Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Badly titled news: Doesn't seem so imPORTant....

Why is there so much uproar about the ports? It doesn't seem to us that much will change, but what do we know?

So is it outsourcing major port security when
  • "U.S. Coast Guard controls security of our ports"
  • "U.S. Customs Service controls container security"
If nothing changes "no matter who owns the business operations," what's the problem?

Concerning the whole problem of "foreign-based" company problem, one obvious mistake:
Nor is it clear why Mr. Graham or anybody else should be worried about "foreign-based" companies managing U.S. ports, since P&O is a British company. And Britain, as events of the last year have illustrated, is no less likely to harbor radical Islamic terrorists than Dubai.
We'd like to add that:
Dubai Ports World is one of several foreign giants that operate terminals in ports around the globe; other big companies are from Denmark, Singapore, Taiwan and South Korea. Few U.S. terminals are managed by American-owned firms.
To continue (from first article):
None of the U.S. politicians huffing and puffing seem to be aware that this deal was long in the making, that it had been reported on extensively in the financial press, and that it went through normal security clearance procedures, including approval from a foreign investment committee that contains officials from the departments of Treasury, Commerce, State and Homeland Security, among other agencies. Even more disturbing is the apparent difficulty of members of Congress in distinguishing among Arab countries. We'd like to remind them, as they've apparently forgotten, that the United Arab Emirates is a U.S. ally that has cooperated extensively with U.S. security operations in the war on terrorism, that supplied troops to the U.S.-led coalition during the 1991 Persian Gulf War, and that sends humanitarian aid to Iraq. U.S. troops move freely in and out of Dubai on their way to Iraq now.

Finally, we're wondering if perhaps American politicians are having trouble understanding some of the most basic goals of contemporary U.S. foreign policy. A goal of "democracy promotion" in the Middle East, after all, is to encourage Arab countries to become economically and politically integrated with the rest of the world. What better way to do so than by encouraging Arab companies to invest in the United States? Clearly, Congress doesn't understand that basic principle, since its members prefer instead to spread prejudice and misinformation.
Well, as that stands, this doesn't seem so dangerous. Seems as though all Arabs are being grouped into one group that can't be trusted (that's aside from the fact that there is no information showing that Dubians will be coming to US ports to run them under new governance).

What's the big deal? We should hope people aren't speaking up for political reasons, but that doesn't happen in Washington....

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