Thursday, February 23, 2006

UAE Port deal: problem or waste of bandwidth?

I expressed my concerns previously about the UAE Dubai Ports World issue in this blog:

At that point, the best reason to dislike the deal was the fact former President Jimmy Carter supported it, a point I still find compelling.

But after reviewing the facts, hearing the talking points, and reading an insane number of blogs, I am beginning to believe this is not only a serious waste of time, but it may not be such a bad idea after all.

See Sister Toldjah for a lot more detailed information and a ton of great links. She has done some of her best work here..

My basic reasons to support it, or at least to feel there is little reason to oppose it, are these:
  • There will be no changes in the present security procedures. This company takes over port management only, not security or loading operations.
  • The UAE has been a consistent ally in the war on terror.
  • Dubai Ports World already operates ports around the world including Australia, China, Korea, Malaysia, India, Germany and Venezuela. They are experienced and have a very respected reputation. If there are issues, let some of those countries step forward and let the record be known.
  • They currently operate military ports for the US and have had a consistent record of secure operations.
  • We have many ports in the US already under foreign management; in fact the six ports involved are presently under British management, so the whole concept of *foreigners* running our ports is already a well known scenario. The fact that the Government of the UAE itself has ownership of this company is not necessarily a deal breaker to me, if they can be shown to be a trustworthy government, and even then it's still essentially moot because they will not have any actual control over port security. That, as I mentioned before, is still maintained by the Coast Guard and the US Customs Service.

What this is all about, at it's core, is racism; specifically Islamophobia, which I first suspected was the case.

Any other government would be ok, but these are Middle Easterners. The rants on the radio are incredible, about "not trusting them Arabs".

And that is the irony, at least as far as some of the liberal critics are concerned.

It is apparently ok to profile a country based on their race and religion (despite their reputation and their actual relationship with our country), but it is a bad thing to profile any middle eastern people based on their race and religion when they board an airplane. This is absurd.

So also are the headlines claiming Bush is *giving* the UAE control of US 6 ports. It is a business deal where Dubai Ports World is buying a British Company, Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co.

I can only find one valid possible point of contention. Several legislatures are claiming there is a requirement that this deal be given a mandatory 45 day investigation under a law governing the review of foreign investments. The Whitehouse claims that is not mandatory, it is dependent on security concerns.

So, that's it. Settle that issue, and make sure we abide by the law as necessary and I am satisfied.

Aside from that whole Jimmy Carter thing I mean...