Do The Freakin Math

Liberals and conservatives alike frequently rely on limited evidence, personal experience, religious beliefs or gut emotions to determine solutions for complex problems. From immigration to global warming - taxes to terrorism - or health care to free trade - analytical study is rare. Science based policy making isn’t the way of Washington. And the consequences are catastrophic. Change is urgently needed. Just do the freakin’ math.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

CFIUS reform is futile.

Foreign investments and National Security conflict as long as we are in conflict in the world.

An old patriot once said “Those who trade with other nations are a traitor to this one.” That’s isolationism at its extreme but it holds more than a nugget of truth. If one tires to stay true to the mythical idea of “independence” then making one’s economy dependent upon trade with another nation kinda works against that ideal.

Republican Congresspersons Roy Blunt, and Deborah Price and Democratic Congresspersons Carolyn Maloney and Joseph Crowley joined hands across the isle today to write an Oped in the Washington Times titled “Reform the CFIUS process: Balance foreign investment with national security”.

CFIUS is the Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States.

In general, if the US is going to make enemies with its foreign policy then foreign investments in the US is probably not a good idea. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not against foreign investments in the US. I believe the only real path to maintaining our cherished freedoms and security IS by making sound US investments in the health and well being of others we share this tiny planet with. Allowing them to invest here is also sometimes good for some Americans. The sad news is that that’s not the primary focus of our investments there or their foreign investments here. The goal of most of our trade with other nations and their investments here is to make profits for a few. Not for the protection of inalienable human rights for all – here or there.

Let’s face it. Poor people die a lot sooner and a lot more often than people with money…except during pandemics, airline crashes and terrorist attacks. If the majority of people are not benefiting from the trade and investments then they are very likely being hurt. This unintentional harm has unintended consequences on American lives in terms of infectious diseases, international crime, terrorism, global warming, toxic wastes and global economic instability.

I believe Bush was correct in supporting the planned purchase by Dubai Ports to manage commercial operations in six US ports. We need more friends in the Middle East and if you can’t trust Dubai who can we trust. The fact is, it would have made it somewhat easier for terrorists to slip a nuclear surprise into our country with such connections. The bad news is that it can’t get much easier to slip a nuclear surprise into our country even if there were NO ports available. And, there is virtually no way of stopping any biological WMD surprises from coming across our border even if we sealed the whole damn thing. (Think global postal service and a pathogen smaller than a micro chip.)

Any CFIUS reform is useless if we insist on making enemies in the world with a military heavy, oil dependent, and profit priority foreign policy. These simply make us fewer friends in the world. We need more friends, not less. Do the freakin’ math.


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