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Tilting at Windmills

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February 23, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

THE NEXT PORT SCANDAL....Tomorrow's news today! When Dubai Ports World won its now infamous bid to acquire P&O, it beat out an offer by rival PSA International. PSA, which stands for "Port of Singapore Authority," is owned by the state of Singapore.

So what's next for PSA International? The Telegraph has the story:

[PSA head Eddie Teh] is now expected to take a serious look at Stevedoring Services, which has container terminals along the US West Coast and is one of the last remaining big players in the industry.

PSA already operates ports in four European countries, and if it acquires Stevedoring Services it will end up running terminal services in Seattle, Los Angeles, San Diego, Houston, Charleston, New Orleans, and a whole bunch of other U.S. cities.

So....how do we feel about a state-owned port operator taking control of terminals all over the United States? Singapore, after all, though nominally a democracy, is in reality a dynastic, authoritarian state. It has a sizable Muslim population of its own, and is surrounded by the predominantly Muslim countries of Malaysia and Indonesia, both of which are known to harbor al-Qaeda cells.

Are we OK with these guys running our ports? Just asking.....

Kevin Drum 12:55 AM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (62)

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Honestly?

I'm not okay with it. It worries me to have the government of a foreign power running something as important as our ports, even the government of a tiny city-state like Singapore.

It's the difference between having Toyota run our ports, and having the Japanese government run them.

Posted by: Mnemosyne on February 23, 2006 at 1:00 AM | PERMALINK

There is a large distinction between Singapore and UAE and you are disingenuous to imply otherwise.

It would be better to not outsource any security operations. But given the choice, sanity suggests avoiding a state-owned company when the state in question recognized the Taliban, has strong Wahabist tendencies, a history of turning a blind eye to child slavery, historical ties to Bin Laden, and many other not so nice things I am sure you have read recently. I for one am not willing to take any risk no matter how small to enrich Bush's cronies.

Posted by: Ba'al on February 23, 2006 at 1:09 AM | PERMALINK

Hmmm, I wonder when we're going to contract out the management of our military forces to a foreign government? Imperial Rome did come to rely on its auxiliaries (made up of non-Roman soldiers) to do the heavy fighting out in the provinces. Rome learned to its misery that wasn't such a good idea; so maybe the US will recall this little lesson in history.

Posted by: Taobhan on February 23, 2006 at 1:10 AM | PERMALINK

It has a sizable Muslim population of its own, and is surrounded by the predominantly Muslim countries of Malaysia and Indonesia, both of which are known to harbor al-Qaeda cells.

Are we OK with these guys running our ports? Just asking.....

Kevin Drum 12:55 AM Permalink | TrackBack (0) | Comments (1)

Geez. They sent troops to Iraq and had their helicopter pilots helping you in New Orleans. Now they are evil because they are surrounded by Muslims?

Why not ban France. Its got suburbs full of them?

Or the Brits, they have plenty of homegrown Muslims from more radical Pakistan and the Mid East.

This is just 'whites only' crap.

Posted by: McA on February 23, 2006 at 1:11 AM | PERMALINK

Waiting for you libs to give your next racist xenophobic rhetoric why foreign companies shouldn't be allowed to manage American ports. While conservatives believe business decisions should be made based on fairness and not anti-Muslim racism, liberals are trying to use fear mongering to scare Americans and win votes with their anti-Arab bigotry. Just another reason why liberals can never be trusted to govern this country.

Posted by: Al on February 23, 2006 at 1:14 AM | PERMALINK

Singapore has a notably tight rep.

Posted by: cld on February 23, 2006 at 1:15 AM | PERMALINK

One of the alarming aspects of this story is how few companies are actually in this business considering how many ports there are. And the trend seems to be that there will eventually be only one or two companies handling trade around the world. Does that sound like a good thing?

Posted by: Emma Zahn on February 23, 2006 at 1:16 AM | PERMALINK

I think it is a critical national security problem if a substantial portion of US ports are being operated by entities controlled by foreign states, particularly foreign states that are not liberal democracies and reliable, long-term allies of the United States.

