Shipping While Arab

Friday, March 03, 2006
Richard Klein makes the case for UAE in his oped entitled Great Risks in Humiliating a Reliable Arab Ally :

Commercial arrangements, union contracts, relationships with port authorities, U.S. government- required security standards, U.S. Coast Guard oversight and the people running day-to-day operations at these ports will not change. Yes, two Sept. 11 hijackers were from the UAE. But lesser known is that when the Emirates government learned two of its own were part of the attack it committed troops to fight alongside American soldiers in Afghanistan.

No rationalizing about motives, no suggesting Israeli Mossad or CIA conspiracies, no avoiding responsibility. The UAE was the only Arab and Muslim country to stand shoulder to shoulder with the U.S -- a display all too rare in the Middle East.

read it all.

UPDATE: The Anchoress, always a class act supports the Dubai deal but has some very respectful ideas about some of those who do not. Read her take on Islamaphobia.


Knucklehead said...


Contrast Klein's article with that of Mark Davis, also at RCP.

There is precisely one thing I kinda sorta agree with Davis on. I don't like the "humiliate" business. I'm sick to death of hearing about "humiliation" - it is the flipside of the stupid self-esteem gibberish. Not pandering to someone's self-esteem is the equivalent of humiliating them. But aside from that little rant re: "humiliation, Klein makes a whole lot better case than Davis does.

Davis is spewing typical, hyperventilated tripe:

Are these the only two options? A smiling transfer of our ports to UAE control, or a dose of abject shame as the deal is yanked from them? For God's sake, can someone step in with some nuance?

It isn't a "transfer of our ports", Mr. Davis. How 'bout recognizing the "nuance" that lies between container terminals and "ports"? And how 'bout recognizing the furhter nuance that, in some of the ports in question, we're talking about a portion of the container terminals and, for some of those, partial "ownership".

For God's sake, can someone step in with some nuance? The UAE, like every other Islamic nation, is in a state of turmoil as the polar opposite factions of Islam fight for the future of their religion.

More "nuance" from Mr. Davis even as he calls for it from everyone else. The UAE is, of course, in a state of turmoil like every other Islamic nation.

Can't seem to find any nuanced difference between the UAE in general, and Dubai in particular, and "every other Islamic" nation, Mr. Davis? I think Richard Klein mentioned a bit of it. Maybe Davis should reread his article.

Some of that turmoil is healthy, indicating progress toward a more moderate Islam.

Yeah, could it be the form of turmoil the UAE is undergoing is the healthy sort we want to encourage? Nah, couldn't be.

But as those battles rage, we cannot permit the added security risk of smoothing the path any potential terrorist faction would have in accessing a weak spot in our seaports.

Davis, of course, doesn't mention a single means by which there is any added security risk or how the path of potential terrorists is smoothed.

terrye said...


I knew a man who had lived in the ME for years, and he told me that those people never forget an insult.

I don't think that taking away the contract in and of itself is a humilation, but treating them all like raving maniacs really is just that.

As for nuance perhaps folks would like to deal with the fact that 80% of this work is done by foreigners of one kind or another already and unless and until some American billionaires step up the bat that is not likely to change.

As for turmoil look at Europe. In about 20 years Danish shipping maybe in the control of a Muslim too, how is that for nuance?

There attitude is that there is a greater risk, cause they say so. That is all.

Rick Ballard said...


"the fact that 80% of this work is done by foreigners of one kind or another already" I think that you are referring to ownership of the terminals. The actual "work" belongs to unions - and getting into those unions isn't a matter of just signing up on a waiting list. Those are birthright jobs that go to sons, nephews (a few nieces now) and "special" friends of Business Agents who are willing to pay the BA for the privilege of getting on the waiting list.

The Teamsters who pull containers from the ports may have some foreign born drivers but if you went to the employee parking lot of most of these outfits, you would be surprised at how homogenous a group is involved.

terrye said...


Yes you are right. I was talking about the management class, owners,etc.

The Teamsters Union, the Sailors Union, the Longshoremen together with the Port Authority and the port security are the people who run the show on a day to day basis.

I was just saying it was kind of late in the game to get worried about these kind of deals now.

Knucklehead said...

Rick & Terrye,

The NYC MTA union employees are more than well represented by "swarthy others". The head of the union is, IIRC, Hatian. He comes from a place that is among the most violently anarchistic on earth. Shut down the NYC public transport system! We can't have these people from places wher violent ideologies rule the day!

Naturally, for those who can't tell, I believe in no such thing.

The people shrieking about the DPW ports deal really need a checkup from the neckup and need to ask themselves some tough questions about their core values. And it is on both sides of the "aisle".

There are some among us, I am one, who fear that Salafism, or the underlying criminality behind it, will possibly bring the world to a level of slaughter it has never seen before. A subcategory of that group, I am one, hope there is something within the Islamic world, or community, that can help to prevent that.

I saw, somewhere on the net, a comment ridiculing George W. Bush for (paraphrasing) hovering over his wish for a tree of Islamic sensibility, praying for any sign of a green sprout. I'll join him in that hope, that prayer.

There is time to push the buttons that will destroy untold numbers of people and change the world in ways we can't imagine. I'd prefer to witness the sprout of greenery, of hope. The UAE is, perhaps, an ally in that hope. I vote to give them a chance. I believe the gamble is a reasonable one to make.

terrye said...


Yes, I agree, but going out of our way to trash people who do meet us even half way will not help.

How can we say on one hand that we believe in liberating Afghanistan from the Taliban and Iraq from Saddam and then say that the vast majority of the citizens of both countries are beyond hope and help because of their religion?