Archive: U.S. Foreign Policy

They're Selling Uranium to Hu?

Chinese President Hu Jintao's visit to Washington yesterday reminded me of a deal Australia struck earlier this month to open up its vast uranium supply to Chinese consumption. Even though the full impact of the deal won't be felt for at least another few years, Aussies have jumped right into a fierce debate over nuclear energy. Some think Australia should give in and hop aboard the nuclear energy bandwagon. Others wonder whether they'd be best off following the example of New Zealand -- a country whose anti-nuclear policy is so hardcore that it once banned U.S. vessels with nuclear cargo from transiting through its waters. Specifically because of the China-uranium deal, Australians are facing conflicts between state and federal interests and arguing over just how far their dealings with non-democratic countries should go. But just as U.S. concerns over human rights violations in China tend not to stand in the...

By Emily Messner | April 21, 2006; 05:37 AM ET | Comments (113)

What Mexico Would Do for Guest Workers

In a meeting at the Post yesterday afternoon, Mexico's Minister for Governance, Carlos Abascal, stressed the importance of creating a viable program for guest workers. Secretario Abascal explained that in order for such a system to function as intended, Mexico would need to provide incentives for laborers to return home, including guarantees of: * medical care * pension * housing * social development programs That makes perfect sense. My only criticism would be that setting up such incentives in Mexico sounds like more of a long-term project, while the Mexican government and at least some Senators are pushing for a guest worker program to be implemented now. Secretario Abascal also advocated finding a solution to the problem of undocumented Mexican workers in the United States that would not provoke "any significant demographic adjustments" (words of translator). He noted that many illegal immigrants in the United States have been working here...

By Emily Messner | March 24, 2006; 09:21 AM ET | Comments (68)

Alienating Our Arab Allies

"The nativist opposition to the port deal ... [throws] a wrench into the workings of globalisation while declaring that people's background matters more than anything else," writes Gideon Rose in a subscription-only piece in the Financial Times. As we've discussed here quite a bit in recent days, plenty of other foreign-owned and foreign government-owned companies operate in the United States, in industries considered intertwined with our national security -- aviation, cargo transport and even defense. Up until a couple weeks ago, objections to these arrangements were few and far between. The furor of animosity to foreign ownership arose only when a Middle Eastern company tried to get in the game, and that glaring contradiction worsens America's image in the rest of the world. An FT news story supports that conclusion, reporting that "among top Arab businessmen, many of whom are U.S.-educated, there is a strong sense that the backlash...

By Emily Messner | March 3, 2006; 04:57 PM ET | Comments (161)

* Ever Visited Dubai, Senator?

Kristof's statement led me to wonder just how many of the Dubai Ports World deal's vocal opponents have actually visited Dubai .......

By Emily Messner | March 3, 2006; 04:56 PM ET | Comments (22)

Is Foreign Government Ownership Necessarily Bad?

"The ferocity of United States legislators' opposition to a United Arab Emirates company gaining control of a number of key American ports is getting out of control," editorializes Singapore's Straits Times. The editorial asks what might have happened had Singapore's PSA, Dubai Ports World's major competitor for British port operator P&O, won the bidding war. PSA is the world's third-largest port operator, a division of Temasek Holdings. "Temasek is a state agency," the Straits Times notes. "Singapore yields to no one in the fight against terror. Would being located in a region where terror is active be a certifiable handicap or an endorsement for preparedness?" An excellent question. Going by the logic of many DPW opponents, it was fine for P&O to operate terminals in U.S. ports because it's British, and there aren't as many terrorists in Britain, so it's not a threat to national security. (We've already mentioned the...

By Emily Messner | March 1, 2006; 05:55 AM ET | Comments (131)

Port Deal Pause Provides 'Chance to Calm Down'

Dubai Ports World yesterday issued a statement that's well worth a read. Here's the basic idea: with a view to addressing concerns regarding the original review by the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (CFIUS), DP World has today formally requested to be subject to a further CFIUS review. DPW also outlined some of the steps it would take to ensure American confidence in its operation of U.S. ports -- including keeping a U.S. citizen in the position of chief security officer -- and reiterated its promise to hold off on taking over the six ports until after the 45-day review. DPW executives are so confident that their company will not be found to pose any security threat that they have actually invited an investigation that CFIUS had previously deemed unnecessary. The Times of London wrote that "by delaying the implementation of its takeover, DP World has provided...

By Emily Messner | February 27, 2006; 02:15 PM ET | Comments (88)

Ports Deal Pros and Cons

So far, the strongest argument I've seen against the ports deal comes from Charles Krauthammer: ....as soon as the Dubai company takes over operations, it will necessarily become privy to information about security provisions at crucial U.S. ports. That would mean a transfer of information about our security operations -- and perhaps even worse, about the holes in our security operations -- to a company in an Arab state in which there might be employees who, for reasons of corruption or ideology, would pass this invaluable knowledge on to al Qaeda types. Certainly, we don't want anyone finding out about the holes in our security systems. But is blocking foreign investment the way to address that problem? Shouldn't we be fixing the holes? If your roof is leaking, you don't just stop letting people into your house -- you get the roof fixed. Besides, there might be employees in a...

By Emily Messner | February 24, 2006; 11:48 AM ET | Comments (278)

 

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