Editore"s Note
Tilting at Windmills

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February 24, 2006
By: Kevin Drum

DEALING WITH DUBAI....Michael Ledeen says that there's a longstanding and well accepted way of handling things like the Dubai port deal. Here's his recommendation:

  1. Create an American company to handle the matter (if foreigners wish to buy in, or even buy it, that's ok);

  2. Wall off the foreign investors/owners. They are silent partners. They have no say in the actual operation;

  3. Create a "classified Board" composed of people with security clearances and experience in sensitive matters;

  4. Appoint a CEO and other top executives with experience and clearances.

This is....surprisingly....reasonable. Did Ledeen really write it, or someone posing as him?

Not that it really matters, of course, since the DPW/P&O deal is now the Terri Schiavo of corporate acquisitions: plainly dead, even though there are still a few people kidding themselves into thinking the occasional twitch is a genuine sign of life. If Congress passes legislation making this official, and Bush vetoes it (unlikely), I figure a veto override vote of about 90-10 in the Senate and 400-35 in the House. Even Republicans who typically win their seats with 70% of the vote realize that this is an issue that could force them back into the cold, unforgiving hands of the private sector come November.

The real answer, I imagine, is for the deal to go through but for DPW to sell off its American operations to some other company. They'd have to sell at a fire sale price, but that's the price of fame sometimes. Sic transit and all that.

Kevin Drum 7:16 PM Permalink | Trackbacks | Comments (93)

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Comments

They got our dollars, let them buy our port.

Posted by: Matt on February 24, 2006 at 7:25 PM | PERMALINK

But none of those steps allows for any friends of W to get rich, so they are a non-starter.

Plus, it requires people who know what they are doing. That's two strikes.

Posted by: craigie on February 24, 2006 at 7:26 PM | PERMALINK

They got our dollars, let them buy our port.

It amuses me to think that the one single time that Congress may want to stand up to the King, they may well be wrong on the merits. Ironic, or what?

Posted by: craigie on February 24, 2006 at 7:27 PM | PERMALINK

Yes! Yes! A "classified board" made up of people like Baker and Cheney!

Better yet, broker a friendly buy-out of the US operations by a pre-qualified acquirer -- such as the People's Republic of China (Via COSCO).

Ot think big: maybe we can get PRC/COSCO to buy the whole of Dubai Ports World ... or even the entire Emirate!

Posted by: RonK, Seattle on February 24, 2006 at 7:29 PM | PERMALINK

"The real answer, I imagine, is for the deal to go through but for DPW to sell off its American operations to some other company. They'd have to sell at a fire sale price, but that's the price of fame sometimes. Sic transit and all that."

Wouldn't it be ironic if the above were to happen that the Chinese (via COSCO) become the buyers? After all, they already have us by the short and curlies with all the US treasuries they've been piling up. I suppose then the concern for port security will lessen.

Posted by: eponymous on February 24, 2006 at 7:34 PM | PERMALINK

Bah - RonK, Seattle beat me to the punch...

Posted by: eponymous on February 24, 2006 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

Funny you; should mention the Terry Schiavo fiasco. That was another political flareup where appearances generated a strong emotional response that didn't stand up to logical scrutiny. But in that situation the Republicans played up the emotional reaction, denying a logical analysis for their political gain. Ditto for partial birth abortion WMD's in Iraq, the Hussein-Al Qaeda connection, etc. etc.

How can the Republicans expect to win on logic and thoughtful analysis when they've trained their base to lunge at red meat?

Posted by: Rick on February 24, 2006 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

And then we can proceed unhindered with arms sales to the UAE and other Taliban-friendly governments.

Posted by: muulch on February 24, 2006 at 7:36 PM | PERMALINK

How can the Republicans expect to win on logic and thoughtful analysis

When has this been their goal? Seriously. In the sixties, it was the commies in Asia. Then it was commies in Latin America. Now it's brown people in the Middle East.

Without bogey men, they've got nothing to say. "Vote for us, we'll make you poorer and sicker" just doesn't have much appeal.

Posted by: craigie on February 24, 2006 at 7:44 PM | PERMALINK

At least some of the knowledgeable people I've heard comment on the whole deal (such as a merchant ship captain) say that the Dubai company is actually very good at running port operations. Their value is not as silent investors; it's as knowledgeable owners with actual skills. Which probably matters a great deal, as American ports are rapidly fading in quality and efficiency compared to overseas facilities.

