Port foolery, part 2; if the UAE is bad, why is China good?

Monday, April 03, 2006 at 06:13 PM

Proving that zealots dedicated to an abstraction known as "free markets" learn nothing that doesn't fit within their zealotry, the Bush administration is now running into severe criticism of a $6 million no-bid contract given by  the National Nuclear Security Administration to Hutchison Whampoa, a Hong Kong based company, to scan U.S. bound cargo going through the Bahamas.

Why a no-bid contract, in the first place?  The company is the only port terminal operator in the Bahamas.

Clark Kent Ervin, the first inspector general in the newly created Department of Homeland Security, said today that Congress should kill the deal because the company that has close ties to China.

So far, this pending deal has created nothing like the bipartisan and media firestorm of protest.

Why?  You've got me. I'm pretty sure it's safe to say that while the Bush administration has the "protect America" rhetoric down pat--probably from the endless repition--it hasn't really even started to come to grips with what that rhetoric means in the real world, where the globalization it so fervently champions results in foreign company after foreign company in a position that affects the country's security.

As with so many other issues, it appears to be a case where the administration can talk a far better game than it plays. As you would expect from people who know PR but little else.