Bush Supports Free Trade; Nation Dies of Shock

Regardless of any backroom deals and ulterior motives that may have led to it, Bush's support of Dubai's bid for P&O is good news. "We believe this is a legitimate deal that will not jeopardize the security of the country and at the same time send out a signal that we're willing to treat people fairly," he said, and I agree with him. This sets a good precedent also, but Bush has left himself plenty of wiggle room to claim that a given deal is a threat to national security.

At first I was thinking that this may show that this administration isn't turning toward economic isolationism to protect dollar hegemony, but it turns out that the UAE dirham, the currency used in Dubai, has a fixed exchange rate against the dollar. I suspect that the delegation from Dubai promised to either maintain the status quo or adjust the exchange rate in ways beneficial to dollar hegemony.

One wonders whether Bush's reaction would have been the same had this been China or Syria. Still, it's good news.

Update: The Modulator writes and Jim Lippard agrees that this is not really free trade because it's trade with a government. However, it's not like the government involved actually holds a monopoly on force over any of the parties involved, just the people in the territory of Dubai, and they actually exert a lot less force over their people than the US government does over its people. Therefore, I don't see how it's any less voluntary for the parties involved than it would be with any other powerful family. It's also a bit ironic to ask one's government to stick its nose into a business deal just because that deal involves another (much smaller and in many ways freer) government.

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Catallarchy Writer Supports

Catallarchy Writer Supports government Expansion....
...the nation and blog readers die of shock. A writer at the noted libertarian oriented site Catallarchy posts this headline and statement:Bush Supports Free Trade; Nation Dies of Shock Regardless of any backroom deals and ulterior motives that may hav...

Ports acquisition issue Sean

Ports acquisition issue
Sean Lynch at Catallarchy calls this a win for free trade, which is disputed by The Modulator on the grounds that the acquiring company is owned by a government--the United Arab Emirates.

Sean: I think you make a

Sean: I think you make a good point in your update, but I still wouldn't call it "free trade" because of the CFIUS process itself, which has most likely added conditions to the deal which will impose requirements on the new entity's U.S. operations which are not present on the current entity.

Ed Brayton has raised some other issues (including some possible cronyism and self-dealing) at Dispatches from the Culture Wars, and I've offered further comments there, at least some of which I think you'll agree with:
http://scienceblogs.com/dispatches/2006/02/what_am_i_missing.php

Thanks for the link, Jim.

Thanks for the link, Jim. Yes, it doesn't surprise me at all that there's more to this than is indicated by Bush's comments. And I will agree with you that the CIFUS process itself doesn't really constitute free trade. Free trade wouldn't have this whole rigamarole in the first place. I still think allowing the deal to go forward is better than not allowing it.

Incidentally, Brayton's comment that "No one could rationally argue that there's no more risk in having an Arab company run our notoriously insecure ports" is disingenuous and borders on racism, because "Arab" refers to an ethnic group, not a political group. UAE is a US ally. If he wants to argue that they've been less than cooperative in the war on terrorism, that's one thing, but his whole point is just that they're Arabs, which seriously damages his position.

Does anyone else besides me

Does anyone else besides me question why the President of the U.S has any buisiness in the "support" of suh a deal? Where in the constitution might such a thing be? How does this speak of the old tradition of low government intervention in the marketplace? I know im sounding kooky and idealistic here, but if not libertarians questioning this stuff, who else!?

"Does anyone else besides me

"Does anyone else besides me question why the President of the U.S has any buisiness in the “support” of suh a deal?"

"The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people."

The people, in this case represented by a british corporation, wish to sell their property to another set of people, represented by a corporation from the UAE. As such, The President should always be in favor of "the people" utilizing their rights.