My point here being pretty simple. Chuck Schumer misrepresented the port deal in his big, dramatic weekend news conferences on the docks. A British holding company that owns the rights to conduct lading operations was bought out by another holding company owned by the UAE, and operated primarily by high successful and reputable U.S. and European businessmen. The leasing of a franchise to operate “ports” - really a number of slips within much larger ports in this case - is comparable to the deal that airport authorities make with foreign air carriers to rent “gates” - departure gates and ticket selling / baggage handling sites. Security is in no way farmed out to UAE citizens; that is still in the hands of the Coast Guard and Customs & Border Protection, and local authorities. Homeland security staffed the issue, looked at the acquisition with Commerce, Defense, State, Justice and others, and found that while it could potentially raise concerns, it did not do so in actuality. This group of federal departments also weighed the importance of UAE in the War on Terror, noted UAE’s permitting the U.S. to station troops and to use port facilities in Dubai, along with noting UAE cooperation in the really important point-of-lading security programs being implemented to obviate the need for massive inspection programs in the States. They then blessed the deal, providing the company offered assurances of continued compliance with U.S. security requirements.
Senator Schumer, probably prompted by the dockworkers union lawsuit against the original owner of the port franchise (P&O) and by the opportunity to get in front of the camera, started beating on the populist drum. Hey, I can’t speak for anybody else, but I know that I’m worried about Arab countries, and realize there is a security risk attendant to doing business with them. But it’s not the hysterical matter that Schumer and xenophobes like Lou Dobbs make it out to be. You have to keep an open mind, judge the situation on the merits, and reach an independent judgment. This outright hysteria is shameful; it’s us letting our baser instinct run away with our mouths.
Pretty calm talk from a blog named Cold Fury.
[Update: Sorry, should have noted the emphasis above was mine. My bad. — Seneca]