I don't think the geographical location, or predominant race, ethnicity, or religion of the involved state matters.

There is a similar, but lesser, problem with non-state foreign concerns, with the same sensitivity to the kind of state they might owe allegiance too.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 23, 2006 at 1:20 AM | PERMALINK

Emma touches on something I've wondered about. If this is such a good business, why are there no American firms clamoring to manage American ports?

(Which is not to say American companies/employees couldn't be duped/suborned by terrorist lunatics.)

Posted by: Linkmeister on February 23, 2006 at 1:22 AM | PERMALINK

Well, they don't have any chewing gum there, so that is a big plus.

On the down side, they still haven't caned McAnus for being as stupid as he is. So I guess the jury is still out.

Posted by: craigie on February 23, 2006 at 1:23 AM | PERMALINK

c o r p o r a t e t a k e o v e r

bush cabal stays in power.

Posted by: Jones on February 23, 2006 at 1:23 AM | PERMALINK

If this is such a good business, why are there no American firms clamoring to manage American ports?

Because the American companies that do it have either been forced out of business by competition or bought out by foreign businesses.

Of course, many of those doing the buying are state owned foreign businesses that have artificial advantages in their home markets, being run by the government there, using profits derived from that special power to get toeholds in foreign markets.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 23, 2006 at 1:28 AM | PERMALINK

Yes, I have a problem with any foreign government being in what is potentially such a sensitive position. I may have more of a problem with the UAE, but its only a matter of degree.

Posted by: Jim on February 23, 2006 at 1:31 AM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: ee on February 23, 2006 at 1:32 AM | PERMALINK

Singapore is a majority Chinese ethnically, with substantial minorities of Malays (who are Moslem) and Indians (mostly Hindu).

Posted by: hopeless pedant on February 23, 2006 at 1:37 AM | PERMALINK

How about we just say no?

Posted by: ChetBob on February 23, 2006 at 2:27 AM | PERMALINK

I'm with RedDan on this one.
From a post earlier today:
1. Corporate ownership of critical infrastructure seems to me to be a bad idea in general. For example roads, bridges, and etc.

2. Foreign corporate ownership of that infrastructure seems to me to be a worse idea, specifically when it comes to accountability, accessibility, transparency, and etc.

3. Ownership by foreign state-owned corporations seems to be even worse (for example the recent CNOOC attempt to buy Unocal).

4. Ownership by foreign, state-owned corporations controlled by a government with deep ties to Wahabbist Saudi Arabia, that qualifies as a pretty insane oligarchy (I've been there, and it is weird), that recognized the Taliban, that at the least turned a blind eye to Al Qaeda financing operations, logistics, and personnel operations in their country...and may have deeper ties to either that organization or its sponsors (back to the Wahabbist issue)...seems spectacularly stupid.

It seems to me that for a bunch of chest beating, centrist "liberal hawks" to now side with President Bush on an issue that is tailor made for you centrist Hawks to bash BOTH the GOP and the liberal left with...is kinda funny.

Makes me think that you talk a lot about opposing Bush, but you really don't know WHY you oppose him, you can't seem to articulate any of the reasons, logic, rational basis, or historical reasons WHY Bush's policies are so insanely stupid...and so on.

Pathetic, really.
Posted by: RedDan on February 22, 2006 at 3:34 AM |

Posted by: ChetBob on February 23, 2006 at 2:34 AM | PERMALINK

Have you heard the Republican re-election slogan for 2006?

Welcome to "Everything FOR SALE" in the USA !!!
--

Posted by: Jay in Oregon on February 23, 2006 at 2:36 AM | PERMALINK

Welcome to "Everything FOR SALE" in the USA !!!
--

Posted by: Jay in Oregon

Wasn't that the motto of the Reagan/Watt US Dept. of the Interior?

