Monday, February 27, 2006

An Open Society and Security

I am surprised that so many people are opposed to the Dubai World Port Deal. Conservative writer Michelle Malkin reprints and article with a popular take on the subject. Apparently, she and many people see the DB World Port's ownership of US ports as a gap in the US border and therefore a gap in US security. Perceiving DP World as a gap in security, they project onto Bush a sense that US security policies are incoherent. Perceiving the deal primarily as a security threat, people think that Bush must somehow be selling out to the rich emirs of the UAE.

I actually think something else is going on. I think there are fundamentally different ideas about security.

For most of history, security was seen as a matter of keeping "them" out. Fuedal lords saw security as a matter of building large walls and city states. A good example is the Great Wall of China and the numerous city states of Europe.

The walls were often breached, and societies still pillaged. In many cases the feudal lords inside the closed societies proved worse than the dangers outside the walls.

An open society takes a different approach to security. An open society seeks to establish security not by building walls but by building strong mutually beneficial links between their society and the outside world.

Those holding to the view of the Open Society would see the DP World deal as one that enhances security by helping build mutually beneficial links between the USA and UAE.

DPWorld is a capitalist enterprise. Like all capitalist enterprises, they want to protect their investments. The idea that a capitalist enterprise would jeopardize its equity by supporting terrorism is rather ludicrous. The management of DP World is apt to be a strong partner of the US in fighting terror.

With the Open Society view of security, the Dubai Ports World deal fits within a coherent security strategy that encourages the establishment of mutually beneficial links between the US and the Arab world, while actively confronting the enemies of the open society.

Yes, if you hold to the fuedal view of the world, DPWorld deals is incomprehensible. The United States, however, has a long tradition of taking the open soceity approach to security where we establish our security through a large number of mutually beneficial links between our country and the world at large.

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