Thoughts on the UAE Port Deal

There are a number of reasons for one to be bothered by the sale of the operations of six American ports to the United Arab Emirates. To be blunt, one of those reasons is racism. But that is far from the only reason, and it's certainly not the reason for honest progressives. And the fact that some who also stand in opposition do so for reasons that we find less than honorable does not mean we ought to quiet our dissent on the topic.

There is a line of thought that questions why progressives are now professing to be troubled by foreign ownership of American ports. Glenn Greenwald, who has my total respect, is one who expresses his confusion. He cites the fact that the Chinese government, among others, already runs operations at some American ports. Honestly, that was news to me. The ownership of port operations was something I never gave much thought to. But that fact makes me more inclined to support the Clinton-Menendez proposal to ban foreign ownership of our ports, not less.

Like the publication of Upton Sinclair's The Jungle or the accident at Three Mile Island, this port deal is a wake up call. Did most people know that the foreign powers could run the show at American ports? I'd doubt it. And I doubt if they knew, that they would have supported it. Sometimes, it takes something blatantly obvious to highlight an existing problem. Selling off port operations to a government that refused to recognize Israel while it did recognize the Taliban would qualify as one of those times.

In the same post, Greenwald also questions why some are "drooling with anticipation over the potential this issue has for doing some serious political damage" when it's not clear the issue will benefit Democrats. First of all, he's right to say that the opposition to the sale of the ports to the UAE is somewhat bipartisan. There are quite a few Republicans lining up with Democrats against the sale. But I'm not sure what his point is here. Even if opposing the Bush administration on this issue doesn't do "serious political damage," I would argue that it's still worth opposing them based on the fact that they're pushing such terrible policy.

Secondly, to the extend that there is such drooling, I would say that it stems from the fact that this is such a clear cut example of the willingness of this President, the leader of the Republican Party, to sell off American policy to the highest bidder. David Sirota points to "'free' trade orthodoxy" as one of the underlying problems with this deal. For the administration, the potential national security implications of this deal are trumped by their desire to see the passage of a free trade agreement with the UAE.

How much does "free" trade have to do with this? How about a lot. The Bush administration is in the middle of a two-year push to ink a corporate-backed "free" trade accord with the UAE. At the end of 2004, in fact, it was Bush Trade Representative Robert Zoellick who proudly boasted of his trip to the UAE to begin negotiating the trade accord. Rejecting this port security deal might have set back that trade pact. Accepting the port security deal - regardless of the security consequences - likely greases the wheels for the pact. That's probably why instead of backing off the deal, President Bush - supposedly Mr. Tough on National Security - took the extraordinary step of threatening to use the first veto of his entire presidency to protect the UAE's interests. Because he knows protecting those interests - regardless of the security implications for America - is integral to the "free" trade agenda all of his corporate supporters are demanding. ...

There is no better proof that our government takes its orders from corporate interests than these kinds of moves. That's what this UAE deal is all about - the mixture of the right-wing's goal of privatizing all government services (even post 9/11 port security!) with the political Establishment's desire to make sure Tom-Friedman-style "free" trade orthodoxy supersedes everything. This is where the culture of corruption meets national security policy - and, more specifically, where the unbridled corruption of on-the-take politicians are weakening America's security.

Another interesting aspect to this is the question that John Nichols raises as to why our ports are privately operated anyway. This is something I've wondered about as well. How can something so vital to national security as port operations remain privatized while baggage security in our airports was nationalized under the Transportation Security Administration? I think the answer is a combination of two of the factors discussed above. First, the wake up call of September 11 served as a catalyst for reigning in control of airline security. And second, baggage security wasn't the type of big business that major corporate interests were going to line up to protect, as is the case with international shipping.

Bush has indicated he will use the very first veto of his Presidency to overturn the Clinton-Menendez proposal if passed by Congress. As Atrios has noted, it's interesting to see that this is the issue he's willing to go to the mats over. Even though Greenwald might be right that this isn't an obvious political winner for Democrats, I think it is an obvious political loser for Bush. But that's not why I oppose the UAE port deal. I oppose it because we've seen the disastrous results of other decisions influenced by Bush's fealty to powerful interests. Bad policy decisions lead to bad real world outcomes. And in this case, there's too much at risk for anyone of either party to give Bush the benefit of the doubt.

