Friday, March 10, 2006

One Port, Two Port, Red Port, No Port?

The battle over Dubai controlling US ports is over. DP World announced that they would sell the rights to US ports to an unnamed US company to avoid what was turning into a disaster both for DP World and for President Bush. Because DP World may renege on what they said though, Congress is deciding to go for political points, overkill, and alienation:

I have to agree 100% with Dan Drezner that "The UAE is the closest thing we have to a reliable, stable, Westernized ally on the Arabian peninsula, and both official Washington and the American public just pissed on their leg." While there are some efforts at Westernization going on in Bahrain and Qatar, Dubai is situating themselves as the premier city/state in the Middle East. They are using their oil money to modernize, liberalize, and diversify to create a stable economy so that they don't go into the toilet when the oil dries up the way that most Arabian economies did in the 80s and 90s. They're doing this by investing in all sorts of different projects - buildings, infrastructure, financial institutions, and ports. Would DP World running ports here in the US cause problems with terrorism? It's doubtful. They'll be manned and run by US citizens. Even under this arrangement, it looks like DP World may create a US subsidiary that doesn't have ties to the mother company, but that gives its revenue up. As one of the most progressive parts of the Arabian Penninsula, they realize that it's bad for business to blow up parts of the US. It really looks bad for business if you blow up part of the US using your assets. It doesn't matter to a jihadi, but DP World isn't run by jihadis. If they were to have something like that happen, UAE assets all over the world would be seized and nationalized. Besides, why wait when you could strike the Great Satan's military arm? Again, Dubai is the biggest US Naval port in the Middle East, fully manned and staffed by natives from Dubai. Have we had any mass poisonings, any bombings, or anything to worry about? No. Why does it stand to reason that they would do that over here? We can rest assured that our Chinese underwear isn't being touched by Arabs now - there won't be any Boxer Rebellion.

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