Posted by: Shelby on February 24, 2006 at 7:46 PM | PERMALINK

Without bogey men, they've got nothing to say. "Vote for us, we'll make you poorer and sicker" just doesn't have much appeal.

And you'd think the teeming mils would finally catch on to this. But no, as a modern-day P.T. might say, "There's a dumb motherfucker born every minute."

Well, it rhymed with "sucker."

Posted by: shortstop on February 24, 2006 at 7:47 PM | PERMALINK

Which probably matters a great deal, as American ports are rapidly fading in quality and efficiency compared to overseas facilities.

Yes, but we wouldn't want something as compelling as business logic and economic fundamentals to get in the way of pandering to xenophobia, now would we? And heck, while we're at it, let's not waste this opportunity to alienate one of the few western-oriented governments in the Middle East -- Lord knows we've got a surfeit of dependable allies in the region and won't miss the loss of one or two of them.

Posted by: jacqui on February 24, 2006 at 7:50 PM | PERMALINK
Their value is not as silent investors; it's as knowledgeable owners with actual skills. Which probably matters a great deal, as American ports are rapidly fading in quality and efficiency compared to overseas facilities.

You know, if critical infrastructure wasn't outsourced, there'd probably be a huge demand for knowledge transfer from people who knew how to run ports well to domestic port operators.

Posted by: cmdicely on February 24, 2006 at 7:52 PM | PERMALINK

Right on, jacqui. If those nasty Dems weren't so busy alienating the Middle East, we could really have been getting somewhere the last five years. And those dumbass libs know so little about business logic that they expect deals like this to go through the usual legal and procedural channels! Sheesh!

Posted by: shortstop on February 24, 2006 at 7:53 PM | PERMALINK

The way I'm reading the press release, the deal goes through but UAE's corporate operational takeover activity of the part of the company the runs the U.S. port is delayed.

In other words, another virtuous lie. And the herd is buying it - including the readers of this blog.

Posted by: JohnnyTrumpet on February 24, 2006 at 7:54 PM | PERMALINK

Well, jacqui, in fairness I have some concerns about Dubai in general, and I don't mind giving this deal some close scrutiny and considering whether some outside controls on management would be helpful. Dubai went to the trouble of formally recognizing the Taliban, and has a reputation as a great meeting point for international criminals and mafiosi-types. But I don't know how much that pertains to the company in question.

My hackles were also raised when Bush said "just trust me" about the whole thing. Yes, we need to show we're NOT hypocritical on doing business and allowing buyouts by Middle Easterners, but it's perfectly reasonable to go slow and get everyone on board.

I'm particularly annoyed that what could probably have been a wise bargain all the way 'round got screwed up, mainly by the Bush administration's failure to anticipate the inevitable reaction. Many of the critics are being purely opportunistic, but they only have any traction because this deal was not properly sold to either Congress or the public.

Posted by: Shelby on February 24, 2006 at 7:56 PM | PERMALINK

And you'd think the teeming mils would finally catch on to this.

I think they miss it, because I forgot the rest of the slogan: "And while you're going broke, no fags will get together and ruin your marriage."

Seems to work every time.

Posted by: craigie on February 24, 2006 at 8:01 PM | PERMALINK

Shelby:

Very good comments, both of them. It's been my impression as well.

Had Bush gone through the proper channels to begin with, most of this flap would have been obviated months ago.

Of course, the idea of DPW keeping its transaction records off of US soil is unconscionable and should be changed.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 24, 2006 at 8:07 PM | PERMALINK

Shelby:

Speaking of colorful international figures on the streets of Dubai -- Michael Jackon's spotted all the time in a burkha by the tabloids :)

His kids in baby burkhas are an even more ... interesting phenomenon.

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 24, 2006 at 8:10 PM | PERMALINK

It's very clear
Our love is here to stay
Not for a year
But 'til we're threatened by gays...

...in time the Rockies may crumble
Gibraltar may tumble
They're only made of clay
And our love can't coexist with gays

Posted by: shortstop on February 24, 2006 at 8:11 PM | PERMALINK

I haven't followed any revelations of the last day or so, but my impression had been that proper channels *were* used, in vetting up to this point. That doesn't immunize against public or congressional reaction, though. And Bush's high-handedness when a reaction got started only fueled the fire.

Essentially, the problem isn't (in this case) failure to use proper channels; it's inept PR. Which has been one of MY biggest beefs with Bush's administration all along.

Posted by: Shelby on February 24, 2006 at 8:12 PM | PERMALINK

And those dumbass libs know so little about business logic that they expect deals like this to go through the usual legal and procedural channels! Sheesh!