Tags: Bob Menendez, Democrats, Hillary Clinton, Port Security, Republicans (all tags)



Re: Thoughts on the UAE Port Deal

 Of all the bills in all the world, this is the Bill he will issue his first VETO.  Talking about a post 9-11 view of security!  And he keeps defending the Dubai company, but never mentions that it is government owned.

 Here is an American analogy to why this deal stinks and could be a form of  Treason regarding national security.

 King George tells U.S. phone companies that he has some new, super-duper spy program.  George tells the phone companies that he wants all their records of inter-continental call to or from U.S.

 Phone companies say no this is unconstitutional(just a premise; they probably rolled over immediately).  Georgie say NO, we are at war and I have these super wartime powers.  Phone companies roll and we have our current NSA spy problem.  This is happening in the greatest democracy on this earth.

Dubai ports is running the ports.  Their owner, the Royal Family of this kingdom( or dictatorship?) tells operators to betray port system securities.  Is port company going to say no?  I don't think so.  The rest of this thought can be left to the readers imagination.

 This administration puts commerce ahead of national security, as this episode shows.  It is run by the Treasury, whose values are different from Homeland Security(what an oxymoron) or military forces.  And speaking of this board, the DOD was represented and participated in the unanimous yes vote to approve this deal.  When questioned today, some DOD hack named Rumsfeld said that he hadn't even heard of the deal today.

Final cliche: Something stinks in the old state Denmark and it ain't cartoons!

by ocdemocrat 2006-02-21 07:40PM | 0 recs
by amberglow 2006-02-21 07:58PM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the UAE Port Deal

It has been noted that the Bush administration rarely if ever does anything for non-election-political reasons.  It's usually for raising money and such, but this one seems a bit out there.  The only reason that I can think of for the Bush administration doing this (if they only act for  political purposes) is that they can allow the Republicans in Congress to distance themselves from him on an obviously unpopular issue.

by nanoboy 2006-02-22 06:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the UAE Port Deal

Ha! Another possibility! The plot thickens!

I really think Bush and Cheney just don't give a shit. It's all a big joke to them. Ha ha!!!

by blues 2006-02-22 08:15AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the UAE Port Deal

Highways, paid for by tax payers in Texas are being sold to foreign corporations who are installing automated metering and fully electronic ticket issuing for violaters.

Our federal agencies have been converted to corporate status so they can be sold off as well.

The US is bankrupt, its assets are being sold off to foreign interests, who will extract payment again for these assets the tax payer has already paid for at least once.

This includes water and power assests and land resources owned by the government.

Welcome to GOP privatization and its FULL enabling by Democrats who have supported these policies as well.

by leschwartz 2006-02-21 07:46PM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the UAE Port Deal

Everything I have been seeing tells me that the observation of leschwartz, as given above, is 100% accurate. By far, very far, these ports are the number one security hole in the U.S. effort to curtail terrorism. They demand more layers of protection than any other type of facility.

If George W. Bush wants these ports to be run by any Middle East interest, that could only be viewed as a definite symptom of dementia.

What the hell is going on?

by blues 2006-02-21 09:01PM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the UAE Port Deal

One crucial observation: If George W. Bush backs off from this plan to cede control of these sea ports to United Arab Emirate interests, and instead grants control to, say Australian interests, then that would automatically create the seed of a subtle, yet profound, national profiling policy against Muslims. There is an easy way around this: only grant control to American interests. But the administration will try to claim that there are no American companies that can handle the job. Do not buy into anything like that.

by blues 2006-02-21 10:14PM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the UAE Port Deal

Excellent synopsis of the GOP's global privatization world view in action.

by fafnir 2006-02-22 02:49AM | 0 recs
If the Democrats are smart, they will milk this

