China Instead of Dubai

Remember the ’90s? Remember Hutchison-Whampoa, the Chinese firm that had Republicans up in arms because it won a contract to administer the Panama Canal? Josh Marshall remembers, and now he relays the news that Hutchison-Whampoa is going to be running the tests for nuclear materials at American ports Freeport, the Bahamian entrepot to the Eastern seaboard of the United States. I’m not as suspicious of Hutchison as Marshall is, but certainly I appreciate the irony of this turn of events. A little time goes by, and the GOP is making some surprising new friends.

In other Hutchison happenings, Li Ka-Shing, the company’s chairman, has signed on to an advisory council for British Chancellor of the Exchequer (and prime-minister-in-waiting) Gordon Brown. Li — Sir Li, actually — is a high-school dropout worth $12.4 billion, according to Forbes.

Edit: Let me see if I have this right: the United States is contracting with Hutchison to oversee nuke-detection at Freeport in the Bahamas. I can understand that maybe the Bahamians don’t have the financial resources or expertise to make their own arrangements for detecting radioactive material, but the role of the U.S. here still strikes me as bizarre. If the U.S. wants to make sure Bahamian security is up to American standards wouldn’t it still make more sense to go through the Bahamian government — you know, velvet glove and all that, keep up a pretense of Bahamian sovereignty?

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