Saturday, February 25, 2006

The Port Controversy: Let Calmer Heads Prevail

I am no expert on International Relations (I must defer to my colleague Dr. Clark on those matters). However, the recent brouhaha over granting management rights to a UAE-based company over some U.S. port operations seems to me to be a tempest in a teapot.

Our port security is still firmly in the hands of our own customs officials, coast guard, and police forces. Nothing about this agreement changes that. That foreign companies manage port facilities is really not a new thing. The fact that this one is based in the UAE, which has been friendly to us, is not a reason to panic.

Larry Kudlow has an excellent piece on Town Hall, which you can access here:
2006/02/24/187833.html (paste all of this in your browser to ensure the link works)

Kudlow calls this controversy a product of Islamophobia. While I believe there are legitimate concerns about dealing with radical elements of Islam, there are also possibilities for change through trade. The great thing about capitalism is that everyone can be green.

In fact, this relationship could lead to enhanced security. This company will have every reason to ensure that nothing bad happens on their watch. After all, they lose profits if the port is harmed. Keep in mind: even the Saudis are now targets of Al Quaeda terrorists, who are targeting oil facilities there. Frankly, I'd rather trust the UAE company than some of our other so-called allies, whom we now know have been untrustworthy in their prior dealings with Saddam's Iraq.

Though both conservative pundits and liberal democrats have piled on the President on this issue, I think they should both take a breather and focus more calmly on the realities of the situation. Let's be sure that this company is all square with the government, and that it really is the best qualified to do the job. But then, let's move on. I'm frankly sick of hearing all the demogogery about security -- especially from people who don't want the President to engage in basic surveillance regarding calls from suspected Al Queda members to the United States.


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