Thursday, March 09, 2006

More on Dubai Ports World

Today's Wall Street Journal (page B1, Meckler and Machalaba) has an excellent story providing some useful background on foreign company involvement in U.S. ports. It seems about 80 percent of our ports are already run by foreign companies, some of which are controlled by foreign governments. For example, China runs some ports in California. The article explains how this came to be. One explanation: this is not terribly profitable, and U.S. investors have moved their capital elsewhere.

Another informative piece on Dubai can be found here, on the von Mises blog. This is written by an investment banker familiar with Dubai and its historical trading role.

Meanwhile, back in Washington, Republican leaders are announcing that they are about to block the port deal. Democrats are joining them. This troubles me deeply. Though I think we have some people of good will who are acting out of genuine security concerns, the problem here is that this issue lends itself to demogoguery. It is too easy to prey upon the fears of the voting public, regardless of the facts. Though I don't want to beat this issue to death, I am reminded of the wisdom of Will Rogers. He told us that it is not only things we don't know that hurt us, but also the things we think we know that are wrong. I think both parts of that saying could be at work here, and we can only hope that our leaders can stop pointing fingers at one another long enough to do the right thing for our country.

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