Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Importing fear

Initially I was on the bandwagon with those calling for a reversal of Bush's decision to allow an Arab company to continue running commercial operations at six U.S. ports.

But upon closer inspection, paranoia seems to be winning out, along with (understandable) mistrust of an Arab government.

According to some industry analysts, the change in management would have no real effect on security, which would still be carried out by American workers to international standards. The UAE, whose government owns Dubai Ports World, is an international financial hub and close U.S. ally.

Of course, the same is often said, incorrectly, about Saudia Arabia. But I can't make the same judgment about the UAE.

And doesn't this seem to contradict the mantra that our only enemy in the Muslim world are radical Islamists? If such sentiments exist within Dubai Ports management, then by all means, cancel the sale.

"The Emirates have been very pro-active partners in helping our security. They have a solid track record of cooperation," said Peter Tirschwell, publisher of the Journal of Commerce.

While I would like to hear what the "other" industry analysts have to say, right now there's no concrete evidence that would support nixing the deal. More information is needed. Though there might be good reasons for their opposition, my cynical instincts tell me Democrats are undertaking this cause in hopes of bolstering their poor poll ratings when it comes to national security. Not wanting to be outflanked on the right, many in the GOP are joining forces with the Dems.

So politics, not proficiency, will end up deciding this one.

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