Am I concerned about Dubai Ports World taking over the franchise to operate certain ports in America? Not at all. And neither should you be. The same union employees will still be running the cranes and forklifts, and the same Coast Guard and Customs officials will still be running the port security.
I’ve been there eight times. The Dubai ports are clean, safe, and efficiently run. The U.S. Navy runs its own port security operation when our ships are in port, in cooperation with the UAE military. I’ve worked port security in high-threat environments, most notably for eight months in Kuwait during Operation Iraqi Freedom. Port operations has very little to do with port security. They do talk to each other, but mostly about shipping schedules. Port operations are about operating cranes and forklifts. Port security is about patrolling the land and water, and inspecting cargo. The difference is not trivial.
I am concerned, however, by the knee-jerk, anti-Arab reaction of certain pundits and politicians on both the Right and the Left. You know who you are. I’m sure you’re not racists, but then again, I didn’t hear any of you complaining when the British were running those same ports.
Regardless of how you might feel about the ports deal, please don’t dump on Dubai. They are our friends – and when you treat our friends this way, you only end up helping our enemies. If Americans can’t learn the difference between Dubai and Damascus, we don’t stand a snowball’s chance in the desert of defeating Islamic terrorism.
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