[star]The American Mind[star]

February 23, 2006

Senators Bloviate on Ports Deal

Senators got their first chance to grill Bush administration officials about the Dubai Ports World deal. If Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) is any indication demogoguery was the name of the game:

Brushing aside Bush's assurances, Sen. Carl Levin of Michigan, the panel's ranking Democrat, said the UAE backed the Taliban and allowed financial support for al-Qaida. Levin also charged that the UAE has an "uneven history" as "one of only a handful of countries in the world to recognize the Taliban regime in Afghanistan." He added that millions of dollars in al-Qaida funds went through UAE financial institutions.

Levin at one point noted that a special commission that investigated the terror attacks against the United States on Sept. 11, 2000 concluded that "there's a persistent counterterrorism problem represented by the United Arab Emirates."

"Just raise your hand if anybody (at the witness table) talked to the 9-11 commission," commanded Levin. There was no response among the handful of administration representatives.

Lots of work on the Sep. 11 attacks took place in Germany. Levin's not calling for ending economic relations with them. Terrorists learned how to fly airplanes in Florida and California. There's no call to boot those two states out of the union for being soft on terrorism.

If doing business with the United Arab Emirates is such a threat to national security then why didn't anyone make a stink when the administration began free trade talks with the nation? Do opponents actually think the UAE would go along with an agreement that would open their markets but bar their companies from operating in the U.S.?

Thomas Barnett thinks opponents of the deal should be embarassed:

After lecturing the Europeans over the cartoon flap, it's awfully weird to watch the paranoia, racism, and pure political nonsense at work on the proposed purchase of a British port-managing firm by a Dubai corporation.

The message we send on this is clear: if you're Arab, you're immediately untrustworthy. Dubai seeks to become the Singapore of the Middle East, and watching that rather progressive model of capitalism + Islam reach out for this strand of connectivity in a venue it knows all too well (shipping) makes perfect sense, just like CNOOC reaching for UNOCAL last summer.

On the GOP's tough talk, adds:

But what do you expect from a Republican party that welcomes a woman who calls Arabs "rag heads" and justifies her "joke" as retaliation for the World Trade Center bombings?

I'm cringing because she's right.

To get a good sense that the UAE is ok listen to the latest Glenn and Helen podcast featuring Austin Bay and Jim Dunnigan.

"Senators Say Ports Deal Raises Risks"

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Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 02:46 PM | Comments (1)