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Dubai Ports Deal Very Telling Chapter in Our History

  • Dubai Ports Deal Very Telling Chapter in Our History

  • 31 March 2006 by 0 Comments

Dubai Ports Deal Very Telling Chapter in Our History
By Richard Larsen
Published 03/31/2006 – Idaho State Journal

There are many lessons to learn from the recent Dubai Ports deal run-amuck. Perhaps the greatest one is the damage that can be done by knee-jerk reactions. Our own paper was replete with such reactions devoid of thoughtful consideration, including an editorial blasting the Bush administration for even considering the deal and letters by readers showing absolute ignorance on the issue.

Another lesson is how duplicitous we can be as a society, and especially some political elements within the United States. It’s totally unacceptable to engage in racial profiling when it is applied to individuals boarding planes, but it’s not only acceptable, but it’s politically expedient to profile when it comes to entire countries or cultures.

If this is not a case of racial profiling, why is there not an equally raucous uproar over the fact that 80% of the terminals in the Port of Los Angeles are run by foreign companies, including Communist China? After all the LA port has more cargo run through it than any combination of the other ports in the U.S.

Yet another lesson is found in the gross generalizations and inaccurate blanket statements that have resulted from this. In a recent editorial board meeting one board member impugned the Bush administration for selling us on a culture of fear of the Muslim world and then being surprised at the negative public reaction to the Dubai Ports buyout. President Bush has always been careful to make a distinction between Muslims in general and the extremist Islamo-fascist elements that are reeking havoc around the world.

President Bush’s failure on this issue was his inability to adequately inform us about the process and potential implications. To say that President Bush is anything other than an extreme hawk on homeland security is like saying Warren Buffett doesn’t know a good investment when he sees it.
Many critics have also pointed to the fact that some of the 911 hijackers came from the United Arab Emirates. Using that logic, we should immediately curtail all commercial dealings with Germany because that’s where Hitler came from! And the UK firm seeking to sell its U.S. port operations should never have had the “right” to run U.S. ports since Richard Reid, the infamous “shoe bomber” was from England. The U.S. has had its own share of loonies. Should that preclude other nations from investing in our country?

A weekend interview with the Captain of the New Jersey Port indicated that it didn’t make any difference to him who runs the ports. He said because of International Shipping and Port Security Code adopted after 9/11/01, he knows what is coming to his port before it’s even loaded to make the trip. And when asked why only about 5% of the containers passing through our ports are thoroughly inspected, he said that’s all they need to look at. With technology now in place at our ports, if the density of the cargo diverges even slightly from the manifest, the container is thoroughly inspected.

Michael Chertoff, the Department of Homeland Security secretary, said in a March 23 speech to the Council on Foreign Relations, that the international shipping firm DP World “could have helped implement stronger security at many ports where the US now has limited influence.” We could have actually built in some additional assurances, which would have given us more security in the wake of the deal than we had before the deal. The irony of this, he said, “is that had the deal gone forward, we would have had greater ability to impose a security regime worldwide on the company than we have now.”

As citizens in a republic, it is incumbent upon us to be informed; to look deeper than politicians’ platitudes and mainstream media “drive-by” coverage of issues. With a little discipline and a commitment to be informed, we can be the kind of electorate savant that our founding fathers believed we should be.

Now is a time to be strengthening ties in the Middle East, not scuttling them. Commercial activities should be expanded with the countries that work closely with us as a reward for such cooperation. We should do a lot more racial profiling in our airports and other security sensitive areas and a lot less in our international trade. And we should avoid careless generalizations that betray our bias and ignorance.

Richard Larsen is President of Larsen Financial, a brokerage and financial planning firm in Pocatello, and is a graduate of Idaho State University with a BA in Political Science and History. He can be reached at rlarsenen@cableone.net.

About the

More than anything, I want my readers to think. We're told what to think by the education establishment, which is then parroted by politicians from the left, and then reinforced by the mainstream media. Steeped in classical liberalism, my ideological roots are based in the Constitution and our founding documents. Armed with facts, data, and correct principles, today's conservatives can see through the liberal haze and bring clarity to any political discussion.

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