This issue has been handed to them on a silver platter.  As much as the congressional Republicans try to distance themselves with Bush on this (by overriding a veto), it's gonna hurt them.  Because the reality is that the voters are not that sophisticated and informed:  they will always associate Bush with Republicans in Congress no matter what they do.  Remember, it was on THIS site that I saw the poll that indicated that the public doesn't even know that the GOP controls Congress and thinks Democrats still do!  So, in a twisted way, DEMOCRATS may get credit for overriding the veto.  haha

Democrats need to use this issue and use it good.  Wrap the congressional Republicans around Bush's neck.  

by jgarcia 2006-02-21 08:00PM | 0 recs
by amberglow 2006-02-21 08:06PM | 0 recs

These Port Authorities are private companies owned by the government. I would imagine that port security is difficult to achieve because one is dealing with many individual cities, each with its own Port Authority.

What we have here is a can of worms. Can the government force the Port Authorities to comply? These companies are little socialistic entities ... I am curious to see how the courts rule.

So many people don't even know how our ports operate. They are getting their wake up call now, only to find that Bush is making the waters even murkier.

by misscee 2006-02-22 06:15AM | 0 recs
I bet right now the administration

 is taking bids on New Orleans.

by amberglow 2006-02-21 08:07PM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the UAE Port Deal

Folks:  Bush has pulled this veto stunt before and has always ended up caving or modifying his stance.  He will do it again with this one.  This is even a bigger loser for him than Cheney's shot.  

by Big Red 2006-02-21 08:15PM | 0 recs
I agree; Time to Hooverize Bush

Bill Scheer over at liberal oasis has a good post on differentiating Democratic Progressive opposition from GOP opposition. Further infrastructure is a basic government function. Most people would agree with that. Maintaining and operating basic infrastructure should not be outsourced to foreign governments or corporations.

Finally while the GOP may gain some points for opposing Bush on this, Its important to drive Bush's negatives as low as it will go for several reasons

  1. The Republican led congress has opposed Bush only on this and Harrie Miers. The opposed Harriet because she wasn't conservative enough. This will become important if the Supreme Court rules to erode Roe as is expected. The Port Security issue can be explained away as even the kool aide drinker understand this and their opposition is grounded in bigotry whereas we oppose trusting  any foreign government or corporation (too likely to cut corners to cut costs) to operate our ports and infrastructure
  2. Our goal should be to Hooverize Bush to make Bushism repulsive. FDR did it to Hoover and Reagan did it to President Carter and Newt tried to do it to President Clinton.  Its taken 60 years for Hoover to get some sympathy. President Carter has rehabilitated himself somewhat with his post Presidency. President Clinton survived by getting re-elected and governing well (but for Lewinsky, Newt's attempt would have been a total failure)  I don't see Bush writing books or helping the poor. He just doesn't care. Good!
  3. 2006. This Republican Congress is so tied to Bush that one degree of sepearation on the issue of port security should not be enough to save them. Drive Bush down lower and tie the Republicans to him.
  4. JEB and any other Bush with political ambitions. Hooverize Bush and end the family politically. Enough said.

by molly bloom 2006-02-22 03:45AM | 0 recs
or maybe they knew it wouldn't fly,

and Halliburton can then sweep in as the Great American Hero to oversee our ports?

by amberglow 2006-02-21 08:33PM | 0 recs
Re: or maybe they knew it wouldn't fly,

I can think of no other explanation.

by blues 2006-02-21 09:04PM | 0 recs
Re: or maybe they knew it wouldn't fly,

You need to start a seperate thread on this. I said it when I first heard about this deal. King George is either going to try to use Haliburton as a final soultion or he's actually  taking one for the team by  giving Republicans  who are running in the fall the opportunity to say ' I stood up against bush" . Of course in this second scenario, it doesn't matter if  the UAE gets the ports or not, as long as Republicans get  to voice their opposition in a campaign speech.

by xodus1914 2006-02-22 06:20AM | 0 recs
Re: or maybe they knew it wouldn't fly,

Your premise is incorrect.  The American ports are operated by quasi-public corporations or public agencies, teh various Port Authorities.  Companies lease terminal space.  One such company was P&O, a British company.  Many other foreign companies lease terminals.  P&O is being bought by Dubai Ports World (controlled by the Emirate of Dubai, one of the UAE), which would then take over its terminal leases.  The ports would conintue to be operated by the local Port Authority and security would be provided by the US Coast Guard and Customs Service.  What the US Treasury apopoved was P&O being bought out by Dubai Ports Worlsm, at least as far as the US operations were concerned.

