Thursday, February 23, 2006


I haven't weighed in on this issue yet, but I suppose I should.

I think this is largely a manufactured controversy. The main problem appears to be that this deal took everyone by surprise, including President Bush. But one would hope that mere surprise would yield more (or far, far less) than overheated rhetoric.

Was I surprised to find out our major ports were run by foreign firms? Yes. Is it a scandal? Not in the short-term political sense. It's been that way for years.

I would prefer that important parts of our nation's infrastructure remain in American hands. But if that's not going to be the case, it makes no sense to discriminate against a particular company based on nothing more than nationality. Dubai is not North Korea or Iran or some other loose cannon. Their only crime is being Arab.

As far as security goes, ownership is less important than who is doing the work on the ground -- and those will be American for the most part.

That said, this is an excellent opportunity to focus on the question of port security -- a topic given much lip service but limited action in the last four years.

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Blogger Matt Parker said...

Okay – just a few quick points:

1. The Dubai company has a fantastic record of security and safety in ports all over the world.

2. The Dubai company wanted this acquisition only partly because of the American ports and those only because it could increase it’s ability to assure security and safety in all of it’s ports around the world.

3. If a dirty, or nuclear, or biochemical, bomb is shipped to an American port, it’s too late to worry about security. It would already be on American soil and could just as easily be detonated there – before customs or inspections or anything else. Who runs the ports is not relevant.

4. If the company shouldn’t be able to run the ports because some terrorists came from the country it’s based in, then we should continue that rule:
a. The London bombings were done by British citizens, so England is out.
b. There are still Basque separatists in Spain so they’re out.
c. Closer to home and state by state. Timothy McVeigh was from Michigan so Michigan is out. David Koresh was from Texas so Texas is out.
Well – you get my point…

This is truly a lot of noise over nothing. Personally I’m just writing down the names of the politicians who are saying stupid things about this so I can be sure not to vote for them. Unfortunately it’s a long list.


2/24/2006 8:25 AM  

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