Tuesday, July 04, 2006

The patriotism of foreign owned ports

As an outside observer I followed the recent debate in the USA and here are my facts and my conclusion.

Fact 1: A port is a national security asset that cannot really be shipped away.

Fact 2:
Probably, as usual, the owner of the port is the last to know about what is happening. At least check the management.

Fact 3:
The real security controls are in the hands of government, coastguards and workers.

Fact 4:
If something happened in a port and the management company was American there would most probably be no major consequences but, if the management company belonged to UAE, then all hell would break loose and they could easily lose all their investment. Therefore, because of how real life economic incentives are lined up, perhaps foreign owners have a larger interest in the security of the ports than the locals.

Fact 5:
Any money not invested in the ownership of a port is money available for investment in other things that from a national security angle could be much, much worse, like paying off with much less money those real traitors that always have a price.

Fact 6:
Also a real security issue with a port is that it operates efficiently, in economic terms.

It is always sad to see whenever and wherever patriotism stands in the way of good and effective patriotism.