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2006-03-10 Arabia
UAE reaction to the ports deal
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Posted by Dan Darling 2006-03-10 01:20|| E-Mail|| Front Page|| [378 views since 2007-05-07]  Top

#1 It is a defeat for Dubya but nothing he can't recover from with tact - in times of war or national emergency, espec sovereignty, identity, way-of-life, freedoms and territory are at stake, Americans want their own Govt. and Army to be in charge for the duration. The UAE, however imperfectly, has been one of Amer's most outstanding allies since the Cold War - nothing personal, UAE, its just an American trait.
Posted by JosephMendiola 2006-03-10 01:28||   2006-03-10 01:28|| Front Page Top

#2 
A well deserved and MUCH needed wake up call for the Republican leadership. Americans do not like Muslims. This is a GOOD thing.

Posted by Nana 2006-03-10 02:01||   2006-03-10 02:01|| Front Page Top

#3 The acquisition of five US port terminals by an Arab company became an unlikely target for an outpouring of American anger and fear.

To all the rational and independent thinkers on Rantburg, I'd like to throw this at you:

What did you expect? Years of worrying about the next terror strike, acknowledged inadequacies in security all over the place (or the perception thereof), Iran going nuts, Iraq almost going nuts, Afghanistan still not mission accomplished, "Saudis are not our friends", cartoons, Eurabia, Muzzy-first theories... then along comes Mo from the UAE and Joe and Ellen average American are supposed to react with joy? Can't blame the pols really, their livelihood depends on knowing which way the wind's blowing. Sure the MSM plays a large role, but c'mon, they didn't have to work that hard this time.

It is a defeat for Dubya

Depends how you interpret things. It might make it harder to work with a few people in the middle east (though I think this contention is overdrawn), but he can still claim to be their friend. He did all the right things. I even suspect he might have known this would be the end result, or at least a long shot.
Posted by Rafael 2006-03-10 02:19||   2006-03-10 02:19|| Front Page Top

#4 What! Doesn't anyone here access the White House website? President Bush made a provisional statement on the live issue of the DPW port's deal, in consideration of State to State relations with the UAE. He never made a final statement on the issue, because he went with the political flow and chose not to run counter to the consensus reached by the law-makers. The effect: no Arab control of US ports; continued good relations with the UAE. And the security-over-liberty thinking will help sell the White House plans on Iran. Nobody is crying in their beer - or tea - at the White House.
Posted by Listen To Dogs 2006-03-10 02:35||   2006-03-10 02:35|| Front Page Top

#5 Article: But it underscored that Mr Bush, who still has nearly three years to go in his second term, has become perilously weak.

This kind of windy, leftist commentary is why I think FT is appropriately printed on pink paper, although red would be better. GWB is the president of a *democracy*. He is a weak leader by *design* as leaders of all democracies must be. He can do only what most of the electorate wants, anyway. Kim Jong-Il and Hu Jintao are strong leaders. They can do whatever they want. GWB is no weaker or stronger than any other president. When Reagan pushed through his tax cuts, Congress went along because that was what the electorate wanted. Bush's wishes are being ignored on this issue by Congress, not because he is weak, but because, once again, the electorate doesn't want Dubai involved in running American port facilities, whether or not the security aspect is involved. Period.
Posted by Zhang Fei 2006-03-10 02:45|| http://timurileng.blogspot.com]">[http://timurileng.blogspot.com]  2006-03-10 02:45|| Front Page Top

#6 The Wall Street Journal is running a lot of op-eds from lobbyists who work for foreign countries. I think a lot of is just excessive - there's a lot of slippery slope rhetoric about how this is going to lead to a major trade war. Which is nuts.

If they want to bring on a trade war over our security concerns, I think they'll find us more than ready to take them on. Remember - we forced many countries put on controls over capital flows in order to curb terrorist financing - something much more onerous than merely curbing the acquisition of a union-riddled port operation. They could have started the trade war then. They didn't - because it will hurt them more than it hurts us.

The funny thing is that Arab governments have brought this upon themselves by fanning the flames of Islamic radicalism. All of their embassies piling on top of Denmark for the comic jihad, combined with the uncontrolled violence of the Islamist demonstrations have really pissed off the American street. Don't they understand that Americans are not a bunch of sheep to be pushed around? Doesn't Bush understand that prostrating himself before Muslims is bad for his image at home?
Posted by Zhang Fei 2006-03-10 03:06|| http://timurileng.blogspot.com]">[http://timurileng.blogspot.com]  2006-03-10 03:06|| Front Page Top

#7 But with his public approval ratings at record lows and his Republican party abandoning him, one of the US’s closest allies in the Arab world concluded that he was no longer in control in Washington.

