Saturday, March 04, 2006

Dubai-ous Arguments About Ports

The last political firestorm that I've been hearing a lot about is the deal for Dubai-owned DP World to acquire P&O, a British shipping company that operates 5 ports in the US - New York/New Jersey, New Orleans, Miami, Baltimore, and Philadelphia. Apparently, this deal is the one single thing that is going to help Osama bin Laden get a nuclear weapon in the US and blow it up somewhere.
There's a huge uproar about this, despite the fact that DP World already owns shipping facilities here in the US. We'd already be nuked if this was the only thing standing between us and certain annihilation. Nevertheless, it hasn't stopped Congress and certain governors (Jon Corzine, I'm looking at you) from trying to turn this political lemon of Bush's into their own lemonade. This is a deal that makes sense, and I'm going to say why.
1. Port control still resides with the US. Our people will still be patrolling these ports. They will still be as secure as they were before. None of that is changing as part of the deal. This was agreed upon by career bureaucrats who have survived their lives in Washington by not making stupid moves that will literally blow up in their faces. The deal is sound and Dubai has every interest in making sure that it will have safe ports.
2. Dubai has had ample opportunity to strike fear in the hearts of the imperialistic Americans for over a decade now. It's home to our fleet in the Persian Gulf, and as such, it would be a simple matter to go and blow up an aircraft carrier or two. We saw what happened to the USS Cole in Yemen, and if Dubai was really so evil, they could easily put one of our capital ships, a vessel that hasn't been sunk since World War II, on the bottom of the ocean, along with 6,000 soldiers. I don't know about you, but if I were fighting the US, that would look like a mighty tempting target.
3. Racism. For Congress to scream about how terrible the national security situation is with Dubai taking over ports, they are implicitly stating that all Arabs are terrorists. In a situation like this, where we are trying to win hearts and minds, it doesn't help either objective. What's next? Are we going to stop allowing Emirates Airlines (based in Dubai) to fly to the US? After all, they will be flying A380s, the world's largest passenger aircraft, and that could blow up a lot of buildings.
4. Pro-globalization creedence. The Bush Administration is supposed to be pro-globalization (and in general they are). The US is promoting open borders around the world, and one more thing that we are doing to close our borders doesn't help us out when we go with hat in hand to the Chinese asking them to hook up one of our companies with a sweet deal.
Despite all the carping from the blowhards in Congress, this will end up passing (it already has). The best thing to do is to approach it from the perspective that it's okay and we're all for allowing foreign investment in our nation. More money will flow, tensions could ease, and we'll be better off as a result.

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