Good Company

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Good Company

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

The Ports Issue -The President is right on this one

President Bush takes on the rascist and ethnic stereotypes behind the port flap here:
"After careful review by our government, I believe the transaction ought to go forward," Bush told reporters who had traveled with him on Air Force One to Washington. "I want those who are questioning it to step up and explain why all of a sudden a Middle Eastern company is held to a different standard than a Great British company. I am trying to conduct foreign policy now by saying to the people of the world, `We'll treat you fairly.'"
As you might gather from reading this blog, I am big on protecting the US, but I find the uproar over the issue of a Dubai company taking over six ports to be completely misplaced. We need to get everyone connected to the global economy, not shut them out. The President is exactly right on this one.

UPDATE: The CounterTerrorism Blog offers a differing view from an alleged former DP employee (and UAE resident) and also offers up this:
My personal opinion: If we're going to engage in "business profiling" to prevent companies from Arab companies from buying national security-related assets, we might as well start "personal profiling" to keep Arab terrorists from penetrating our border and transportation security. It doesn't make sense to me to do one and not the other.
Uh, wait, my Lenovo Thinkpad is beeping an alarm. More connectedness is better.

UPDATE2: A range of views here at the National Review Symposium on Dubai Port Deal on National Review Online. I thought the following was particulary good:
James Jay Carafano
Foreign companies already own most of the maritime infrastructure that sustains American trade — the ships, the containers, the material-handling equipment, and the facilities being sold to the Dubai company. It's a little late now to start worrying about outsourcing seaborne trade, but congressional hearings could serve to clear the air.
Sure security is important. That’s why after 9/11, America led the effort to establish the International Ship and Port Security code that every country that trades with and operates in the United States has to comply with. And compliance isn’t optional—it is checked by the U.S. Coast Guard. And the security screening for the ships, people, and cargo that comes into the United States is not done by the owners of the ships and the ports, but by the Coast Guard and Customs and Border Protection, both parts of the Homeland Security department. Likewise overall security for the port is coordinated by the captain of the port, a Coast Guard officer.

What happens when one foreign-owned company sells a U.S. port service to another foreign-owned company. Not much. Virtually all the company employees at the ports are U.S. citizens. The Dubai firm is a holding company that will likely play no role in managing the U.S. facilities. Likewise, the company is owned by the government, a government that is an ally of the United States and recognizes that al Qaeda is as much a threat to them as it is to us. They are spending billions to buy these facilities because they think it’s a crackerjack investment that will keep making money for them long after the oil runs out. The odds that they have any interest in seeing their facilities become a gateway for terrorist into the United States are slim. But in the interest of national security, we will be best served by getting all the facts on the table.

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