Posted by: john manyjars on February 23, 2006 at 2:55 AM | PERMALINK

It seems as though the function of U.S. ports is primarily to serve as a landing point for products manufactured in Asia. Might as well let 'em run the port too.

Posted by: Eric on February 23, 2006 at 3:01 AM | PERMALINK

Hell no! I agree with RedDan, too.

I read somewhere in the past 24 hours (need to look for the link) that port operation takeovers by foreign companies escalated about ten years ago. I'd like to know how, why and who?

New Jersey Governor Corzine has asked his AG to file two lawsuits to stop Dubai from taking over Newark. He says the port deal violates his state sovereignty. That's one lawsuit. About the second lawsuit, Corzine says "...since the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey owns the property on which several elements of the port are located, that there's been a breach of contract on the transfer of ownership and so, we will go into court to break the lease so that those pieces of the port will not be able to be transferred at the time of the so-called merger." [Cite]

This issue isn't going to go away anytime soon. The locals in my area of Red State South are livid. Even Sen. Chambliss (R-GA), who normally blesses anything that comes out Bush's mouth, has taken a "let's wait and see" approach. Rep. Sue Myrick (R-NC) vehemently opposes the Dubai deal. And as has been reported, Frist (R-TN) called for a congressional review. Dubya Bubbas aren't happy. Oh, no. It's the outsourcing, stupid.

And speaking of Chambliss, this exchange between CNN's Blitzer and him is just plain wrong regarding congressional oversight (Exon-Florio):

BLITZER: You heard [Chertoff] defend the Bush administration's decision, Senator, to outsource, in effect, port handling at six major ports in the United States to a company based in the United Arab Emirates and part owned by the government of the United Arab Emirates. Are you comfortable with that decision?
CHAMBLISS: I would have to say at this point in time, Wolf, I'm not. You know, Congress does not have a direct oversight of decisions like this, but frankly, in a post-9/11 world we should be consulted in a very deliberate manner on this. [Emphasis added.] Cite
Dang, I miss Max Cleland. He served us honorably.

Dems have said they would introduce legislation to stop foreign companies from managing our ports. Will the Repubs fight it? Heh.


Posted by: Apollo 13 on February 23, 2006 at 3:09 AM | PERMALINK

If PSA were to propose a takeover of terminal facilities at American ports, at the least I would expect the executive branch either to obey the Exon-Florio provision and the Byrd Amendment or to just tell Congress: "Shove your stupid legislation. Trust us and shut up."

Posted by: Craig Nelson on February 23, 2006 at 3:27 AM | PERMALINK

And why is Singapore a dynasty? Because the Prime Minister's dad was also Prime Minister. Y'know like your President..........

There were some words exchanged between Lee Kuan Yew and a President Carter once on how America was the only country that demonised its friends
and made excuses for its enemies...

No change.

Posted by: McA on February 23, 2006 at 3:33 AM | PERMALINK

I fail to see how Singapore being surrounded by Muslim states is meaningful in any sense. Maybe it's a direct allusion to a thoughtless comment someone made earlier.

As for the question, how do I feel about outsourcing critical port infrastructure, I think it's pretty idiotic, and partly a result of an obsession with privatization and its so-called "efficiency" that in reality is trumped and outcompeted by state-supported businesses (whether port or Japanese automobile companies getting subsidies for producing energy-efficient and innovative cars).

This is what the Austrian economists have the hardest time understanding...we don't live in a perfect world. In theory, perfect free markets with perfect information may be the best, and embody the essence of liberalism, but meanwhile in the real world there are obvious impediments to free markets, and the flow of information leading to wise investment, while there are state actors who strategize and pour tax money into certain business enterprises to enhance their competitiveness and chance for success in the market.

Posted by: Jimm on February 23, 2006 at 3:55 AM | PERMALINK

Oh, and Kevin is obviously obsessed with this ports issue, even as President Bush has already begun a desperate faint and retreat. It's truly bizarre, especially from a guy who literally did not write anything on the Franklin/AIPAC indictment. Not one word.

