Tuesday, February 21, 2006


A Little Port and Sherry

In the news recently there have been many critical opinions of the administration and their choice on Port Security. The governors in many states have been 'up in arms' over these choices.

For those unaware of the story, it has to deal with a company called Dubai Ports World and their purchase of London-based Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company. That London-based company runs commercial operations in New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia. The issue is that Dubai Ports World is owned by the United Arab Emirates government, which is a league of Arab nations. Obviously you can see the problems people have with this sort of decision.

On the other hand, it would be interesting to see if the profit motive is a greater incentive than religious extremism. If I am not mistaken, that is the sort of approach that DeSoto recommended to rid the world of terrorism -- encouraging prosperity and profit. I hope we continue in this direction, so that we can find out a better approach to fighting terrorist activities and in the same steps, aid relations with other nations.

You make a good point Chris, which I believe reveals the importance of deteriming the root causes (if any) of terrorism. And among the possibilities we have to chose from, none of them look pretty.

If terrorism is primarily a function of poverty (like Desoto seems to think), then the best way to fight terrorism is through figting poverty in middle eastern countries. But this is almost impossible without a change in the institutional structure of those countries. Not a quick or easy thing to change.

If the problem is religious fundamentalism and cultural funamentalism rationally targeted at specific U.S. policies (like Schuber(sp?) argues in "Imperial Hubris"), then the only root we have available to cut is our own mid-east policies. Otherwise we must defend them through prolonged force. Neither option is very encouraging.

If terrorists are irrational and attacking America for "its freedom", then we are screwed. We can only either change our way of life or fight 'em when we see 'em. Thre would be no other root to target.

No matter how you slice it, fighting terrorism is going to be a very very difficult task.
I don't think Muslim extremists like capitalism at all. Just a hunch.
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