Thursday, February 23, 2006
Port Operations: Another Perspective.
Thanks to Ken Kaniff for alerting me to the following Washington Post article written by Harold Meyerson yesterday. Excerpt:
We're selling our harbors to an Arab government. Our biggest Internet companies are complicit in the Chinese government's censorship of information and suppression of dissidents. Welcome to American capitalism in the age of globalization.
Here the market rules. National security and freedom of speech are all well and good, but they are distinctly secondary concerns when they bump up against our highest national purpose, which is maximizing shareholder value.
Meyerson goes on to outline some of the business practices in which the U.S. has engaged with other countries, and notes, not without some irony, that some of these nations conduct themselves in ways that are the direct opposite of the notions of freedom and democracy that we claim to promote. Sadly, Meyerson notes, that is now just the price of doing business these days.
But, as Mr. Kaniff pointed out, this issue "is at the nexus of national security and trade policy". As such, it is forcing people, or should be forcing people, to examine both subjects to see where the lines blur/intersect. How does free trade affect national security? Is there a calculus to show an acceptable amount of risk for doing business on an international stage? These are questions that must be considered, but I fear this administration would either never have thought about them in this light, or, simply would have ignored them completely if these notions had been brought to their collective attention.
I have a feeling that this may be a political ploy of some type to see how many Republicans fall in line with the President as opposed to how many oppose him. Likewise for the Democrats. The 2006 mid-term elections are closing in, and, if, as I suspect, a majority of Americans do not want this transaction to succeed, then the fate of legislators for both parties will likely depend on where they stand on this issue. That may be obvious to some, but I think it may very well be a hidden variable in the equation that makes up this deal.