March 10, 2006

I am Ashamed

Due to the knee-jerk reaction that has taken place in this country over the port takeover deal, the Dubai Company at the center of it all has given up its claim. Don't think that didn't cost us some behind the scenes political capital. Though I personally valued the tactical relationship with the UAE above the suggested risks to our port security, I welcomed the debate that supposedly was to occur as a result of this scrutiny. Now that debate will never occur, because our media threw poll numbers at us indicating that 65% of us were against an Arab company owning our ports, and because power players in Congress want to win political victories by ramming that statistic home. Nevermind that the American public never had a chance to be informed on the issue and that the news jumped on it before trying to disseminate that information. Nevermind that most of our security comes from intelligence gathering that relies on relationships with Arab nations. Did that ever make the news or enter the Congressional arena? Of course not.

What does it say for us as a nation when we favor isolationism in order to create the illusion of security? What does it do to our efforts to spread democracy in the Middle East when, at the same time, we recoil from business dealings with a company because the term "Arab" is attached to it? What no one wanted to consider here is that Americans were still going to be running the security operations in all of these ports, and that every company operating on our soil must adhere to our laws regarding our national safety.

I'm just a little bit embarrassed to be an American today. When we cannot even abide a 45 day waiting period in order to confirm or dismiss our port security concerns, that calls into question our commitment to the ideals we claim to value above all others. Let us hope the UAE has a short memory.

Posted by Andy at March 10, 2006 12:33 AM to the Politics category

I heard a rumor that the port deal had a lot to do with keeping oil attached to the dollar. Several countries that sell oil on the world market have looked at moving to the Euro. This would cause the dollar to plummet. This may or may not be true, but it is an interesting theory.

Posted by: Nic at March 10, 2006 07:52 AM

I don't think you should be ashamed. There quite a few reasons that people are alarmed. These concerns weren't likely to change in 45 days - healthy debate or no. Not all of them are baseless "knee-jerk" reactions.

My site link expands on this.

But there is a nagging sense that there are things we may never know about the deal - perhaps some quid pro quo to the tune of $7 billion. Maybe they had a high value target that was worth that much. That conspiracy theory paints both parties as unscrupulous and is easily dismissed.

Posted by: AnonymousOpinion at March 10, 2006 03:10 PM

My contention is not that there are not valid reasons to nix the deal, but that those reasons are not actually responsible for its downfall. Is there something so volatile about this situation that we cannot afford 45 days of examination?

Posted by: Andy at March 10, 2006 10:41 PM

i really feel that this is the least un-american position that the politicians have grabbed ahold of... americans by and large do not like the idea of foreigners owning our ports. especially arabs.
so it makes sense to me, in the wake of 9/11, that the vast public would want those seven ports out of any middle eastern control.
if you ask me, there's a lot more to be ashamed about other than this instance.

Posted by: heather at March 10, 2006 10:57 PM

I daresay that no matter the kind of debate that had occurred (and I do believe that debate and it's results would have been a great thing), would have changed the alteration of the outcome because getting the vast majority of Americans who hear only "Dubai, Arabs, Controlling American Ports" are not going to listen to anything else that has to be said in the matter.

I can honestly say I am not well-educated enough in this matter to give a strong, valid opinion either way. I'm still learning about it.

Posted by: Amanda at March 12, 2006 01:10 AM

That may well be true. I am not in a position to summarily rule either. Obviously I lean toward allowing the deal, but my major issue is with our inability to wait it out. Even the wait would give our Arab allies some assurance regarding our intent.

I realize I use some moderately-strong language here in terms of America's reactions to the Middle East, but I'm sticking to it. I know some really smart people who made assessments about this deal based solely on the fact that the company is Arab-run, and those same people had no idea that Saudi Arabia already had a stake in our port system along with China. More importantly, you just know that actual Arabs are using this to validate their misgivings about us, probably using language a great deal stronger than mine.

Do yourselves a favor and follow the AnonymousOpinion link a few comments up in order to get a larger perspective on this issue.

Posted by: Andy at March 12, 2006 02:54 PM
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