So, the matter of Dubai Ports buying P&O Nedlloyd (or “the Arabs taking over the ports”) is either a national scandal or much ado about nothing, depending on your perspective. I feel the need to share a few thoughts about it, some common sense, others puzzling in that I have not seen others raise them.
From a “national security” perspective, the UAE is just another foreign country, like Britain and Holland and Germany, all of whom have had nationals with a hand in owning P&O Nedlloyd at some point. I’m comfortable with the explanations regarding security, in theory. (In practice, I’m leery of any assurances that come from the current administration. I’m also leery that the US is blessing a major deal with a country that refuses to recognize another of our allies. There’s an anti-Israel-boycott law, somewhere, isn’t there?) I don’t see the 9-11 connection as any more material than the fact that the hi-jackers met in Germany or camped out in California. Surprisingly, Bill O’Reilly and I are on the same page here.
Considering that the UAE and other gulf states have supported the US operation in Iraq, we owe them “big time”. On the other hand, they owe us for beating back Saddam in ’91 and for getting him out of their hair for good.
I’m glad to see people breaking party ranks to speak their opinions on this. I also cynically believe that many of the people who are speaking up against this deal are looking to score cheap points against the administration (hey, why not), are pandering to the perceived views of Jewish voters or are just plain bigoted. The last two scenarios worry me. Panderers will ultimately betray you and the enemy of your enemy may well still be your enemy.
Someone else wants this deal. Perhaps it’s losing suitor PSA International (“the Singaporeans”) . Perhaps it’s an American operator (like Halliburton). Perhaps someone else. I’m wondering when they’ll pop their head up as “saviors”.
I’m gladdened by the hearty public debate over this. Our society is made stronger by it. Still, I wonder out loud, if this deal had been announced under a Democratic president, how fragmented the Republican/Right position would be and how soon the right-wing media would have uttered “treason” and coined the term “port-gate”.
Finally, this is a “parochial” concern, but, Israel, which obtains most of its weaponry (some of it secret, no doubt) from the USA, will now be under the scrutiny of an official adversary state. I wonder what the classic right-wing ‘Democrats are too “even-handed” with the Arabs – only Republicans are “staunch” supporters of Israel’ have to say for themselves (nevermind, Jonah Goldberg is wiping the jazz from his lips). “Bad for the Jews” or “nothing to worry about”, I expected this to be front-and-center in the right-wing “Jewish Press” last week. It certainly was not on the cover, perhaps this week.