March 01, 2006

Malkin, on the Port Deal

Just as some people throw out the word "racist" too easily, others throw out the "how dare you call me a racist?" rejoinder as if it were a rhetorical molecule. Next thing you know, we're talking past each other again.

The UAE is our "friend," we are told, and to question that assertion, we are scolded, is to engage in reckless prejudice and life-threatening insult. Yes, well, some friends are more equal than others. To instinctively trust a longtime, stalwart Western democracy more than an Arab newcomer with a mixed record on combating terror, international crime, and Islamic extremism is not "Islamophobia." It's self-preservationist in a time of war.

We are at war, aren't we?

Yes. We are at war. That's why it's important for us to bank on our brains, and employ honest risk assessments, rather than using our "instincts."

The underlying argument—the one people aren't talking about much—has to do with how to spread classical liberalism, economic opportunity, and—yes, dammit—the best Western of values.

Is it better to partially engage, as we do with China, and co-opt potential opponents—and yet end up with dirty hands? Or do we apply the hardline stance we use in Cuba? Obviously, each situation is different: China is not Cuba, and neither is perfectly analogous to any Middle Eastern state.

But philosophically I lean toward engagement, as opposed to something that appears to flirt dangerously with "fuck you, you dirty Arab; come back when your entire society is perfect, and your track record squeaky clean (which, of course, ours in the U.S. is not)."

Most people who are intimately familiar with the UAE are supportive of this deal, and feel that the progress there is tremendous. But even if the UAE were as shady as Malkin asserts, isn't there an old saying about keeping one's friends close and one's enemies closer?

Color me yet-to-be-convinced that this is an awful idea. Though I'm still listening.

(Via Hackbarth, who likewise is still saying, "show me the security risks.")

Posted by Attila Girl at March 1, 2006 04:10 PM | TrackBack

You'll forgive me if I'm less-than-enthusiastic about a country whose royal family has been known to go hunting with Uncle Usama...

That said, I don't see DPWorld as more of a threat to US interests than the other foreign companies that run a significant chunck of our port facilities. And Dubai is probably one of the most...western leaning...of the Arab nations. And DPW (as well as P&O) has been very upfront and open about their desired transaction with the US regulators as well as those in national security.

Posted by: I R A Darth Aggie at March 1, 2006 04:20 PM

On the Drudge report is a link;

It says Bill Clinton helped broker the deal.

I still say that although I am not happy about the news I am hearing I still think most of it is all politics. China still has an interest in the ports on the West coast and nobody seems to care.

As to Al-Qadia slipping an agent in through the UAE they could just as easily do the same thru Briton or the USA. After all how many imigrants from arab countries are on the East coast working in the ports now?

I think everbody is jumping to preconcieved conclusions to support their own party.

Prediction: 2 Months from now the whole thing will be settled, the democrats will make a big showing how they can protect this country by having a committee, the repbulicans will make a big show of distancing themselves from Bush bashing the deal, the deal will pass after the UAE makes concesions above and beyond what any other port operator does.

Posted by: Jack at March 1, 2006 05:37 PM

I’m still not convinced.

If this deal goes thru, no imports or exports would be allowed to or from Israel, because according to the Jerusalem Post: ” Dubai Ports World,~ is entirely owned by the Government of Dubai via a holding company called the Ports, Customs and Free Zone Corporation (PCZC), which consists of the Dubai Port Authority, the Dubai Customs Department and the Jebel Ali Free Zone Area. ~ Muhammad Rashid a-Din, a staff member of the Dubai Customs Department's Office states that "Yes, of course the boycott (of Israeli products) is still in place and is still enforced" Furthermore, Dubai's Jebel Ali Free Zone Area, which is also part of the PCZC, advises importers that they will need "to comply with the terms of the boycott.” So if this deal passes we will be boycotting, Israel, an ally.

Question. I don’t know much about Sovereign territory. But I do know that foreign governments that own soil within US borders are usually as embassies or consulates. Does any other foreign government own territory on US soil that isn’t an embassy or a consulate? The US government has no right to the information held by foreign embassies or consulates. Would the same apply to ports in American territory owned by foreign governments? I’m not trying to be fictitious. This is a genuine question.

If Dubai Ports World were a private company, that can move It’s headquarters from one country to another if need be, holds no allegiances except to its bottom line, and doesn’t need to pander to their “subjects” I would be allot more comfortable with this deal.

Posted by: Yolanda at March 1, 2006 09:02 PM

Don't worry Yolanda, George Dubai Bush will take care of everything. Just trust him, like you always have. Look people in the press only paint the negative stuff, like this war in Iraq. They don't talk about the billions of dollars that we are spending making schools, hospitals, parks for kids, and sewer and water for villages that never had water or sewer. They don't talk about all the oil that is still flowing, and how many previous Iraqi soldiers have switched sides and joined US.
The press only wants to talk about kidnappings and murder and suicide bombings. they are just isolated incidents of some disgruntled Bathists and Insurgents. The real news is that there have been three elections and the country is on its way to freedom and democracy. Soon Iraq will be the first muslim country to recognize Isreal, then Afghanistan, and If UAE want this port deal, then that is what they will have to do. These are all good things thanks to the war on terror. And the terrorists are on the run. So you see Yolanda, your Jewish interests are safe with the president. Just Trust HIM.

Posted by: Azmat Hussain at March 1, 2006 11:45 PM


Do you want to explain how you meant this?--

So you see Yolanda, your Jewish interests are safe with the president.


Posted by: Attila Girl at March 2, 2006 08:03 AM


The ports will NOT be owned by UAE. As I understand it they will be responsible for the containers and unloading and loading. They will have NO ownership of the ports.

I have also read (but would have to do a search) that they are already working with Isreal on ports. Whether they are shipping to Israel or working in their ports I am not sure. I can check and get back with the group if someone doesn't find it first.

I am also sure that their will be no blocking of shipments to Israel unless it is from the left wing 'kick the Israeli out of Palastiene' groups.

Posted by: Jack at March 2, 2006 11:04 AM

She seemed to be concerned about products that are made in Israel. What I am suggesting is that there is nothing to worry about. The Israeli products will not be stoped here in the US at those ports that may be run by UAE. Also the concern is that UAE does not recognize Israel and therefore is unworthy for our business. I am suggesting that the Bush Administration will put pressure on UAE to do just that.

Posted by: Azmat Hussain at March 2, 2006 05:51 PM

Okey-doke. I'm afraid the phrase "your Jewish interests" hit me a bit sideways. I'm hoping that wasn't a subtle way of putting down those of us who support Israel and feel that it should continue to survive--or those who get upset at some of the antisemitism in places like Europe (and, well, the Middle East).

Posted by: Attila Girl at March 2, 2006 07:25 PM

The wonderful thing about email and blog posting is that without facial expressions and vocal inflections it is rife for misinterpitations.

I have had many emails bite me in the ass because of wording as well as taking umbrage of others (although I may have been right, they were out to get me 8^)).

Sarcasim almost always fails in emails too.

Posted by: Jack at March 2, 2006 08:24 PM

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