The Nation's Take On The Ports Deal
POSTED ON 2/21/2006 | PERMALINK |
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There are two fundamental facts about corporations that put this controversy about who runs the ports in perspective.This is an opportunity to deal with the fact that private ownership of ports is not in the interest of national security. Anyone who fails to frame the issue with these terms will do a disservice to themselves and their cause.
First: Like most American firms, most Arab-owned firms are committed to making money, and the vast majority of them are not about to compromise their potential profits by throwing in with terrorists.
Second: Like most American firms, Arab-owned firms are more concerned about satisfying shareholders than anything else. As such, they are poor stewards of ports and other vital pieces of the national infrastructure that still require the constant investment of public funds, as well as responsible oversite by authorities that can see more than a bottom line, in order to maintain public safety -- not to mention the public good of modern, efficient transportation services.
The Bush Administration isn't particularly misguided in this specific case. However, it is terribly misguided in its handling of all port-related national security issues. One could easily argue that, aside from the unreasonably strong support of this sale, they haven't done a single thing to protect U.S. ports since 9/11. And whether right or wrong, winners or losers, I have a feeling the White House is going to regret bringing this topic to the discussion table. I'm not entirely sure those opposing it will come out smelling so fresh and so clean either.
But I'm glad we're talking about it.
Filed in: politics