I agree with you about "those dumbass libs" and economics -- one expects the usual luddite bellyaching and demagoguing from the Wal-Mart is Satan quarter (especially when there are points to be scored against the White House). But for Repubs to be pandering too, really is cause for a "sheesh"! We haven't had governance quite this ignorant and politically craven since before the Civil War.

Posted by: jacqui on February 24, 2006 at 8:13 PM | PERMALINK

And our love can't coexist with gays

Very droll. I think one of the contestants sang that last night on American Idol. I mean, it's Fox, right?

Posted by: craigie on February 24, 2006 at 8:15 PM | PERMALINK

pssssst...there truly is one born every minute...

Posted by: shortstop on February 24, 2006 at 8:18 PM | PERMALINK

I'd been over at The Corner earlier, and read that. And thought, "Wish they had comments, so I could tell Michael Ledeen that I actually agree with him on something."

Posted by: RT on February 24, 2006 at 8:19 PM | PERMALINK

Ledeen did indeed recommend this course of action in an NPR interview broadcast (in the San Francisco Bay Area at least) Thursday evening. (It may have been a repeat of Michael Krasny's show from earlier in the day. The first interviewee was Barbara Boxer.)

Posted by: Rene' on February 24, 2006 at 8:21 PM | PERMALINK

The premise is that you can wall off the money. That's just not going to happen. The current structure was supposed to provide security, it turned into a rubber stamp. Problem is that we have to sell our whole damn country to pay for these tax cuts and this is part of it.

Posted by: Mad Blogger on February 24, 2006 at 8:29 PM | PERMALINK

Hey alright!

Kevin acknowledges, even if a bit too begrudingly, the lay of the political landscape.

Now Kevin, please don't feel obligated to lament how bad it will make the United States look in the Islamic world to have rejected a contract to allow corrupt, undemocratic, and not-so-long-ago friends of the Taliban and OBL who currently rule the UAE oversee the operation of US ports.

Please remember Abu Ghraib, Guantanamo, Willy Pete in Fallujah, "Bring 'em on", Bush's references to crusades, etc., etc., before caving in to any such drivel. Bush's arrogance, recklessness, and disregard for human rights got us here -- NOT the country's overwhelming rejection of yet another corrupt, crony-filled deal (with terrorist connections to boot) that goes to one of the most sensitive areas of our infrastructure.

Is Malkin a racist idiot? Yes. Does that mean she's always invariably wrong? No.

Fight the urge to paint this into a "oh it's too bad the vast majority of ordinary folks in this country don't know what's good for them..." FIGHT IT!! The good folks of Peoria are right about this. Fuck the Financial Times.

Posted by: Sean on February 24, 2006 at 8:37 PM | PERMALINK

Don't discount the paranoid Rove-is-behind-this possibility: it's about bolstering the GOP for this fall--if they show that they have the stones to stand up to Bush, they remove one reason to put Dems in charge. This may have been designed to let Bush take one for the team so the GOP can keep from losing Congress this year.

Posted by: Some Dude on February 24, 2006 at 8:42 PM | PERMALINK

DPW is widely regarded as the best company in the world in this industry. If they're not involved in the actual operation of the port, the deal makes no sense at all. They're not looking for a passive investment or simple prestige. They want to operate the port because they're good at operating ports, which is precisely why we should want them to take an active role. National security cannot be used as cover for economic protectionism.

Posted by: FXKLM on February 24, 2006 at 8:49 PM | PERMALINK

jacqui: I agree with you about "those dumbass libs" and economics -- one expects the usual luddite bellyaching and demagoguing from the Wal-Mart is Satan quarter

Yeah, some dumbass libs don't even believe in Dark Matter or the Tooth Fairy.

Budget deficits, trade deficits, they don't matter. Sheesh, how 20th century - this is a new economy!

Posted by: alex on February 24, 2006 at 8:53 PM | PERMALINK
DPW is widely regarded as the best company in the world in this industry. If they're not involved in the actual operation of the port, the deal makes no sense at all. They're not looking for a passive investment or simple prestige. They want to operate the port because they're good at operating ports, which is precisely why we should want them to take an active role. National security cannot be used as cover for economic protectionism.

FXKLM nails it! You liberals think that the American people are willing to surrender their pocketbooks for security. Well, you're just plain wrong. DPW is the most efficient operator that's out there, and we should welcome them and their cost-cutting. More money in our pockets means more spending! Honestly, I'll just never understand liberals.

