Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Afterthoughts on Ports issue

After it became clear that Congress would block the transfer of U.S. ports management to Dubai Ports World (DPW), which is owned by the government of Dubai, U.A.E., the company announced that it would transfer the U.S. ports management to a U.S. entity. This pretty well put an end to the political uproar over the deal. However, it did not answer the substantive question of whether DPW would pose a security risk as the manager of terminals at 6 U.S. ports.

Now that the deal is dead and the political furor has died down, it has come to light that DPW already manages a terminal at the port of Miami. To date, security has not been a problem at the Miami port.

The U.S. Navy contracts with DPW to fuel our warships in the Persian Gulf. The potential for trouble in fueling a Navy ship seems greater than the security risk in U.S. port management.

The U.A.E. airline has a flight or 2 a day into New York. In New York, the plane is refueled and takes off with full tanks and Arab pilots. Do we legitimately fear a repeat of 9/11? If so, why is the U.A.E. airline still flying into the U.S.? And what about other Arab airlines?

In the rush to demagogue an issue and to avoid any election-year issue, the politicians in Washington showed a lack of courage and judgment. Democrats seem pleased to have beaten Pres. Bush, without regard to the effect of their political victory on the success of the war on terror. Dubai has been a strong ally of the U.S. in our war effort since 9/11. Now, the strong political opposition to the deal may make moderate Arabs less likely to want to be allies with the U.S. The U.A.E. has already postponed trade talks with the U.S.

Next time, more information and less demagoguery is advised.