Tuesday, March 21, 2006

Jingoism is alive and well in America

The recent furor over the DP World buyout of P&O has taken many forms, but the underlying reality is that Americans find it acceptable for a British company to own their ports, but not one based in Dubai.

A recent column by Winn Schwartau in Network World poses the question "Would you hire Dubai to run your network?"

If I understand Winn Schwartau's thesis, he is arguing that it is unsafe to use people, equipment, networks and technology supplied by non-Americans.

OK, let's look at the same question from the point of view of every customer of American companies. As a Canadian, should I fear Cisco, Microsoft, HP, Dell, AT&T, and all the other technology vendors? Should I ensure that our RFP's state that only national vendors are permitted to bid? Am I at risk because the technology is American origin and may contain back doors or other mechanisms to prevent proper functioning if America gets pissed at my country?

Such behaviour will hurt America more than anyone else, as a global trade war ensues.

Let's get back to reality. The ports in question were owned by foreigners. The ships calling at the ports are all sailing under flags of convenience owned by shell companies that hide their true owners. The ships were built anywhere but the US. The crews are not likely to have a single US national.

So sure, go ahead and scream security. Just get ready for a really low standard of living.

And if you don't like/trust foreigners, just hide in your bunker while the rest of us get on with life.

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