S/SW blog philosophy -

I credit favorite writers and public opinion makers.

A lifelong Democrat, my comments on Congress, the judiciary and the presidency are regular features.

My observations and commentary are on people and events in politics that affect the USA or the rest of the world, and stand for the interests of peace, security and justice.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Foreign Management of Seaports-an explanation

We are all scratching our heads about this -
There has to be a rational explanation for the most recent bone-headed decisions of OCP (our current president). The administration has decided that the United Arab Emerates could do a better job of overseeing many of our largest seaports than could any American company.

It must be stubbornness - OCP is willing to veto any legislation to stop the planned sales transaction of the British company currently in charge. Mimi Hall at USA Today reports that,

President Bush threatened Tuesday to veto any attempt to block a deal allowing an Arab company to take over operations at six major U.S. seaports, despite overwhelming opposition to the plan from congressional leaders, governors and mayors.
"This is a company that has played by the rules, that has been
cooperative with the United States, a country that's an ally in the war on
terror," Bush said. "It would send a terrible signal to friends and allies not
to let this transaction go through." But Republican leaders in Congress and elected officials from New York to Miami said the deal with Dubai Ports World, a company owned by the United Arab Emirates, could jeopardize national security.
He must be following some plan. That is the only thing that could account for the irrationality of his current course on the port question. I looked to my archives and found a post (see *Reference below) early in January that gave me some clues about what plan might be in place. The USA Today article discussed some ideas for OCP that would help get through 2006. A strategic plan, according to the article, would include these approaches.
How is it going so far with this particular port security issue? (bold=January strategy)
  • Start fast - a clear majority of all the American people cannot keep up with this decision. It has everyone shaking their heads. It seems crazy and stupid. And is causing a firestorm of protest.
  • Stay aggressive - Threatening to veto legislation pertaining to it, when OCP has yet to veto anything, is pretty agressive. We could predict that it would be overridden in the current climate. "How's that working for you?" as Dr. Phil would say.
  • Bring the troops home from Iraq, or keep them safer - since this potential diminishment of security also pertains to military shipments, it doesn't seem like a clear winner on this front either.
  • Talk up the economy - a business move benefiting the economy of the UAE (a foreign nation, not a U.S. firm) does not seem to fit in with this part of the plan. How on earth would this benefit our domestic economy? Out-sourcing it to the Brits dosn't do it either, by the way.
  • Scale back big promises - This would certainly fit in with scaling back on national security-- the original idea was to enhance security against potential terrorist attacks via our big ports. Very little done since 9/11 by this administration has made us more secure against terrorists.
  • Keep the Republican family together - This is not working too well. The Republican Leadership may actually decide to introduce new laws to prohibit such a port management deal from going through. That would not signal togetherness.

The January plan was a bad idea. Get a new plan, Mr. President, like really caring what happens to us, being sensible, keeping fewer secrets, and abiding by the law.
*Reference: My previous post on the Bush Administration focused on a USA Today article (1-6-06) by David Jackson and Susan Page.
My post today at Southwest Blogger is about the future of libraries.

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