Kind of sounds like editorializing to me.

I think people should've trusted Bush on this. He's already proven himself a shrewd world leader in the WOT. Doubt he'd be an idiot all of a sudden.

This is a victory for the Dems. Probably why Clinton is over there: "Well, if my wife was president, this thang would be different . . ."

Posted by ex-lib 2006-03-10 04:35||   2006-03-10 04:35|| Front Page Top

#8 Ironically the USA is de facto imposing all a kinds of rules on how foreign countries run their ports. If they don't their shipments face delays, more inspections, extra costs, etc.
Posted by phil_b">phil_b  2006-03-10 05:29|| http://autonomousoperation.blogspot.com/]">[http://autonomousoperation.blogspot.com/]  2006-03-10 05:29|| Front Page Top

#9 So, Nana, Americans not liking Muslims is a "Good Thing"? Most people here where I work are ambivalent about the issue. as long as Security is not compromised they see no problem with the Port deal. This has MUCH more to do with Partisan Politics and very little to do with Public Opinion. I trust the MSM opinion polls about as far as I can throw my thumb. They do not report the news, they influence public opinion.
Doesn't Bush understand that prostrating himself before Muslims is bad for his image at home? Zhang Fei, Bush did no such thing. I suppose if a French Company had bought the British one you would say Bush prostrated himself before the French. The funny thing is that Arab governments have brought this upon themselves by fanning the flames of Islamic radicalism. Maybe I didn't notice but I don't believe the UAE had any Cartoon Protests. This wasn't and isn't about "Arab Governments" but about one State owned Company getting a contract to collect fees and pay bills. Nobody bitched when the Brits had the contract, but then, they aren't brown, either. So do we Nationalize all foreign-owned companies here? This was a panic reaction to a non-issue.
Posted by Deacon Blues">Deacon Blues  2006-03-10 09:39||   2006-03-10 09:39|| Front Page Top

#10 Lol. What this issue has accomplished in singular fashion is that it emptied all the closets.
Posted by .com 2006-03-10 09:41||   2006-03-10 09:41|| Front Page Top

#11 Zhang Fei, we do not want a trade war, period.
Such a trade war lead directly to the Great Depression which would still be going on were it not for WW2. It would be a disaster to have to relearn that lesson.
This Dubai thing was a bump in the road, let's move on.
Posted by wxjames 2006-03-10 09:56||   2006-03-10 09:56|| Front Page Top

#12 One thing we have to remember when considering the reaction of the "American Street": most people can't tell Dubai from Djibouti. To a lot of people, including a lot of congressman, geography is foreign territory in more ways than one. This fact supports Deacon Blues's analysis that the flap is a panic reaction.

I have been dealing with Medical Stuff again, so I have missed most of the debate on this issue. Thank you for some very informative comments above.
Posted by mom">mom  2006-03-10 10:14|| http://idontknowbut.blogspot.com]">[http://idontknowbut.blogspot.com]  2006-03-10 10:14|| Front Page Top

#13 Nobody bitched when the Brits had the contract, but then, they aren't brown, either.

Oh, look! The racism card!

It ain't about race.
Posted by Robert Crawford">Robert Crawford  2006-03-10 10:26|| http://www.kloognome.com/]">[http://www.kloognome.com/]  2006-03-10 10:26|| Front Page Top

#14 "I think people should've trusted Bush on this. He's already proven himself a shrewd world leader in the WOT. Doubt he'd be an idiot all of a sudden."

ex-lib:

I was just wondering if you said this with a straight face or is it a unintended attempt at humor?
Posted by Just Curious 2006-03-10 10:36||   2006-03-10 10:36|| Front Page Top

#15 Now, dear Congress, what are you going to do about this?

The National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia
Owners: Government of Saudi Arabia, Saudi individuals and establishments

Head Office Riyadh, KSA

The National Shipping Company of Saudi Arabia (NSCSA) was established in 1979 to meet the transportation needs of Importers and Exporters in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia and other countries in the Middle East.

Marine Terminals:
Baltimore, MD
Halifax, Canada
Newport News, VA
Houston, TX
New Orleans, LA
St. John, Canada
Houston, Texas -- busy, busy port. Lots of oil
Savannah, GA
Wilmington, NC
Port Newark, NJ
Brooklyn, NY

Not to mention the west coast ports operated by the Chinese Army, that was a Clinton deal.