Not saying the deal should have been approved, but everyone here should get their facts straight.

by Mimikatz 2006-02-22 07:50AM | 0 recs
by amberglow 2006-02-21 08:43PM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the UAE Port Deal

Perhaps no one ever explained the intricacies of the veto power to Bush before. Lord knows he's never used it in the past. I wonder if he realizes that a veto can be over-ridden. Today I read a list of Republican backbench toadies-- I mean people like Elton Gallegly who you never hear a peep from-- who are making loud angry grumbling noises about Bush's deal with the despotic and shaky Dubai monarchy to run 6 U.S. ports. If even someone whose head has been buried as far up Bush's ass as Gallegly's has been, now feels secure enough to come out publicly against this deal-- even as Bush digs in his own heels-- well... it means there probably aren't half the votes needed to sustain a veto.

My first reaction to all the Republican squawking was that they were posturing for the hometown audiences-- making believe they are patriotic Americans-- and that they would fold as soon as Cheney and Rove growled. By today, though, it started to look like the palpable anger from the public and the media was so strong-- Republican Peter King, for example, said that he had never gotten as much reaction to anything since he was elected to Congress and that it was 100% against Bush's position-- that maybe the Bush Regime's arrogance and gross tone-deafness on this one had actually backfired in their faces. I think this is actually one Bush is going to lose on-- and lose big. Can anyone name even one senator or representative who is backing him on this?

by DownWithTyranny 2006-02-21 09:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the UAE Port Deal

Wouldn't the ports just be run by the same American workers, even if the current owner sold them to the UAE or Rodney Dangerfield or Osama Bin Laden? I don't know, just wondering.

by bugmenot 2006-02-21 11:00PM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the UAE Port Deal

How can it possibly be good practice to sell control of the most vulnerable U.S. security facilities, our sea ports, to foreigners when our government is making American citizens go through hell at the airports? Quite obviously, it cannot.

by blues 2006-02-22 05:11AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the UAE Port Deal

Well, even if the ports would still be operated by the same American workers, they would be run by an arm of the government of the United Arab Emirates. I think that's an important distinction.

by Scott Shields 2006-02-22 06:24AM | 0 recs

If it is like it was in the Canal Zone, where I was raised, they have the power to hire and fire.

I am confused by the word ownership. The government created a private company that it now owns. Now, years later, the government sells operations to another firm in another country. In the Canal Zone there were vendors, but absolutely no private ownership.

I fear that this is a matter for SCOTUS.

by misscee 2006-02-22 06:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the UAE Port Deal

This is the "credit" that Bush said he would gain with the Oil Producing nations in order to "lower gas prices".  

If this deal does go through I believe it will be the beginning of a civil war here in America.

by goplies 2006-02-22 12:36AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the UAE Port Deal

Frankly, I was surprised and outraged to learn that a number of our port operation activities were outsourced to foreign private or state-owned corporations.

Privatization of our port operations is terrible public policy. And in the post 9-11 era, the notion of handing the keys to our front door over to the 9-11 bankers not only demonstrates a profound weakness on national security, it's just plain dumb.

Our port operations should be nationalized not privatized. Americans civil workers, by and large, have an inherent interest to protect our homeland from unscrupulous and unsafe activities. I would no more trust my neighbor to operate my front door than I would trust a private or state owned corporation to operate the nation's doors.

by fafnir 2006-02-22 02:54AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the UAE Port Deal

this was posted over at Atrios:

had bush spent the last 5 years strengthening our port security, this deal would have been seen as a gesture to friendly arab countries. unfortunately, he hasn't done shit.
Sidd Finch

I think this is the way to go with our protest. It let's us bring up the fact that nothing has been done to improve security at the ports and lets everyone know that we're not protesting because we're "racist".