Almost as if it didn't happen.

Posted by: Jimm on February 23, 2006 at 3:56 AM | PERMALINK

As for the question, how do I feel about outsourcing critical port infrastructure, I think it's pretty idiotic,
Posted by: Jimm on February 23, 2006 at 3:55 AM | PERMALINK

But why not notice when it was originally outsourced to a British Company?

Why wait until the 'brown' and now the 'yellow' buy?

Especially when the 'yellow' in this case is on your side in your wars.

Posted by: McA on February 23, 2006 at 4:16 AM | PERMALINK

"It has a sizable Muslim population of its own",

Define sizable -
From the CIA Worldbook -
Buddhist 42.5%, Muslim 14.9%, Taoist 8.5%, Hindu 4%, Catholic 4.8%, other Christian 9.8%, other 0.7%, none 14.8%

But of course they do execute people for drug smuggling....

Posted by: So be it.. on February 23, 2006 at 4:19 AM | PERMALINK

McA, I didn't bring it up.

And, for the record, I don't have a problem with strategic alliances with Western liberal democracies on critical infrastructure, though I would still prefer we handle this on our own, so we can apply our own due diligence, and would question, now that it has come up, why we would choose to do otherwise than handle our own critical infrastructure and security, at least in the homeland.

Posted by: Jimm on February 23, 2006 at 4:31 AM | PERMALINK

I'm uncomfortable with it yes. There is a distinction but I'm not sure it matters a whole lot here with the core idea.

Posted by: MNPundit on February 23, 2006 at 5:19 AM | PERMALINK

Jeebus, that's an analogue so tortured, you'd swear Kevin ran it through Abu Ghraib.

Put it this way, who do you think is less likely to stop an Al Qaeda flunky from abusing the ports service:

1.) One of the united emirates that thought that Bin Laden and the Taliban were such nice folk

-or-

2.) The Singaporean Morals Gestapo

Are you and Hugh that close to the radio deal, Kevin? You've been doing a bang up job of boning-up your Alan Colmes impersonation as of late.

Posted by: Dustbin Of History on February 23, 2006 at 5:36 AM | PERMALINK

"THE REAL PROBLEM....The real problem with our ports has very little to do with who runs the stevedoring operations. Instead, it's this: The administration's core problem at the ports, most experts agree, is how long it has taken for the federal government to set and enforce new security standards..."

Kevin Drum

Congratulations, with the help of the New York Times, you've stopped digging, you're just about out of the hole. Now put the second sentence above in front of the first sentence and ask yourself if the first sentence still makes policy sense. And you'll be where most of us, whom you called racists for opposing this deal, started.

Let me do it for you: "The administration's core problem at the ports, most experts agree, is how long it has taken for the federal government to set and enforce new security standards..." Now, do you still believe that there's no problem with who runs the stevedoring operations?

Good show. You've chased and caught your wonky tail. Better late than never.

Worst. Policy. And. Political. Instincts. EVER.

Posted by: Econo Buzz on February 23, 2006 at 6:13 AM | PERMALINK

of course they do execute people for drug smuggling....

Posted by: So be it.. on February 23, 2006 at 4:19 AM | PERMALINK

Isn't that a plus for a Port Manager. If one of theirs smuggles hash. Send him home, problem terminated...literally. I like Singapore's policy.

---------

Just noticed Kevin's kinda nuts lately.
His posts on this are all over the place.
In one post (Feb 22)he realised NOL (Singapore company) already runs one US port, then in one (Feb 23), its 'yellow peril' time because they have Muslim neighbours.

If you don't want anyone to buy America, don't sell it.

Next time you sell something put up a warning note, 'Whites only sale, this asset may not be sold to a non-white'.

Posted by: McA on February 23, 2006 at 6:16 AM | PERMALINK

why we would choose to do otherwise than handle our own critical infrastructure and security, at least in the homeland.