And if Clinton puts together a deal with his friends to get this handover.... well, just askn', you know.
Posted by Sherry 2006-03-10 10:38||   2006-03-10 10:38|| Front Page Top

#16 mom...you should check out yesterday's thread on this one. Man, that was one heated argument. It all boils down to this in my mind:

Yes, I'll admit it...my first GUT instinct was that something was rotten in Denmark over this deal. I ranted about it then. But, then, one very important life lesson hit me between the eyes: The old saying that the left makes decisions based upon feelings, the right makes decisions based upon facts.

Then, I came to hear the real details of this issue. A little from the White House, but more from people like .com, Old Spook, etc., whose opinions I hold in high esteem. Why? Because THEY HAVE BEEN THERE. Then, more details came out about the deal (ya know, this wouldn't affect security one iota, they're only collecting the money, longshoremen/unions will still work the docks, etc.) and I realize this all was a FEELINGS-based decision (pure politics). I've gotta wonder if the backlash would've been so severe in the cartoon-ifada had just occurred? I think not. Of course, the MSM fanning the flames didn't help. I've now come to change my mind on this whole issued based upon the FACTS. Will there be an increased chance of a bomb in a container b/c of this deal? Possibly, but I think it's an infintismally smaller increase than most people think. I always harken back to the Founding Fathers..."Those who would trade liberty for security deserve neither..." And, truly, I really do think that this war is best fought over there...and killing this deal could have backlashes over there (Dubai shutting down its port to American trade/military shipments, anger on the "Arab street" for being discriminated against, etc.) that far outweigh the small increase in the chance a bomb could be set off in one of these ports. But, I guess, the good news is that maybe Halliburton gets another contract...that'll inflame the libs.
Posted by BA 2006-03-10 10:40||   2006-03-10 10:40|| Front Page Top

#17 And the security-over-liberty thinking will help sell the White House plans on Iran.

Shrewd observation, there.

Doesn't Bush understand that prostrating himself before Muslims is bad for his image at home?

Aren't you exaggerating things just a wee bit there, ZF? I'm curious because I haven't seen any sort of inclinations for this upon your own part in the past. While I have accused Bush of improperly appeasing the Iranians with offers of allowing them any sort of nuclear technology, and even though I am uncomfortable with his close business relations with the Saudis, I'd still have a difficult time saying that Bush is "prostrating himself before Muslims".

I do feel that Bush's overemphasis upon religiosity has resulted in far too much leeway being given to Islam, especially in terms of requiring them to clean their own house, but the overall campaign against Islamist terrorism hardly permits any definition of "prostrating".

Should Bush actually come out against the Mohammed cartoons, then I'd apply that label. The State Department's position came perilously close to this, but the Oval Office has yet to lockstep with it, so I'm withholding judgement at this time.
Posted by Zenster 2006-03-10 12:17||   2006-03-10 12:17|| Front Page Top

#18 Oh, look! The racism card!

It ain't about race.


Good catch, RC.
Posted by Zenster 2006-03-10 12:21||   2006-03-10 12:21|| Front Page Top

#19 BA - I'm against this deal based on just a "gut feeling". I too respect the views of those at rantburg and have considered them and as a result I have not commented about why I "feel" it is not a good idea. My feelings are my uniquely my own and have less impact than those with knowledge who "feel" it is a good idea.

However, the question I have is - what's in it for me in backing this deal? Why should I care if this deal falls or stays. I'm supposed to lose sleep if Dubai or Walmart gets this deal? I didn't know or care a month ago, why is it his suddenly be the most pressing issue for me to be concerned that a country with an overaching hostile interest in the United States controls our ports? I don't care. I'm not racist, (and I think that's a disingenuious argument). I just don't think, on gut level, it makes any more sense than the Chinese port deal made in LA. So why should I care if this deal falls or flies in order to soothe egos in Dubai?
Posted by 2b 2006-03-10 12:31||   2006-03-10 12:31|| Front Page Top

#20 wxjames: Such a trade war lead directly to the Great Depression which would still be going on were it not for WW2.

Actually, lousy central bank policy, combined with excessive leverage in the stock market ($9 debt for every $1 of equity, compared to $1:$1 today) and a federal government obsessed with maintaining budget surpluses led to the Great Depression.

