Monday, March 06, 2006

Dubai Ports World Deal Not Settled In My Mind

There are still two sides to the issue on the Dubai World Ports (DWP) deal. Should an Arab country be given the rights to operate 11 shipping terminals at six American seaports. -

The way it was first reported it seemed that the entire oceanfront would be owned by Muslum countries. Now to me it looks more like they are, in effect, renting the dockspace so their ships have priority in loading and unloading. I'm still not sure where I stand on it. They (DPW) are being given praises and condemnations that seem to cancel each other out but most of the condemnations are for pre 9-11 causes.

The main problem I have with the country, United Arab Emirates, which owns the majority stock in DPW is it's relationship (or lack thereof) with Israel. This however I do not think is a reason to stand against the deal. Much as I find it reprehensible I think that it should not enter into the debate.

The only problem I see is that some terrorist sycophant working for DPW could pass on sensitive info to terrorists. Which ship is loaded with explosives and the best time to blow it up. All else seems moot to me and is based on emotion rather than fact. Would this deal make it easier for this to happen? How easy is it now even if we do not have the deal in place or if it never comes to fruition?

Employees at any current port operations company might be swayed by money, idealism or threats to pass on info without this deal going through. There are no guarantees as it now stands. Could Dubai Ports World at the helm of operations at 11 terminals on the eastern seaboard give us any less guarantees or even put us on the minus side?

Hugh Hewitt has posted quite a bit about this issue and had several people from both sides giving their views on his radio show. Good arguments from both sides. He has this posted which I think brings some of it into focus.

- Quote - Here is the argument from the security lobby:

There are two categories of assets/businesses in the United States: those that have no or little bearing on the nation's security, and those that do.

Generally speaking, all nations that are not enemies of the U.S. are welcomed to invest in the former (no or little bearing). We encourage our allies to do so, even those allies with whom we have deep foreign policy differences on such matters as the boycott of Israel. The country is committed to free trade and the global economy, and that commitment is not subject to suspension over particular differences in foreign policy, even on such a crucial matter as trade with Israel. The boycott of Israel is not for us a national security issue.

Assets/businesses in the latter category are different. Defense contractors and their wares, strategic resources and the companies that develop them, some supercomputing businesses etc. --these sorts of assets/businesses are not open to market purchases, as the very existence of CFIUS (Committee on Foreign Investments in the United States) attests.

The first question is: Are port operations in the first or the second category. I, and most of the country, assumes that even though security at the ports is the duty of the Coast Guard, that nevertheless these are operations in the second category because they are border functions. After the attack on the Cole we became aware of the possibilities of port terrorism. After 9/11 we became aware that terrorists are willing to think way outside of the box and competent enough to carry out such schemes. Since 9/11 there have bulletins of alert focused on ports and a variety of stories about slips in port security and warnings that ports are our weakest link.
- end quote - See Hugh's entire post here -

prying1 sez: At this point my brain gets fuzzy and wants to shut down. - All I can think to do is to pray and ask the Living God to help those in power to make the decisions that come to the right choice.

Reminds me of the time a friend said, "Has it come to this? Should we pray about it?"

His point being that we should have been praying all along...

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