We also need to mention the fact that security programs are voluntary for other companies managing  ports in the US.

by mpower1952 2006-02-22 03:26AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the UAE Port Deal

nothing has been done to improve security at the ports and lets everyone know that we're not protesting because we're "racist".

Agreed.  Anyone who falls for the racist argument is a fool.  It's just a variation on the BushCo method of stifling dissent.  Usually they equate criticism with terrorism but since they can't do that here, they fall back on racism.  So just to recap:

1. The UAE was one of 3 countries to recognize the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan.

2. It's been a key transfer point for the illegal shipment of nuclear components to Iraq, North Korea, and Libya.

3. The banking system laundered money that was transferred to the 9/11 hijackers.

4. The UAE is not cooperating in tracking down OBL's bank accounts.

And because I oppose this deal I'm somehow racist?  Don't think so.  I have no problem with Middle Easterners but I have a huge problem with countries who abet terrorism operating six ports in this country.

And Bush can't understand why we're not taking him at his word that this is a good deal.

by KimPossible 2006-02-22 04:02AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the UAE Port Deal

the outcry: 1/3rd genuine security concerns..among this category are folks like Menendez, 1/3rd plain politics: eg. Schumer, Frist and Hastert, and 1/3rd racism: eg. J.D. Hayworth,  Nathan Deal, Tom Tancredo and a host of others in the GOP House. Lindsay Graham is appealing to the bigotry of his constituents rather than any concern for port security.

by Boilermaker 2006-02-22 03:41AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the UAE Port Deal

...and by the way, they all talk about sovereignty...what sovereignty? We are nose deep in debt..if I were a country owning US debt, I will tell the US to pay back the loan and then the US can have its sovereignty back!

by Boilermaker 2006-02-22 03:43AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the UAE Port Deal

Politically, this deal is a boon to Democrats --- cause the party line (The White House line) is the deal is good and will be enforced.  Its good news for Menedez (NJ), Rendell (PA), The MD Dem. Senate nominee, LA democrats, SC Democrats, and Spitzer and Clinton (NY).

Bush may actually veto this, then we've got a genuine National Security issue to use.  If we are smart we should nail down the fcat that a GOP rolled over on this deal long ago and it wasn't until the media got hold of what the WH and GOP Congress did together that anyone on the GOP side cried fowl.

Privatization leads to this kind of crap all the time, we need to convince Americans that patriots don't sell themselves to the highest bidder

by kmwray 2006-02-22 03:57AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the UAE Port Deal

Nice job, Scott.

I think it's telling that mainstream media is focused on the Congressional reaction but has (at least ime) utterly ignored the UAE trade agreement aspects. The trade agreement is so clearly a major factor I can't comprehend why there isn't more dot connecting among the high profile news outlets.

I just read that last paragraph. Yeah, I guess I can comprehend why. It's just sad, though. Very sad.

by KB 2006-02-22 04:05AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the UAE Port Deal

The reason why he's doing this, and why he's willing to risk upsetting his base and risking his pose as the National Security President, is strategic:

The UAE lie on the south side of the Straits of Hormuz, a strategic chokepoint for the passage of Gulf oil. They are also home to several large airfields. If Bush wants to attack Iran, which of course lies on the north side of the Straits, he needs the active support of whomever controls the south side, and especially the full use of air support facilities in immediate proximity to the Straits. The airfields in Iraq are five hundred miles away; any aircraft carriers deployed in the Bay of Bengal or the narrow waters of the Gulf itself will be vulnerable high-value targets themselves, and unable to support more than a hundred or so aircraft each. Land bases on the Straits themselves are absolutely essential if Bush wants to keep the Straits open in the face of Iranian efforts to close them, whether with airstrikes, cruise missiles, or torpedo boat attacks.

Bush must be thinking that once he's neutralized Iran with "shock and awe", all the fury over this will blow over, and his credentials as Defender of the West will be reestablished.

by dricey 2006-02-22 04:40AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the UAE Port Deal

I would say that it stems from the fact that this is such a clear cut example of the willingness of this President, the leader of the Republican Party, to sell off American policy to the highest bidder.

