DPW Nonsense

I feel compelled to comment about this tempest in a teacup. So much is being made of the fact that a Dubai-based company is attempting to purchase the UK-based company responsible for terminal operations at several United States ports. Yet all the security experts I've seen interviewed have said there is no additional risk from this transaction. And the Coast Guard and Customs are still actually responsible for security. And the real port security issues are at foreign ports, long before the cargo gets to the US.

Yet Congress seems all worked up about this. I saw a press conference the other day with Chuck Schumer and Hillary Clinton where they were lamenting how dangerous this is and pointing out that we don't let foriegn owned companies own US airports. I know it's great politics to call the White House out on this. But let's be realistic for a second. First of all, it would be entirely within Congress's power to change the law to prevent foreign ownership of ports. So instead of critisizing of the executive branch for not enforcing a law that doesn't exist, they should legislate if they so choose. Of course in the interest of a fair playing field that would mean that all foreign port operators would need to be kicked out and their interests nationalized. Oh...that's not politically palatable? Yeah...how about that.

Second of all, on the subject of Bush not being up to speed on the issue quickly enough. I'm not a big fan of George Bush. Having said that, there are many many international business deals going through every day. It is not part of the President's job description to monitor and individually approve or disapprove of each one. Nor should it be. Remember that whole capitalism/free market thing? And for business transactions that do raise special national security implications, such as the DPW deal, there is a process in place for experts to assess the risks and make a determination. That process most often does not involve the President. Is the President an expert on port security and operations and the implications of a UAE versus UK company as terminal operator? I would imagine not. How about we let the people who know what they're talking about work on that one.

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