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February 17, 2006

The Slumbering Giant Awakens...Too Late?

Via the admirable Ed Lasky, the bombshell story of the year simmers away in the background as the American media disappear down a rabbit hole after the riveting story of Dick Cheney's murderous attack on an "innocent" lawyer:

Members of the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey's board of commissioners will meet next Wednesday to discuss the proposed deal that would grant control of significant operations at one of their ports to a company owned by the Dubai government in the United Arab Emirates, a country with ties to terrorism.

Opposition to the proposed deal, which would give Dubai Ports World operational control at six American seaports - including one in Manhattan and one in New Jersey - is gathering steam both in the Port Authority and among members of Congress.

Ed points out:

Even the New York Times is aghast at the prospect of a United Arab Emirates company taking control of several of our major ports. I can’t be sure if they get their marching orders from Schumer or vice- versa, but in any event it is a good way to embarrass Bush.

Of course, a rejection at this stage will ignite further anti-Americanism in the Arab and Muslim worlds. But can we afford to let control of several of our principal ports fall into hands whose loyalties are not necessarily to our security?

At the risk of being called a xenophobe, I don't think this has anything to do with the fact that the UAE is an Arabic nation. I don't see how, in the wake of 9/11, it is in our strategic interest to allow our ports to be controlled by any foreign nation. This isn't prejudice: it is simply good sense. I would no sooner want to make a similar deal with Great Britain. Our ports are too important an asset to have them made vulnerable in this manner.

This is just madness. There are limits to free enterprise and national security demands that some sensible constraints be placed on the freedom to contract. I cannot imagine what CFIUS is thinking.

Posted by Cassandra at February 17, 2006 08:20 AM

Comments

Global Economy...outsourcing.

"Buzzwords", huh?

Posted by: camojack [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 17, 2006 06:17 PM

Okay, go ahead and call me a xenophobe. Simply based on the pool of applicants likely to fill certain key positions the thought of a company from Dubai controlling our ports is much more frightening than one from London. Sorry.

Posted by: Pile On [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 17, 2006 10:48 PM

I don't think I'd argue that point Pile, but with immigration in Europe the way it is and the PC madness going on over there, I'm not even sure that's an assumption I'd feel comfortable making.

I meant to make a more subtle point, and just didn't have time to elaborate. Given the strategic importance of our seaports, both from an economic and a national security viewpoint, why on earth would we allow control over them to fall into the hands of non-US companies? This just seems insane to me.

Posted by: Cassandra [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 19, 2006 07:59 AM

Agreed. This is not a matter that we should be making assumptions on. Fortunately, Chuck Schumer and friends are on the case.

Posted by: Pile On [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 19, 2006 09:47 AM

Arrrgggghhhh!!!

Posted by: Cassandra [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 19, 2006 11:35 AM

You used 'lawyer' and 'innocent' in the same sentence. Hm.

Posted by: Crckt [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 20, 2006 11:53 AM

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