Opinion – 3/10/2006

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 10, 2006

The Panolian: OPINIONS

 From the 3/10/06 issue of The Panolian :                 
Without a doubt, ports deal just dumb

For folks who appeared to be such maestros at manipulating public perceptions, the White House crowd has suddenly turned completely politically tone deaf.

The current furor over a United Arab Emirates owned company’s plan to buy a British firm which manages six of the United States’ largest port terminals was as predictable as the sun’s rising in the morning. It doesn’t matter if the UAE-owned Dubai Ports World is as innocent as a lamb and the finest ports-managing company in the world (which it may be), when the U.S. is "at war" against "fundamentalist Islamic terrorism" and the administration has spent five years scaring the American public absolutely to death about anything Arab-related, those same people are necessarily not going to react well to news that an Arab country-owned company is now going to be running ports in New York, Newark, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Miami and New Orleans.

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And by the way, all the current ranting and raving notwithstanding, that’s almost certainly what’s going to end up happening when all’s said and done. Despite a now-ordered 45-day additional government review of the business deal, you own it; when the two parties agree on their transaction, Dubai will own the ports management contract. So even if the additional review turns up founded concerns and even if the president is convinced to back off his inexplicable support for it, the only U.S. recourse at that point would be to sue in court-a pretty dubious proposition.

This whole thing simply boggles the mind. It is at least questionable policy and may turn out to be bad policy, but is certainly just terrible politics from any possible angle. From Katrina to Iraq to now this, it more and more appears to the American people that everybody is out to lunch, that nobody is at the rudder of the ship of state.

And as this administration — often to foster its own ends — has been so wont to tell us, the world is simply too dangerous a place for that.

(Editor’s note: Guest editorial, Deer Creek Pilot)


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