Posted by: Jimm on February 23, 2006 at 4:31 AM | PERMALINK

Kinda stupid to clear it for foreign sale then freak out once its sold by Brits to someone else.
Perhaps that's your position but the 'racist card' is being played here.

Posted by: McA on February 23, 2006 at 6:20 AM | PERMALINK

Not sure why anyone has a problem distinguishing between sale to a private company and sale to a government-owned company. The law certainly does. And in this case, before folks can even argue about whether or not the Bush Administration reached the correct decision about whether or not DP World's takeover of these port operations is a threat to national security the first question is "did they follow the proper review process?"

From what I've read they didn't. So forgive me if I'm not compelled by assertions that I'm racist or hypocritical, or hypothetical scenarios where some other company would be operating the ports. The basic issue is, this deal wasn't handled correctly. Add in the apparent crony capitalism and the concerns some folks have about terrorism, and the story is sexier . . . but at the heart of it basic due dilligence was not done.

So enough with the smoke and mirrors. How I feel about the UAE isn't the issue.

Posted by: William on February 23, 2006 at 7:18 AM | PERMALINK

Government owned company is kinda grey in Singapore.

The state pension fund buys shares not just bonds. Kinda like saying a company with shares held by CALPERS is a California run company.

I'm just pointing out that the implication here by Kevin is that a sale to a non-British company has a different security criteria than some other sale.


Posted by: McA on February 23, 2006 at 7:35 AM | PERMALINK

Come on Kevin, surely you can do better? I'm a reader from Singapore, and I've found much of what you usually write to be pretty cogent. But please. Spare us your condescending cliches about Singapore being some "dynastic, authoritatian state". That's so 1970s. So you don't want foreign ownership of your port. So you don't want to deal with countries that - omigod! - might have a Muslim minority (15% in Singapore's case). So maybe other countries should reject US investments as well, citing security concerns. Surely having US companies might make them more vulnerable to terrorism.

Come on. Globalization is a two-way street. And how often does the point need to be made that the US itself retains full security rights over American ports, regardless of the port operator. If an international company takes over the running of Washington's Reagan and Dulles airports, does that mean that they supplant the TSA? Of course not.

So spare us these ugly, nativist ruminations about perfidious Muslims and evil foreigners. You hit out at Bush administration foreign policy often. But how the hell are you going to win over more friends over if you choose to attack the friends that you already have, of which Singapore is definitely one.

And by the way, if Malaysia and Indonesia harbour Al-Qaeda cells, then I guess Britain's P&O should have been kicked out earlier. There are many proven Al-Qaeda cells in the UK. Hmmm..come to think of it, there are Al-Qaeda cells in the northern Midwest of the US as well...

Look, let's just examine the merits of the Dubai Ports World case calmly, without resorting to crude simplications about other countries and peoples.

Posted by: Dvorak on February 23, 2006 at 7:50 AM | PERMALINK

Are we OK with these guys running our ports? Just asking.....

Hey, if the upshot of this whole event is that America decides that it wants public goods, in particular security-related public goods, to be owned by the public, that can't be all bad.

Posted by: dj moonbat on February 23, 2006 at 8:03 AM | PERMALINK

Kevin, still stomping for Bush? Cause that's what you're doing. If it's true there's nothing to be gained for Dem's by being against that deal, well, pls explain to us what may be won by promoting it, thus making the case for Bush? Really, is it in the best interest of the Dem's to lessen the pressure that's on administration now? Isn't it idiotic to join the gang of the most steadfast Bush followers for this fight? Wouldn't it then be better not to discuss the topic at all? Imho your stance on this issue is the most dumb, Lieberman-like bipartisan approach of all. You may feel holier for loudmouthly hooting your opinion, but pls remember that this is a one way street and you won't ever get any niceties back from the repubs.

Posted by: Gray on February 23, 2006 at 8:06 AM | PERMALINK

"Look, let's just examine the merits of the Dubai Ports World case calmly, without resorting to crude simplications about other countries and peoples."

