Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Dubai: Almost the Perfect Storm

The one thing lost in all the discussions about Dubai is that the Dubai deal does not in any way improve our security. True, its threat to our security is probably not that great but it seems many things that Bush does domestically have a way of nibbling at our national security. The 9/11 Commission made it clear that our ports needed better security and Bush has done more than nothing. After more than four years since 9/11, a number of things have happened that actually make the security of our ports a little less than it was; and then the Dubai deal comes along and although the Dubai deal is more about how it sounds than probably the reality, Bush fails utterly to take the opportunity to tighten port security. And he immediately sends his staff to the 24/7 spin bunkers instead of dealing with the issue.

William Rivers Pitt of Truthout gives us his take on the Dubai deal:
The flap over the United Arab Emirates taking control of several American ports, the subject of much hot talk over the last several days, is born of several factors. It is only partially about global economics. America's trade relationship with the UAE is the third largest in the Middle East after Saudi Arabia and Israel, so the gospel of "free trade" is definitely in play.

This flap is also only partially about national security. There is, of course, concern that a nation connected to the 9/11 attacks will manage several vital entry points to the country. There is also the quid pro quo aspect to this deal; the UAE docks more American warships than any other Middle Eastern nation, and the thinking apparently goes that if they can do this safely, they can manage ports over here.

By the by, this UAE deal is also about standard issue straight-out-of-central-casting Bush administration cronyism. Two major players in the establishment of this deal were John Snow and David Sanborn. Snow, the Treasury Secretary, was chairman of the CSX railroad firm before joining the administration. In 2004, CSX sold its international port operations to Dubai Ports World, the UAE-backed company tapped to run our ports, for $1.15 billion. Sanborn used to run Dubai Ports World's European and Latin American operations. He was tapped last month by Bush to head the US Maritime Administration. Convenient, that.

So there's some economics, some national security concern, and some good old fashioned insider horse trading going on here....
A further development today is that Bush knew more about the problems New Orleans might face before Hurricane Katrina hit than he led us to believe and yet he still went ahead during those crucial days and did nothing; we truly have reached a point when decisions on important issues cannot be left entirely in the hands of our incompetent president. Congress has to be more involved and if the Republicans are not willing to stand up to Bush, and one has to wonder why not, we need to send a majority of Democrats to Congress this fall.


Anonymous kmilyun said...

I am glad to see that the CSX connection is finally hitting the blogoshere. Knowing 20+ year Sea Captain for Sealand, CSX.. the awarness of these financial ties and the economic aspects have been a major topic of conversation. Many blogs have confused CXS Lines with CSX Terminal to tie the Bush and Laden families into this.

I would be remiss of me not to thank you for including an excerpt of my post.
Thank you

11:49 PM  

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