The Port Security
February 27, 2006
Many Americans are upset by the thought of a Dubai-based corporation running port operations in several major American cities. The company involved now has agreed to delay taking over those operations while the Bush administration and Congress settle their differences and address the ire of the American people.
nothing necessarily wrong with a company from the United Arab Emirates being
involved in U.S. port operations. After
all, Islamic terrorists have lived in many European countries, and nobody
suggests that E.U. corporations should be similarly disqualified.
this is not a matter of one foreign company buying another and taking over
existing operations in the United States. The
Dubai company, DP World, is owned by the government of the United Arab Emirates.
It is in essence an agent of a foreign government, which raises
questions: Does DP World truly
operate like any corporation, answering to a board of directors, serving
shareholders, and working to boost profitability?
Or does it serve the foreign policy and economic goals of the United Arab
is not a true free market transaction, but rather a marriage of multinational
corporate and state interests. And
surely the American people should have a say over foreign governments doing
business here, especially when that business affects port security.
important to note the administration did not bother to consult with Congress or
the state governors involved. The
Treasury department approved the purchase with no congressional oversight
whatsoever. While many applaud
unchecked presidential authority when it comes to war in Iraq, wiretapping, and
other national security matters, they now demand that Congress overturn a
unilateral administration decision. The
lesson learned is that everybody likes presidential power when they agree with
how itís used. When they donít,
they rediscover that the Constitution authorizes Congress to make policy after
also is an important statesí rights issue involved in this controversy. Why are Treasury department bureaucrats in Washington making
decisions about port security? Most
American ports are owned by U.S. states, cities, or local port authorities, not
the federal government. Do Treasury
department personnel 1500 miles away really know whatís best for the ports of
Galveston or Freeport?
I strongly support those governors who have indicated they do not intend to allow the federal government to dictate who will run their ports. I hope Texas state officials display the same determination and resist a potentially dangerous federal dictate regarding the operation of our ports.