Right! Imho this is the way Dem's should go. Talk about the facts, for example what security concerns may arise if an infiltrator gains access to port operating informations. Will it affect security? If yes, what additional safeguards are needed to deal with it? How about the staff of DP World, will their background be checked? The Bush administration has put some obligations into the deal with DP W, are they sufficient?

For god's sake, the Dems made homeland security and especially port security a topic in 2004! Should they simply shut up now or should they push for better safeguards, like Kerry did in his campaign? Won't the public think the Dems haven't been serious about that when liberals go mum now?

Most important of all, make an important point out of the fact that this is another cases of unnecessary, over-the-top secrecy of the WH. Play the state card, port states had a reasonable interest to be heard in this deal. Just don't simply repeat Bush arguments that will stabilise his position now!

Posted by: Gray on February 23, 2006 at 8:22 AM | PERMALINK

McA: Next time you sell something put up a warning note, 'Whites only sale, this asset may not be sold to a non-white'.

That's kooky and unfounded. Prove your argument with evidence, please.

Perhaps that's your position but the 'racist card' is being played here.

No, you are the one playing the racist card, little wingnut. Gotta a quote and a link to prove your inflammatory nonsense? Nah, you don't. You don't do proof. You parrot Limbaugh.

Digby points out Rush Limbaugh"s and the Right's Dems are racists meme is ridiculous and hypocritical. Rush called Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), "Dick Turban," for criticizing Gitmo prison abuse. And check the creepy picture! Another Limbaugh example:

[Reading from AP report] "One detainee wrapped in an Israeli flag, some were shackled hand and foot in fetal positions for 18 to 24 hours, forcing them to soil themselves." Ugh! I thought they did that anyway over there.
Be careful, McA. You're wagging a finger at red-state Southerners living in the burbs and especially in rural areas, a stronghold of Bush's base. Tolerance and diversity can be found in southern college towns and urban areas but outside of the metros in the South, anti-Arab, anti-Muslim, and racial POVs rise dramatically.

The city of Atlanta where I live, the nexus for the civil rights movement and the MLK Center, votes Dem and is extremely tolerant and ethnically diverse with a huge creative class that includes immigrants from around the world. But we still have the occasional racial slurs and KKK graffiti painted on African-American homes in suburbia and rural areas where voters go for Repubs.

As usual, you're acting mean and stupid. For an alleged Christian, you express a lot of hatred for liberals and speak untruths about 'em, too. But I forgive you. : )

Posted by: Apollo 13 on February 23, 2006 at 8:33 AM | PERMALINK

Singapore ranks number 1 in most business surveys for lack of corruption in public, quality of public administration, bureaucratic accountability in policy making, and transparency of public institions. (See, e.g., the latest Global Competitiveness Report.) Simply put, anything run by the government of Singapore is the gold standard. And yes, I know, its a neo-authoritarian semi-democracy.

Posted by: Matt on February 23, 2006 at 8:47 AM | PERMALINK

"Digby points out Rush Limbaugh"s and the Right's Dems are racists meme is ridiculous and hypocritical."

Correct! That's the same old trick as shouting 'anti semit' when someone is critizising Sharon (may God bless him and forgive him, I won't). This issue isn't about Muslims in general, this is, or at least should be, about the real people behind DP World, if they are trustworthy and if they implement the necessary safeguards to block a terrorist infiltration of their company.

Posted by: Gray on February 23, 2006 at 8:57 AM | PERMALINK

Dvorak: I think you missed the tone of Kevin's post, which was not entirely serious. He is not actually worried or aggrieved that a state-owned company from Singapore is operating American ports; there is a sense of irony to his post which your response implies did not convey itself to you.

Admittedly, he's not being entirely flippant, either; all the points he raises are valid ones. But the take-away is that the Dubai Ports World deal is not a particularly big deal, rather than that we should re-evaluate allowing Stevedoring Services to operate American ports.

