Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Another Popularity Contest Lost

Well, it's not like the US is winning any popularity contest these days...

Discover America Partnership has made news copy as they have released the findings of their polls taken of business travelers who frequently cross many international borders. Hands down, the US lost. Is it any wonder we would?

Discover America is comprised of business oriented individuals who are in essence the equivalent of a Chamber of Commerce on a national basis in the US. Their business is to create business. Any bumps in the road for them could be construed as poor business. Interestingly enough, the Discover groups findings found that the security the US has in place for anyone passing into the country as "scary" and those implementing security policies as "rude". The possibility of being detained was a mitigating factor for the poor polling results as the foreign business travelers that took part indicated that they were more afraid of detention by border security than being a victim of terrorism once they cleared customs.

Is it just me or is this a lame way to think? Shouldn't our border security be tough and all business? Obviously, if the border security is busy smiling and being friendly the business that is their business is not being taken care of - which is to shake out those undesirables which shouldn't be passed through customs in the first place. It is one of those situations where although they may seem rude, they aren't exactly being paid to be friendly. One doesn't see our police officers smiling as they approach a stopped car for a traffic violation. After the business of clearing the occupants of the car for safety, the police officer can lighten up a bit, but not before. The police officers need to keep their guard up for their own personal safety. The seemingly unfriendly border agents are merely doing the same thing, but on a much larger scale as they are charged with the safety of everyone in the US from a terrorist attack. That train of thought isn't so hard to follow.

Discover America has announced that they are planning on going to Congress to change our border agents reception skills. Of course this is all based on creating a more inviting environment for whom they call the "ambassadors of business" from other countries. Rather than changing our border security, it might behoove Discover America to choose another path - one in which they realistically teach international businessmen the business of traveling through customs in the US. Wouldn't it be better to present the case to potential new business partners that there is no gain without pain and once the security issues are behind them they can have the satisfaction of knowing their investment is protected by the highest security standards in the world - than to open the doors to disaster by dropping standards down to a perceived comfort level?

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posted by Is It Just Me? at 12:09 PM