Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Political rumblings over UAE Ports Issue

Dubai Ports want to take over the British Port administration P&O that administers 6 ports in the USA. This decision makes perfect sense for an Arab Emirate that is running out of oil soon and which has had a history of port trade.

It has, however, led to a lot of political grumblings in the USA with Congress wanting to block the take-over and the President threatening to use his veto. This case of practiced racism would be harmful to American interests in the Middle East. It is also against US advocacy of free trade and membership of the WTO. That explains the presidential veto.

The creeping "racism" or islamophobia is not only in the Congress debate and initiative, but also in the many cartoons in the US press. Imagine it was the Danish company Maersk Line, which also administers ports, taking over the British company. Would there have been the same reaction?

You cannot help thinking: What would the reaction have been, if jews were portrayed in that way (the looks of the men/the association to nuclear bombs)?


Anonymous Jessica said...

"Imagine it was the Danish company Maersk Line, which also administers ports, taking over the British company. Would there have been the same reaction?"

Of course not. That is a poor comparison. No more need be said of that.

Regarding The Dubai Ports Deal

I don't believe that a company owned by the UAE Government, a current ally of the US, poses an inherent risk. Nor do I believe they are firm friends. The UAE has always, and will surely continue to be a reliable and loyal the highest bidder.

They are pragmatic and decidedly western in their capitalist ideology, and there is nothing necessarily wrong with that; we in the US we extol the virtues of capitalism daily, embracing the benefits and doing our best to deal with the consequences.

And the UAE has learned well this lesson. Much like the Swiss during World War II, they are more than happy to provide services to those who can meet their prices or offer other benefit. They are the quickly becoming the go-to bankers of the Middle East, not discriminating between the expatriated German national, the Egyptian Business man, or the Terrorist organization.

Dubai continues to play a key role for al-Qaeda as a through-point and a money transfer location. They 'were just going their job' post-9/11 when they stonewalled on disclosing accounts held by Osama Bin Laden among others, and money transfers to both the 9/11 hijackers and known terrorist organizations. Perhaps most disturbing, the father of Pakistan's nuclear program, Abdul Qadeer Khan, has acknowledged heading a clandestine group that, with the help of a Dubai company, supplied Pakistani nuclear technology to Iran, Libya and North Korea.

I honestly believe that the DPA would do a fine job managing the US ports, provided no one presented financial incentives to do otherwise. Remember, DPA paid more for this deal than its estimated worth, and "business is business."

12:02 PM  

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