And, I'm not trying to be offensive, but Singapore is a "dynastic, authoritarian state". It's certainly evolving away from that model, as have South Korea and Taiwan (and Japan). But the fact remains that the PAP has run the country since independence, utterly controls (and politically censors) the media, and takes steps to quash opposition that are considered completely out-of-bounds in a pluralistic democracy.

Posted by: S Ra on February 23, 2006 at 9:05 AM | PERMALINK

While we're at it, let's outsource our Border Patrol operations and DEA operations to a privatized version of the Mexican National Police.

Perhaps some Italian contractor can take over the operations of the FBI.

I'd go Spanish for CIA operations. And Columbian for NYPD operations. We're losing money on all these statist, socialized service industries.

Posted by: tom on February 23, 2006 at 10:01 AM | PERMALINK

And are there no American companies who want to run these ports? Not that we can only trust American companies, but it seems odd that we have to job this out at all if there are so many people looking for work. Do we not have the expertise? What gives?

Posted by: Holly on February 23, 2006 at 10:18 AM | PERMALINK

I'd go Spanish for CIA operations. And Columbian for NYPD operations. We're losing money on all these statist, socialized service industries.
Posted by: tom

But what about our dear 'allies' in China? Can't shut the Chinese outta the deal or someone will jump up and call you a xenophobic racist hate-monger.

Besides they already essentially hold the mortgage to the whole place don't they?

Posted by: CFShep on February 23, 2006 at 10:19 AM | PERMALINK

Just a consideration:

In contracting with corporations, our government goes out of its way by billions of dollars to ensure other industries critical to national security remain home-based. Think of Boeing / Lockheed, think of the need to support more than one manufacturer of submarines/battleships to retain faux-competitiveness in the contracts. Think of the export controls on Windows and (IIRC) Mac G4 chips!

I didn't understand why such a non-footloose industry as port management would be competitively contracted outside the country, and the reasoning coming back seems to be all American companies that specialized in that either failed or got bought out. OK. Would we allow a foreign government to buy-out Boeing? Would our government allow Boeing to fail?

Posted by: random on February 23, 2006 at 10:27 AM | PERMALINK

McA: This is just 'whites only' crap.

Then we should be ok with Arabs, because Arabs are white. So much for your highly selective sensitivity to racial issues.

I propose that we outsource to a racially, ethnicly and religiously diverse country - The United States of America.

Posted by: alex on February 23, 2006 at 11:35 AM | PERMALINK

Short answer: American ports should be run by Americans.

Crazy idea, I know.

--

That Kevin and McAnus are on the same side here, using similar smear techniques and insinuations makes things pretty clear.

Time to ditch the bookmark.

Posted by: Tim B. on February 23, 2006 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

Dynastic, authoritarian state. Isn't that about what Bush is turning us into?

Posted by: MDS on February 23, 2006 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK
The state pension fund buys shares not just bonds. Kinda like saying a company with shares held by CALPERS is a California run company.

If I was a foreign government whose ideology wasn't in line with California's, I wouldn't want a company largely controlled by CalPERS -- which periodically can be a very active shareholder -- to be responsible for my critical infrastructure, either.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 23, 2006 at 12:29 PM | PERMALINK

I'm surprised by how many posters treated Kevin's query as if it were intellectually honest. In fact it is a snarky, disingenuous way for him to further spread Bush's slander that those who oppose the Dubai transaction are racists.

Posted by: athos on February 23, 2006 at 12:52 PM | PERMALINK

...next racist xenophobic rhetoric why foreign companies shouldn't be allowed to manage American ports...

NO private commercial enterprise should be owning, operating, or managing ANY of our infrastructure, foreign or otherwise. What happens when they do, is critical maintenance spending is curtailed to avoid hurting their profits.

But when it's necessary, then the privatizing agency should be contracting to a company that "lives and works" within the jurisdiction of that agency, city, state, country, etc. That way, at least the profits stay local, and benefit the community. Anything else is a rip-off of the workers for the benefit of investors.

