Quick Take: Bush and the Ports

There are always two sides to everything so I've decided to take the middle road with this one. Considering that port security is an issue beyond that national origins of the folks running the joint, I find this debate rather funny. After years of complaining about the lack of security in our ports, Congress and the administration still have not developed a viable plan or allocated the necessary resources to inspect all of the containers that enter our ports. Then there is the reality that a British company controlled the ports in question so they can't argue foreign control over our ports.

With that said, I can't blame them for crying foul when the administration decides it wants to sell the control over port to a United Arab Emirates corporation. Bush claimed they were partners in the war on terror, but this is the same company that arranged shipments of nuclear material to Iran and Lybia. They arrange the shipment of North Korean warheads to Middle Eastern countries. They balked at allowing the US to investigate the money trail that went through the UAE to finance the 9/11 highjackers. So, I'm not convinced that this is a company that should control major ports in the US.

And now it is coming out that Bush didn't even know about the deal until after it was approved. Seriously, should we really trust this man's judgment. For him to defend this without even knowing the details is ridiculous. Ok, that's my rant on this. I just think Congress should look into this and I wouldn't be mad at them if they decided to not allow this to take place. In fact, it would be nice to see an independent branch of government in action. Bush hasn't vetoed a single bill in five years, I'd like to see him do so with this and have it overruled by the Congress. That would be poetic justice and solidify his lame duck status.

Discussion Starter:

1. Should we allow foreign nations, friendly or otherwise to control areas that are sensitive to national security?

2. Should Congress pass a bill not allowing this transaction to take place?

3. What do you think of Congress not falling in line with the President and moving forward even with the threat of a veto?


7 Responses to Quick Take: Bush and the Ports

  1. Timmer Says:
    The debate over whether or not foreign companies should be allowed to control ports is tough. The yes side has precedence, while the no side makes one look like an uber-patriot. I think you are on to something when you say that if the prez does go through with a veto, there is a great possibility that he will be overruled by congress. How this plays out politically seems to be more interesting. This could be the next Harriet Meirs-tpye blow for the prez that he might not recover from, no matter how hard he tries to please us moderates by pushing alternative energy. However, it is hard to see this going to Congress.

    I agree in that I would not mind if Congress did not allow this to take place, but it is hard to see that happening given the globalization trend that our economy is seeing. As usual, the precedence argument will most likely be the victor; many ports are indeed run by foreign companies and function safely. In all likelihood, this issue will fade into obscurity as fast as the Terry Shaivo event last year.

    Basically, I think if it does go to Congress, we can expect some major political fireworks and shaming of the administration. However, it seems more likely that the deal will go through easily even after the major publisizing of the issue.

    No matter how ridiculous the prez's viewpoint on a situation, he always seems to come out fairly unscathed.

    Great blog, by the way...I have become a large fan after stumbling upon the 'Christian cuss-out kit.'
  2. James Manning Says:

    glad you enjoy the blog. and i think you are on point. this is a winner for both sides because the logic in the argument makes sense. the reality of the world economy is such that foreign corporation will control important parts of our economy. however, cogress should question this deal and ask for more information.

    for congress it is a winner because the argument is national security and that will always play well. even for dems because the right can't play it as a partisan issue. rebublicans win because they get to tear away at the umbilical cord and say 'see, we're not a rubber stamp for the president'. the president wins because the economic realities in his argument are just.

    it will probably go through but at least some changes will be made to up the security concerns. so some good will come from this.
  3. NEO, SOC Says:
    1. Should we allow foreign nations, friendly or otherwise to control areas that are sensitive to national security?

    No! No! No! and No!

    2. Should Congress pass a bill not allowing this transaction to take place?

    Yes! Yes! Yes! and Yes!

    3. What do you think of Congress not falling in line with the President and moving forward even with the threat of a veto?

    They need to block this or arm every American! Which one do you think will be easier?
  4. Timmer Says:
    I do agree...I am inclined to believe that more good than bad will come from all of this.
  5. Dave Miller Says:
    Hey James,

    I posted a short thought on this last night but here is my central thinking that I believe people are missing. Your question was on point! Should we allow foreign governments to run our ports? Everyone is saying a company from the UAE, but that company is owned by the government. So the answer is no!

    timmer, you got caught like a lot of the radio people and others and missed the government issue involved here. An independant company is one thing, but that is simply not the case here.

    As for a veto, it won't go that far. Just like the sale of Cosco Oil to a Chinese interest, there will be a backroom deal to shut it down and make peace.
  6. stuffle Says:
    The NYT has an excellent article on this here.

    I think the most important paragraph in the whole thing is this:

    The deal would transfer the leases for ports in New York, Baltimore and Miami, among others, from a British-owned company to one controlled by the government of Dubai, part of the United Arab Emirates. But the security of the ports is still the responsibility of Coast Guard and Customs officials. Foreign management of American ports is nothing new, as the role already played by companies from China, Singapore, Japan, Taiwan and trading partners in Europe attests

    My own thoughts on this is that, while this should be looked at closely (and I trust that Bush's administration has done this), I think there are members of congress on both sides who are blowing this all out of proportion for strictly political reasons.

    Personally, I would not mind if congress wanted to further investigate this. However, that is only so long as they are not being obstructionist for no reason.
  7. Bloviating Zeppelin Says:
    Bush may in fact not have known. In many ways he's only as good as his surrounding cabinet and staff. I may be a stupid supervisor at work, but I know who to put in charge of what shit to make my ass look good. And sometimes I'm only as good as the input I receive -- and who filters it for me. Woe be to me if I surround myself with sycophants.

    Despite that, and despite the Democrats taking this issue and using it against Bush simply because of its Contrarian nature, I have to agree with the Dems:

    Overall a bad idea.

    See this to understand why.