Liberally Conservative

"Freedom is never more than one generation away from extinction. We didn't pass it to our children in the bloodstream. It must be fought for, protected, and handed on for them to do the same, or one day we will spend our sunset years telling our children and our children's children what it was once like in the United States where men were free....... ~Ronald Reagan~

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Port of Call...Sinking Diplomacy and Free Markets

The White House gets blind sided by the of operations of U. S. ports by a foreign entity as it slowly comes clean to being ignorant of details. OOPS! Then we have Republicans waving the flag of dissent without all the facts in hand. Holding photo-ops and quick news sessions, jumping on board with the blustering Liberals the likes of Hillary and Chuck. More frightening is Jimmy Carter has given his useless stamp of approval for the business deal. That alone will give one time to pause.
It seems the natural vetting system was in place but the congress, ever seeking more power, was left out of the loop. Placing blame is what politicians do best, observing facts doesn't count for much. Let's take a look see.
  • Politicians are using the "race card". Sen. Patrick Leahy exclaimed, "Democratic and Republican lawmakers alike are rightly concerned about the Bush administration's decision to allow an Arab country with previous ties to terrorism to take over the operation of six U.S. shipping ports." If there are concerns please address them with hearings not on television for political points by single out a company for its geographics. The country of Dubai has an ownership interest in Dubai World Ports, which has business dealings around the world. It has yet to be said how running operations of U.S. ports effects homeland security. No facts are being presented to contest the vetting process that has been completed and received support from the Pentagon and Joint Chiefs of Staff.
  • A fact being overlooked is many U.S. ports currently are operated by foreign entities. The port of Los Angeles has terminals run by companies from Taiwan, Denmark, Singapore and even China. Using the "Arab" issue is for political points while ignoring sound economic and security reasoning. An Arab business entity does not always equate with links to terrorism. By discussing the issue spontaneously diplomacy in the Middle East is being dismantled.
  • Sending up the "security flag" as an issue only produces isolationism, skips free markets and telegraphs the message it's a bad bet to invest in America. Last year Chinese attempts to purchase oil giant Unocal were blocked while China began selling portions of its primary state-owned banks to American companies Goldman Sachs and Citigroup. Foreign companies will retaliate by making it more difficult and costly for U.S. companies to operate within their borders. This will hurt the American consumer directly in the pocket book.
  • DP World agreed to accept mandatory security screening at port facilities in Dubai and to embrace tighter security practices along the "supply chain" operated by London-based Peninsular & Oriental Steam Navigation Co. U.S. officials also will have access to company records -- without subpoena -- and background information on DP World employees and managers working in the U.S. The assurances lock in requirements that had previously been only voluntary commitments on the part of DP World and P&O.
  • Dubai has become a member of the coalition against terrorism by capturing assests of terrorist organizations and providing military assistance in Iraq. The same can't be said of France and Germany, so-called allies.

The real national security question is not who operates the ports, but how to ensure that they are safe and secure. This week the FBI has arrested alleged terrorists operationg in Toledo, Ohio far from the eastern seaboard. The 9/11 terrorists trained in the U.S. Other terrorists have gained citizenship while working on terrorist plots within our homeland. Only 5% of port containers are currently inspected. Addressing this problem has never gained much political steam but using race in politics is a grander scheme. Do we want free markets, capitalizatiion and security or isolating ourselves from the world?

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