Book Reviews | Gordon Campbell | News Flashes | Scoop Features | Scoop Video | Strange & Bizarre | Search


How Washington Thinks And Why It Doesn't Work

How Washington Thinks And Why It Doesn't Work

By Editor Sam Smith

In trying to figure out why Washington takes such a different view towards the security of business class and the security of cargo containers it occurred to me that most policy makers don't travel by container ship.

The possible application of this seminal observation covers considerable territory. For example, after the TWA 800 crash, it was unclear what had caused it. Logical explanations included a missile attack, A misaimed US test missile, mechanical failure, or a bomb on board. Without waiting for the answer, the Clinton administration swiftly installed a number of security procedures that implicitly assumed the final possibility. To this day, there is little interest in the considerable danger of missile attacks on domestic planes and absolute denial on the part of the government in the case of TWA 800. Further, virtually no attention has been given to the failure of the aircraft in question to be refitted in accordance with official recommendations. It is assumed by journalists and policy makers alike that the overwhelmingly logical source of danger is one of those funny looking passengers standing in line with them.

A similar indifference to the variety of ways that danger might enter the country is found at ground level. There was virtually no media attention given the fact the Chinese had taken over several ports of the Panama Canal. Or that a company owned by the Chinese Army runs the key port of Long Beach, California. After all, the Chinese are trading partners, not terrorists.

It wasn't until it was revealed that a corporation of the United Arab Emirates was about to take over some of our largest and oldest ports that the indifference towards the dispensation of American maritime manna was interrupted. It is still not clear whether if the Chinese Army, rather than the terrorist-hugging UAE, had taken over New York's waterfront there would have been any problem, but there certainly is now.

In the end, several factors probably drove the Bush regime towards this nutty decision. The first was the absence of American bidders for the port deal. This in itself is a telling reminder of how far downhill the country has gone. Second, the Bushists were probably trapped in their mode of 'globalization is good' rather than 'terrorism is bad.' After all, spin spins the spinners as well as the spun. Finally, however, people who run things and write things in Washington these days just don't know much about mundane, declasse matters such as ports and longshoremen. They proved this already with New Orleans. You can't expect people who think up things like the Long War to also know how to recover from a hurricane, build a skyscraper that won't collapse, or unload a vessel safely.

Older imperialists were a bit different. As the BBC notes of the British empire: "Overseas commerce was conducted within the mercantilist framework of the Navigation Acts, which stipulated that all commodity trade should take place in British ships, manned by British seamen, trading between British ports and those within the empire."

Perhaps Dubai will want to buy Ronald Reagan airport and the Chinese Army will take over JFK. Then, finally, the business class that runs this land will understand what the fuss is all about.

Since 1964, Washington's most unofficial source
1312 18th St. NW #502 Washington DC 20036
202-835-0770 Fax: 835-0779

© Scoop Media

Top Scoops Headlines


Werewolf: Living With Rio’s Olympic Ruins

Mariana Cavalcanti Critics of the Olympic project can point a discernible pattern in the delivery of Olympics-related urban interventions: the belated but rushed inaugurations of faulty and/or unfinished infrastructures... More>>

Live Blog On Now: Open Source//Open Society Conference

The second annual Open Source Open Society Conference is a 2 day event taking place on 22-23 August 2016 at Michael Fowler Centre in Wellington… Scoop is hosting a live blog summarising the key points of this exciting conference. More>>



Gordon Campbell: On The Politicising Of The War On Drugs In Sport

It hasn’t been much fun at all to see how “war on drugs in sport” has become a proxy version of the Cold War, fixated on Russia. This weekend’s banning of the Russian long jumper Darya Klishina took that fixation to fresh extremes. More>>


Binoy Kampmark: Kevin Rudd’s Failed UN Secretary General Bid

Few sights are sadder in international diplomacy than seeing an aging figure desperate for honours. In a desperate effort to net them, he scurries around, cultivating, prodding, wishing to be noted. Finally, such an honour is netted, in all likelihood just to shut that overly keen individual up. More>>

Open Source / Open Society: The Scoop Foundation - An Open Model For NZ Media

Access to accurate, relevant and timely information is a crucial aspect of an open and transparent society. However, in our digital society information is in a state of flux with every aspect of its creation, delivery and consumption undergoing profound redefinition... More>>

Keeping Out The Vote: Gordon Campbell On The US Elections

I’ll focus here on just two ways that dis-enfranchisement is currently occurring in the US: (a) by the rigging of the boundary lines for voter districts and (b) by demanding elaborate photo IDs before people are allowed to cast their vote. More>>

Ramzy Baroud: Being Black Palestinian - Solidarity As A Welcome Pathology

It should come as no surprise that the loudest international solidarity that accompanied the continued spate of the killing of Black Americans comes from Palestine; that books have already been written and published by Palestinians about the plight of their Black brethren. In fact, that solidarity is mutual. More>>


Get More From Scoop

Top Scoops
Search Scoop  
Powered by Vodafone
NZ independent news