Feb 262006
Authors: Ben Bleckley

More than ten days ago Dubai Ports World, a company based in the United Arab Emirates, won a bid to take over the British company that operates six major ports in the United States.

Sunday, due to uproar from bipartisan leadership in Congress, the company asked the Bush administration to conduct a 45-day review of how the takeover could affect national security, according to the Washington Post.

Both the Department of the Treasury and Treasury Secretary John Snow approved the deal before it took place.

It's as if the mention of the word "Arab" is enough to excite any representative eager for reelection into using phrases such as "immediate security review" and "compromising national security."

At every United States port, the U.S. Coast Guard is charged with security for any persons entering the country, and the U.S. Customs service monitors all cargo entering the country. This would not change at the six ports DP World is taking over.

In fact, according to National Public Radio's Adam Davidson, the majority of American ports are run by foreign companies. Of the 100 terminals at the 15 major ports, SSA Marine, the largest United States based port operator, controls seven of them.

For U.S. based companies to operate all of the U.S. terminals is close to impossible. According to National Public Radio, it would either require current U.S.-based companies, such as SSA Marine, to grow ten times their current size, or other U.S.-based companies would have to learn the complex business of port operations.

Many U.S. terminals are already operated by foreign companies, many with close ties to their respective governments. Almost all the terminals in the Port of Los Angeles are controlled by a Singapore-based company, and two other major ports are controlled by companies with close ties to the Chinese government, according to NPR.

Furthermore, DP World's operations in North America will continue to be overseen by an employee of the company DP World is buying. Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company's chief executive, who will oversee North American operations, is British.

So it would seem that this uproar is more in respect to the fact that DP World is a country from a Middle Eastern nation, not because there is a serious security threat, or that this deal is in anyway out of the ordinary.

Members of Congress on both sides of party lines are inflating this issue as a chance to take hits at the President and show just how "tough" they can be on national security.

It is shameful, corporate racial profiling

Ben Bleckley is a senior majoring in English. His column runs every Monday in the Collegian.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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