Trade isn't necessary for a healthy economy. It is beneficial - but not strictly necessary. A much more important factor is sound domestic economic policy. For most of his existence, Uncle Sam has financed his (i.e. Federal) expenditures via tariffs on imports. This means, of course, that tariffs weren't exactly low. Especially compared to today. And yet the US economy outpaced its competitors to the extent that it is not only the largest economy in the world, and has one of the highest per capita incomes - it achieved this with the highest population growth rate - by far - among the Western powers.

Note that the immediate postwar period wasn't exactly a halcyon period for free trade. We opened up our markets. Europe and Asia closed theirs, with our approval - it was necessary to help prevent their markets from being completely swamped with cheap American goods. And we prospered anyway. (Another interesting fact is that the Federal debt was 130% of our GDP back then, compared to roughly 50% today).
Posted by Zhang Fei 2006-03-10 13:13|| http://timurileng.blogspot.com]">[http://timurileng.blogspot.com]  2006-03-10 13:13|| Front Page Top

#21 "What did you expect? Years of worrying about the next terror strike, acknowledged inadequacies in security all over the place (or the perception thereof), Iran going nuts, Iraq almost going nuts, Afghanistan still not mission accomplished, "Saudis are not our friends", cartoons, Eurabia, Muzzy-first theories... then along comes Mo from the UAE and Joe and Ellen average American are supposed to react with joy? Can't blame the pols really, their livelihood depends on knowing which way the wind's blowing. Sure the MSM plays a large role, but c'mon, they didn't have to work that hard this time."

Cmon, pols stirred the whole pot - including some pols on my side of the aisle (Shame on you Hillary). If they had been sensible, this would never have gotten out of hand.

UAE is still on our side - well sure, it would be silly of them not to be - the minute they say, hey, we like AQ, theyre dead meat.

But if youre AQ, this is useful for propaganda, useful for swaying fence sitters. Of course if youve bought the line that there ARE no fence sitters, that every muslim hates us cause of some line in the Koran, then I suppose that doesnt matter.

Posted by liberalhawk 2006-03-10 13:20||   2006-03-10 13:20|| Front Page Top

#22 This was a panic reaction to a non-issue.

Maybe so but it wasn't borne out of thin air. I'm sorry but you can't have it both ways. Either you're at war and Islam is evil, or you have to tone down the rhetoric. Otherwise, you get the panic response.
Posted by Rafael 2006-03-10 13:40||   2006-03-10 13:40|| Front Page Top

#23 Small point here really but since he was quoted (albeit misidentified) I listened to Frank Lautenberg’s rambling dissertation on this subject. He reminded me of the old man you placate at the family function just so he doesn’t get upset and soil himself. I don’t hail from NJ nor am I a democrat but I get embarrassed for him every time this senile old fool opens his yap.
Posted by DepotGuy 2006-03-10 13:44||   2006-03-10 13:44|| Front Page Top

#24 Cmon, pols stirred the whole pot - including some pols on my side of the aisle (Shame on you Hillary). If they had been sensible, this would never have gotten out of hand.

I give people a little more credit than that. Pols have stirred many a pots before with various degrees of effect. Your side of the aisle does it all the time. This time they didn't have to stir much. Admit it, Americans now have a button that can be pushed.
Posted by Rafael 2006-03-10 13:46||   2006-03-10 13:46|| Front Page Top

#25 Sure theres a button. But its still a question of whether you push it or not.

Sure its a war. And LOTS of muslims are evil. But the ones who arent are essential to our side of the war. And the govt of UAE, though its far from perfect, IS on our side, more so than quite a few other govts over there. As for rhetoric, i dont think Dubya has ever said Islam is evil, and has been lambasted here and in other places for that.

Both sides have pushed hot buttons in the past. Sometimes with response, sometimes not. Im blaming the pols for what they DID do this time. I think the public could have been educable. But when the Congress isnt trying to educate them, only an admin whose credibility is crippled, theyre not going to get educated.
Posted by liberalhawk 2006-03-10 14:34||   2006-03-10 14:34|| Front Page Top

#26 FT.com began censoring via BBC type moderation its discussion site several years ago.
FT regulars moved to:
Serious Topics
Posted by 3dc 2006-03-10 15:24||   2006-03-10 15:24|| Front Page Top

#27 But the ones who arent are essential to our side of the war.

You don't have to convince me of that, but you don't have to look far to see that some people don't believe in the existence of moderate Muslims, for example. Is such rhetoric consistent with allowing UAE to manage US ports? Apparently a lot of people didn't think so.

And the govt of UAE, though its far from perfect, IS on our side, more so than quite a few other govts over there.