Chuck Pennacchio agrees with you.

by eRobin 2006-02-22 04:46AM | 0 recs
Torn Between 2 Lovers, Feeling Like a Fool

Two forces at work here:

One - The neocon empire builders that want to pillage the rest of the world. Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz, Cheney etc

Two - The puppetmaster robber barons that want to pillage THIS country. Bush cornies, Texas mafia

Clearly, the puppetmasters are behind this one (lot's of direct links to Bush cronies).

This pokes a stick in the eye of the neocons, as when Rummy claims he knew nothing about it ("Hey, you neocons won the war, but went broke, now we are going to pillage whatever's left, regardless of what country it's in."). But it's also upsetting to all the other branches of the GOP.

But this will be part of larger pattern, like the proposed sale of National Forests. Now that all the money has been milked from Iraq contracts and the country is broke, now they are going to convert that cash into REAL ESTATE and other concrete goods. Because this is a bubble economy just like the bubble, and the smart people cashed out of the and invested in their homes. But the deficit has made the DOLLAR like shares of Nortel - it's going to drop, so the wealthy want to cash out the greenbacks and buy federal land to build their estates. This is very very much like Russia's kleptocracy.

by bernardpliers 2006-02-22 06:14AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the UAE Port Deal

"There are a number of reasons for one to be bothered by the sale of the operations of six American ports to the United Arab Emirates. To be blunt, one of those reasons is racism."

The racism angle is garbage, it doesn't apply.  Yes they are Arabs, and yes they are being treated differently from the Chinese.  It isn't racism though, and that issue should not be interjected into this debate, it only confuses the issue.  The government of the UAE has earned a certain amount of suspicion, they provided a friendly ear and cash for the Taliban and al Queada prior to Sept. 11.  They deserve a certain amount of crap for that.  Yes, we will buy their oil but they like taking our money, and yes they let us have bases but they only do so because it serves their interests to protect their tiny, weak nation; not because they like us or support us or because we are their friend. China is primarily interested in furthering itself economically and we need not fear that in the same way, they are much less likely to accept a terrorist attack on the US as a legitimate action, whereas the people and government of the UAE have shown themsleves to be sympathetic or tolerant of some aspect of violent anti-Americanism.

The idea that Dems won't necessarily benefit from this may be true, but only if they drop the ball.  This is a perfect wedge issue.  It makes the administration look like a a bunch of complete idiots and forces people to choose between Dems who will protect them and Republicans who will sell their security to the highest bidder including the UAE, which until Sept. 11 was on friendly terms with Osama Bin Laden.  Second guessing that point would be politically stupid to the point of absurdity.  

We need to put this to a vote, and anyone that sides with Bush will get crucified in the next election.  This issue nullifies the "Sept. 11 changed everything" line, it nullifies their claim that they can protect the US better than Dems.  It also plays into the Katrina incompetance and Halliburton corruption/cronyism lines.  This issue is PERFECT for Dems.  Bringing racism into this issue would only shut down the debate.

My last point, the Republicans believe they are in a culture war, and Dems are the enemy.  That makes the GOP our enemy whether we like it or not.  We have got to take them on or we will be crushed by Rove and Mehlman and others.  We can't afford to wring our hands over insulting their friends in the UAE, the only people hurt by that will be multinational oil companies, and they are not our friend either.  We have a huge tactical advantage, and if people in leadership on the left are too slow or too weak to jump on this they do not deserve their position, and I include blogs in 'leadership'.  To not take advantage of this would be stupid beyond belief.  We ought not hold back int he slightest, we ought to hit them with everything we have, every chance we get.

Stay on message.  Hammer them.  Its simple, direct, and it will work.

by pjv 2006-02-22 06:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the UAE Port Deal

This really should have been the last post in the thread.

by xodus1914 2006-02-23 04:50AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the UAE Port Deal

The UAE is very important to the US Navy.  Could the push for a free trade pact and the port deal be a response to all the assistance they have been giving the USN?

There aren't too many friendly ports in the Red Sea.  I can only think of one other, and that is in Bahrain.

