shift is from the US – and other western financial centres – to the autocracies of the Middle East and east Asia.”

“It remains to be seen how quickly today’s financial shift will be followed by a comparable geopolitical shift in favour of the new export and energy empires of the east. Suffice to say that the historical analogy does not bode well for America’s quasi-imperial network of bases and allies across the Middle East and Asia. Debtor empires sooner or later have to do more than just sell shares to satisfy their creditors.”

Indeed, there are insights from 1870s into 21st century. Those days Rothschilds and other financial sharks of the west were buying  assets in non-western world, this time around Muhammad’s and Chen Wenhui’s will do the shopping. The ownership of the financial Suez canals of the 21st century is changing hands real fast.