True. A case that could have been made stronger, perhaps, if Bush had made a quick stopover in the UAE on his way back from Pakiwakiland. Maybe that would have helped.

As for rhetoric, i dont think Dubya has ever said Islam is evil,

I was refering to some peoples' rhetoric in general, mainly in the blogoshpere. You don't have to look very far, hint hint.

I think the public could have been educable.

Well, again, I give people more credit than that. Some people knew the facts, but still were opposed to this deal, for a milliard of reasons. Just because you disagree with them, doesn't mean they were uneducated.

Basically, now when I look back at the whole ports thing, it's not surprising to me that it turned out the way it did. It was just a natural progression of things and an interesting insight into the current state of the American psyche. Like .com said, a lot of closets have been emptied.
Posted by Rafael 2006-03-10 15:41||   2006-03-10 15:41|| Front Page Top

#28 "I was refering to some peoples' rhetoric in general, mainly in the blogoshpere. You don't have to look very far, hint hint. "

Yah, well, im with you on trying to educate the blogosphere, including the immediate vicinity.


But in all fairness, i dont think you can pin this on RB or LGF. Total eyes they get still isnt that big. Even more mainstream blogs (which were not united on this). Im more inclined to the MSM, both the right (Fox, Wash Times) AND the left, in different ways. And to Bush, who took the right stand, but has lost much credibility. AND to the congress members, who still have SOME credibility, and with exceptions like McCain, IIUC, didnt even try to wield it.

Posted by liberalhawk 2006-03-10 16:28||   2006-03-10 16:28|| Front Page Top

#29 But in all fairness, i dont think you can pin this on RB or LGF...

I don't hang around LGF, and I'm not The Management here at RB, but what moderators I've talked to about this situation seemed to disagree with the general panic and jingoism that the opposition to the port deal had congealed around.
Posted by Phil 2006-03-10 16:35||   2006-03-10 16:35|| Front Page Top

#30 Seething? Burning American (and Israeli) flags?
Posted by gromgoru 2006-03-10 16:39||   2006-03-10 16:39|| Front Page Top

#31 The term "tipping point" in regard to public opinion in this country has been thrown around the net since 9/12. Why shouldn't this be seen as an example that the American public is getting close to reaching the tipping point? (Yes, I'm aware that the pols manipulated certain aspects of the debate, but pols have done that since the country was founded.)
Posted by Crusader 2006-03-10 16:40||   2006-03-10 16:40|| Front Page Top

#32 The Dems won on this one, at least so far, because the President looks "weak," and like his own party is against him, which in turn weakens his foreign image of strength, which benefits the Dems next election. They have a tough time with the national security thing, and they're hoping to disguise that. The port deal was just the thing. In politics, "it's never about what it's about." I hope he can pull out of this one, because the whole thing is frustrating.
Posted by ex-lib 2006-03-10 16:41||   2006-03-10 16:41|| Front Page Top

#33 The only problem Democrats have on National Security is allowing Republicans paint them as "weak" while they promote the "fiction" that they can somehow defend the U.S. better than their counterparts. Historically speaking it is the Democratic Party that is stronger on defense as far as action is concerned. Republican ideas of defending the U.S. is based upon "throwing money at the DOD. Republicans being "stronger on
defense and National Security is a "myth" that the dems need to start exposing.
Posted by Left Angle 2006-03-10 16:52||   2006-03-10 16:52|| Front Page Top

#34 Speaking of emptying the closets... got a live one.
Posted by 6 2006-03-10 17:56||   2006-03-10 17:56|| Front Page Top

#35 Well, it's going to get very dicey here as the election year draws closer. Expect more of the same, on steroids.
Posted by ex-lib 2006-03-10 18:03||   2006-03-10 18:03|| Front Page Top

#36 And LOTS of muslims are evil. But the ones who arent are essential to our side of the war.

I dispute this, liberalhawk. The Muslims who aren't evil really don't matter when it comes to us winning the global war on terrorism. We will win it. Where the Muslims who aren't evil assume any importance is in making sure that they and any other "moderate" Muslims don't wind up DEAD when this world gets f&cking fed up with all of the Islamist atrocities.

So far, they're doing sh!t-all of a job.
Posted by Zenster 2006-03-10 23:07||   2006-03-10 23:07|| Front Page Top

17:08 Eat Pig Shit
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17:11 Drug Me Up Scotty
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15:31 Sirius Dude
23:58 JosephMendiola
23:45 DMFD
23:43 DMFD
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23:07 Zenster
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