Department of Homeland Isolation

Joi Ito reports that as a result of the draconian security interviews in place at U.S. Customs, he will cut back on travel to the U.S. for the forseeable future. I can’t say I blame him — and his comments are not isolated. The CEO at a former employer of mine (he’s from India, but is a U.S. citizen) has found the airport harassment so bad that he’s considering moving his family out of the country rather than deal with the ongoing mistreatment.

It seems to me that the real impact of President Bush’s foreign policy decisions (preemptive strikes, open hostility towards the U.N., exceedingly tough immigration restrictions, increased border control) will be economic: as countries find that dealing with us is increasingly difficult, their citizens will look elsewhere for jobs, education, business opportunities and the like.

This is not a time when we want foreigners deciding that they’ll wait for a while until they come back.

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