Posted by: Tom Marshall on February 23, 2006 at 1:03 PM | PERMALINK

Al check your e-mail,In case you have not noticed the right is also against this move. The President is all alone on this one.Good God keep up with your talking points.

Posted by: Ahmadd Bacrad on February 23, 2006 at 1:56 PM | PERMALINK


Are we OK with foreign companies running our ports?

I'm not. What is wrong with american companies running american ports with government security services. We will have more american jobs , better security , and the money being made by the buisness owning the port would be more taxable and stay in America. If the U.S. continues to outsource everything we will be a third world country before long.

Posted by: Pablo on February 23, 2006 at 2:58 PM | PERMALINK

"This is just 'whites only' crap."
Posted by: McA on February 23, 2006 at 1:11 AM | PERMALINK


I wouldn't want Russia or Ukraine or Israel or any number of other countries to run our ports. Is that racist?

Stop the fake racism meme. It's pure nonsense.

Posted by: MarkH on February 23, 2006 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

A UAE company running our port operations?

Wow, considering that 18% of the UAE population thinks Osama bin Laden is their most admired world leader, I'm thinking on that alone its not such a wise idea.

But hey, maybe if we give them this business we will win over their hearts and minds and this number will drop to say, 15%?


Posted by: Rhythmwize on February 23, 2006 at 3:41 PM | PERMALINK

Dynastic, authoritarian state. Isn't that about what Bush is turning us into?

Posted by: MDS on February 23, 2006 at 12:26 PM | PERMALINK

Exactly, so why bust Singapore's bones. Someone helped his son get elected and got his wife on a good company board role. At least it was just one son and he didn't make his wife a Senator...

------------

Stop the fake racism meme. It's pure nonsense.

Posted by: MarkH on February 23, 2006 at 3:09 PM | PERMALINK

The company was already in foreign hands. British.
I agree that the Brits differ from Dubai in its support.

But if you look at the Singapore involement in Iraq and East Timor. Per capita its carrying more weight than the UK....And its the South East Asian ally acting as the lynchpin of your supply chain to Afghanistan. Where do you think your aircraft carriers stop to refuel?

The difference between a British company and a Singapore company is white skin.

Kevin's Muslim neighbour excuse is just an excuse for racism.

I've noticed liberals suffer from 'yellow peril' syndrome more than conservatives. Conservatives are so busy hating black and latino interest groups then the yellow seems pretty well behaved and heavily capitalist.

Posted by: McA on February 23, 2006 at 6:00 PM | PERMALINK
The company was already in foreign hands. British.

The company was not in the hands of a foreign government. And, even if it had been in the hands of the British Government, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland is (unlike, say, Dubai or Singapore) a liberal democratic state and (unlike, again, Dubai or Singapore) very much a longtime ally of the United States and a state whose strategic interests can generally be expected to be consonant with those of the United States.

So, race aside, the cases aren't even remotely parallel.

But if you look at the Singapore involement in Iraq and East Timor. Per capita its carrying more weight than the UK....And its the South East Asian ally acting as the lynchpin of your supply chain to Afghanistan. Where do you think your aircraft carriers stop to refuel?

Newport News Shipyard. Which is, I suppose, not quite as far from Singapore as you can get and still be on the same planet, but its not all that easily mistaken for Singapore, either.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 23, 2006 at 6:53 PM | PERMALINK

I have to say that when I heard PSA had lost out in this deal, I thought, "damn, they should have let singapore run our ports!" whatever the flaws of singapore's political system there is one thing they do better than any country I have ever been in: deliver government services without corruption or bungling. seriously, you don't have to love the Lees to recognize that they kick ass in this respect. and you couldn't find a country less likely to conspire with bin laden.

Posted by: belle waring on February 23, 2006 at 9:49 PM | PERMALINK

Those from Singapore will have a better idea of how to communicate and deal with the Chinese, who will own us by the time we can evict Bush from the Oval Office, so what's the matter with that?

Posted by: Biil Arnett on February 24, 2006 at 4:41 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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