Thursday, March 09, 2006

Final Thoughts on the Port Deal

Opponents of the deal never gave me a scenario which would lead me to believe the ports were vulnerable, or at least more vulnerable. Anyone can send something from a point of origin far away from our ports.

I think all we did was really upset Arabs needlessly, especially those in the U.A.E.

UPDATE: Captain's Quarters Sums It Up Much Better:
The mainstream media had reported this proposed deal between DPW and P&O since last fall, with little analysis of the implications for American port operations. Until a few weeks ago, the story languished as a boring bureaucratic transaction by a boring bureaucracy about a subject few knew much about. Until radio blowhard Michael Savage grabbed onto the story, the media could have cared less. However, Savage managed to fan the deal into a veritable blaze of hysteria -- and instead of informing the public of all the nuances of the story, the initial reporting followed Savage's lead. Reporters and columnists talked about American ports being sold to Arabs and the outsourcing of security to foreign governments. When the actual facts of the deal started coming out, the time for rational discussion of the deal and the status of all American ports had passed, and the hysteria had all the momentum.
When the White House finally recovered its wits, stopped issuing threats and insults, and negotiated a second and more extensive security review and attempted to involve Congress in the effort, the hysteria got the best of them. After demanding that the White House cooperate with Congress and allow them a voice in the decision and getting agreement, they promptly shifted direction and told the White House that they weren't interested in more information on the transaction. Even as late as last night, we had Congressmen demonstrating an embarrassing level of ignorance of the ports deal. Jerry Lewis (R-CA) promised to ensure that the ports remained in American hands when the deal involved a transaction between the current British operator and the Dubai buyer. Only two weeks into the six-week investigation, the House Appropriations Committee passed legislation forbidding Dubai from operating terminals in the United States -- but had nothing to say about the current Chinese and Saudi operators that have operated terminals in American ports for almost a decade or more. It also didn't address the operation of state-owned foreign airlines in almost every international airport in the US.

It's a rare event indeed that leaves everyone involved diminished in some capacity. This, unfortunately, was one of them, and I'm glad it's almost over.

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