For the last month, there has been much talk about the idea of a foreign company managing the ports in America. I must admit, I was surprised to hear than any of our ports were being managed by companies from foreign countries. But when word got out that Dubai was awarded the contract to secure a number of east coast ports, I was puzzled at the reaction. The beliefs of most Americans seem to be the best way to manage the ports was to do it with companies here in America.
The fact of the matter is that foreign companies do not mean less security and US companies don't assure total protection. So was the Dubai contract all the bad of an idea? Why did the opposition rise up when the word got out? Was it an issue of prejudice? Was it that an Arab company owned by an Arab country was going to be responsible for security when it was terrorist from the Middle East that started this whole mess?
The contract was originally awarded in part because the country had been such good allies during the "war against terror". It would have been a nice gesture but I don't think that Americans are ready for that. The national pride that was rekindled on September 11, 2001 was not going to surrender to anything or anyone that appeared to be the same nationality, race, or geographic area as the attackers. I'm not sure when this will change but 4 ½ years is not enough time for most people.
Now if the idea of the Dubai company managing the ports was payback to an ally, that is one thing. However, if this company really could do a better job in securing than anything we have done to date, we would be foolish to have anyone else do it, including a company from home. We should get the best company possible to secure the ports, borders or anything else, regardless what part of the world they come from. We should simply ask ourselves:
1. Can we do the job with an American company without sacrificing our main goals?
2. If so, award the contract. If not, find a company that can do the job with our best interest in mind.
The people of the country sent a loud NO to Congress and Congress, in a rare moment, listened to the people. Maybe they should have listened. Maybe not. But either way, the entire event found itself in the loss column for President Bush. This may be one of those events that become a turning point for the administration. The problem for the president is that a turning point for the negative at this point of his second term could make him a "lame duck".
We can only wait and see. And while we wait, let's find someone who can do the job of security better than what we have now.