[star]The American Mind[star]

March 03, 2006

Sittin' on the Dock of the ... Port?

Steve Stehling at Standards and Grudges writes,

I'm suspicious of the opposition to the port deal. Their primary complaint is about port security, but I know for a fact, and they know as well, that port security is the responsibility of Homeland Security, Customs and the Coast Guard, not the port management company. If the key argument against the port deal is based upon an exaggeration, or more aptly described, a lie, than how much merit does the opposition have?

And one thing is quite clear. This is an issue only because it is an Arab company. Not one politician or major media outlet said boo when the British company was awarded the port management contract. A message is being sent that we will allow some nations to do business, but others are not allowed. That's extremely unfair and terribly damaging to our creditability. It also risks a backlash against the United States from Arab nations. What if they started voiding contracts of US companies doing business in the Middle East?

The pro-Israel lobby has got into action and started hammering on the UAE's boycott of Israel. The Washington Times reports, "Mr. Bilkey [DPW CEO] said his firm has long worked with Israeli shippers at the ports it managed, but acknowledged that a customs operation in Dubai owned by his company's parent firm did enforce the anti-Israel ban." Don't expect the boycott to be enforced in New York, Baltimore, or any of the other ports DPW would operate.

Jerry Zeifman, a Democrat, chides Sen. Schumer and Democrats taking advantage of the ports issue. The way the administration approved the deal is according to the law passed by a Democratic Congress in 1988.

Larry Kudlow goes to the heart of the issue. DPW opponents still haven't offered anything concrete as to why the deal is dangerous to national security:

After the hurricane of controversy these past couple weeks—all the editorializing, the talk show tempests and political sound bites—I still have yet to see any real evidence that the Dubai ports deal compromises U.S. national security. I just don’t see it. Objections raised by the Coast Guard have been solved, and the fact stubbornly remains that along with the U.S. Customs and Homeland Security, it is the Coast Guard, not Dubai Ports World, that will ultimately run the show when it comes to protecting port terminal operations.

If someone were able to show me a clear, insurmountable security problem, then I will gladly change my mind and hop aboard the anti-ports deal train. But so far, nothing has materialized. (And let me add that building in additional safeguards where there may be questionable practices is an eminently doable proposition.)

A word or two for the conspiracy-theorist crowd projecting nefarious, clandestine motives upon the UAE—the folks who subscribe to some misguided notion that the UAE is in cahoots with terrorists—let me encourage them to reconsider such position. The Dubai ports deal is costing these guys around $7 billion dollars. If they truly had some sick, ulterior motive to harm innocent Americans, don’t you think they could accomplish these imagined goals with far less money? The point here is that the UAE and Dubai Ports World has a huge vested economic interest in this deal.

Kudlow declares the rift a "pretty clear demarcation between free-traders and protectionists." I'll be more generous and call the opponents "economic nationalists." I also won't lump them all onto the same pile as Pat Buchanan.

There's a fear of the Arab/Muslim world (most unfortunately don't differentiate) and it's not unreasonable seeing the reaction to the Muhammad cartoons. However, I would expect opinion makers and politicians (I know, wishful thinking) to do a little thinking before spouting off. Since for them it's either their job or hobby I'd assume they'd enjoy doing that.

To lighten things up Wonkette found Captain Hamad and the DPW kids website.

Thanks to Jenna at Right off the Shore for the reminder.

UPDATE: Marcus Aurelius takes on Sean Hannity's "biggest beefs." More power to Marcus. It takes a strong man to listen to Hannity that long.

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Posted by Sean Hackbarth in Terrorism at 06:53 PM | Comments (15)