On the surface, I have no problem with foreign companies/governments running our ports.  I was listening to NPR this morning and 90% of the ports on the West coast are run by foreigners, many of them Chinese.

by guachi 2006-02-22 07:42AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the UAE Port Deal

It's important to note the last debate where Bush threatened to use his first veto: the torture ban.

Is this guy ever on the correct side of an issue?

by paulrobeson 2006-02-22 07:57AM | 0 recs
Wouldn't It Be Nice

Could someone give an explanation of how a change in who the major shareholder of a port services company is threatens national security?  What does the port services company do that could be interfered with by the shareholders?  How could this happen?  Some specifics would be nice.

Instead, all we hear is that the big bad UAE boogie man won't recognize Israel and that it played footsie with the Taliban, including having a banking relationship with some of them.  Shit, if you watched F/911 you know the United States also played footsie with the Taliban and, you know, gave a lot of the jihadis training to fight the USSR which they then used to attack US interests.  And the actual 911 terrorists trained at facilities in the U.S., so the U.S. also has these "connections to terrorists."  Isn't there a photo of them using an ATM in Boston?

by kaleidescope 2006-02-22 08:00AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the UAE Port Deal






by blues 2006-02-22 08:11AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the UAE Port Deal

I just searched this thread and did not find the word "Carlyle."  Surely I'm not the only one who thinks the Carlyle Group might be involved in all this.

by drlimerick 2006-02-22 08:12AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the UAE Port Deal

I have one issue/ concern with the port issue.  It concerns me that in arguing against selling off our port security to foreign powers, we are using the race card and taking islamaphobia to new heights.  It is one thing to be concerned about the fact that our government has literally become a giant garage sale with everything for sale (values, ports, etc.),  but is it necessary to use such blanket rhetoric and deem entire nations in the Middle East as terrorists?

Granted, UAE is no bastion of freedom, but are we to judge other countries any more.  Imagine the image the rest of the world currently has of America...  Over the past five years, our country (yes, most Dems aided and abetted the president) has illegally surveilled and detained its own citizens, censors free speech at a remarkable rate, and is engaging in an ill-willed bloody conflict that while it may be killing off some of the bad guys, is destroying the lives and hopes of many innocent people.  I don't believe that the acts of the past five years defines MY America and likewise, I don't think we should label an entire nation as a bunch of terrorists, when in all likelihood there government and its policies were  brought to you by the United States of America.

by SamInDC 2006-02-22 08:56AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the UAE Port Deal

I just heard Christopher Shays on Talk of the Nation opposing the port deal.  Why?

Because Arabs haven't expressed outrage over the beheadings in Iraq but riot over cartoons.  Therefore, we can't trust Arabs or "Islamicists" and shouldn't reward "them" with big contracts.

Chris Shays: Racist (and illogical pandering scum)

by Thaddeus 2006-02-22 09:52AM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the UAE Port Deal

I wonder why our allies in England and France are not outraged about a foreign-based company operating their ports.  

England has been subjected to terrorist attacks on their soil more recently than the U.S., but I haven't read a single article expressing concern that their largest port will soon be operated by Dubai Ports World instead of a British company.  

I did, however, find an interesting article in the Guardian that gives background to Dubai's bid to become a maritime power.  I think it would contribute to this discussion:,,17 08287,00.html.

This may be a good political issue for Democrats, in terms of the administration's insufficient investment in port security, but unless we'd prefer to steer money to a U.S.-based Halliburton, this deal may have its merits.

by Mr DC 2006-02-22 05:16PM | 0 recs
Re: Thoughts on the UAE Port Deal

It just goes to show you that Bush's democracy push didn't turn out to the way it should have.  All of these countries turned out to have the method of democracy, but having a republic or a democracy, was too much for the Arab world to handle.  It takes time to develop democracies and they put in Dictators that were friendly towards the US, but they were still dictators and ruled by autocracy.  When you have people runing the gov't that is sitting on top of alot revenue like oil, in order for the gov't not to have commoners try to get that share of that money, they feel they have to keep their democratically elected monarch or democratic elected clerics but aristocrats.  They feel if commoners rule the gov't like we have, they will be able to get control of that oil.

by mleflo2 2006-02-23 04:10AM | 0 recs


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