The fortress America politicians are unhappy again, and this time their malcontent relates to the proposed purchase of British company P&O, by Dubai Ports World.

The furore is all down to P&O ownership of six ports in the US: New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Baltimore, New Orleans and Miami. The White House okayed the proposed buy out, but some senators in Congress are up in arms about the idea, with Bill First, leader of the Republican Party in Congress, the man who should be one of George W’s main allies, wanting Congress to block the deal.

It all boils down to security and the war on terror. But it is all very well for American politicians rooted in domestic issues to oppose the deal, but look at this on a global scale, and America is in danger of, at best, appearing inward looking and, at worse, seen to be discriminating on grounds of religion or culture.

Dubai is of course on America’s side in the war on terror, and in any case, it’s not the company that owns ports that has control over security, it’s the coast guard.

As for George W, this puts him in a difficult position. He needs the support of countries like Dubai, and although he is not a man who has endeared himself to the Arab world, paranoia in congress could undermine even the efforts of Mr Bush.

But the US president said yesterday that he would veto any law blocking the deal.

It is quite ironic, of course that the country that puts much of its success down to promoting the free market, should be so torn over the deal, when the UK government, and remember, that P&O is a British company, seemed altogether a lot more relaxed about the saga. Ironic, maybe, but not at all surprising.

© Investment & Business News 2013