Posted by: HappyConservative on February 24, 2006 at 8:56 PM | PERMALINK

some dude, that would be a sign of the desperation rove & co. are feeling, which does not make them the geniuses everyone makes them out to be. in fact, the whole idea of rove as genius does not fly in the face of bushco's polls nowadays....

Posted by: new yorker on February 24, 2006 at 9:03 PM | PERMALINK

So, if the most efficient operator of arms manufacturing is Iran, then we should welcome them and their cost cutting?

Right, Happy Conservative?

Posted by: Garuda on February 24, 2006 at 9:04 PM | PERMALINK
You see, I have faith in free trade because I have faith in the American worker. When trade is free and fair, Americans can beat the competition fair and square. -- George H.W. Bush, Apr. 25, 1992

Not as port operators and that is a bloody shame.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on February 24, 2006 at 9:05 PM | PERMALINK

muulch

UAE is already purchased
Military Arms from us.
fighter jets, blackhawks ,etc
I believe it was CNN who reported it.

But then they make money off the war also.
We pay the Carlyal Group for our Military
Equipment. The UAE and Bush Sr are the big
stockholders there. Bush Jr will inherit
money made off the weapons for this war and
Cheney is makeing money from feeding the troops.
Funny how this war is not good for the
American people. But are makeing its elected
Leaders the kind of money King Midas would
have envied.

Posted by: Honey P on February 24, 2006 at 9:06 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin,

I am a Chinese mega-investor who represents a consortium of investment dollars.

We'd love to help support M. Ledeen's point of view.

Which is to say:
We are earnest with our earnest money.
(ancient Chinese wisdom.)

But here is what we want to know:

Will your country prevent us from making this investment as it did with our attempts to buy Unocal?

Posted by: who flung doo on February 24, 2006 at 9:11 PM | PERMALINK

"They want to operate the port because they're good at operating ports."

And Halliburton et. al. was widely regarded as the best/only provider of various services needed in the reconstruction of Iraq.

Yep, you can't go wrong when you pay top dollar for the Bush network of cronies!

And thank goodness there's no artificial manipulation going on -- it's all just pure allocative efficiency! Cool, calm allocative efficiency... with kickbacks.

Posted by: Sean on February 24, 2006 at 9:12 PM | PERMALINK

Is Malkin a racist idiot? Yes. Does that mean she's always invariably wrong? No.

Oh, so close! The correct answer was, in fact, "yes".

Better luck next time.

Posted by: craigie on February 24, 2006 at 9:21 PM | PERMALINK

Honey P: Funny how this war is not good for the American people. But is making its elected Leaders the kind of money King Midas would have envied.

Maj. Gen. Smedley Butler (USMC) had that one pegged a long time ago, when he wrote the pamphlet War Is A Racket.

Posted by: alex on February 24, 2006 at 9:27 PM | PERMALINK


FXKLM is right. On another note, for a Muslim city, Dubai is not only economically savvy, but also cosmopolitan.. supposedly, prostitution thrives in Dubai.



Posted by: Andy on February 24, 2006 at 9:27 PM | PERMALINK

And Halliburton et. al. was widely regarded as the best/only provider of various services needed in the reconstruction of Iraq...Yep, you can't go wrong when you pay top dollar for the Bush network of cronies!

There's nothing cronyish about the Dubai firm. As has been reported, DPW is likely the world's leading manager of port infrastructure, and manages facilities in such countries as Germany, Australia and South Korea.

This is plain-old, paranoid, xenophobic protectionism, pure and simple.

Posted by: jacqui on February 24, 2006 at 9:42 PM | PERMALINK

Andy: ...supposedly, prostitution thrives in Dubai.

And this is good? Why? And why would Repubs think it is a good idea and sign of a wealthy economy?

The Right gets weirder and weirder everyday.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on February 24, 2006 at 9:44 PM | PERMALINK

I'm don't think this is a good deal on the merits.

If you work for a company, you know that the boss is not always right, but he's always the boss. I don't care how "walled off" he is. And this particular set of bosses is subject to blackmail from people who manifestly want us dead.

I think we should err on the side of caution.

I'm not convinced by the Chinese argument. First, two wrongs don't make a right. Second, they have not been swapping spit with the Taliban recently.

The public is rarely as wrong as you think they are. Common sense says, to speak bluntly, don't let Arabs anywhere near your ports.

The Bush administration is concerned about Arab public opinion? After they've driven it into the sand like a tent pole?

Excuse me for not wanting the Taliban and Al Qaeda bring containerized cargo into the U.S.

The risk may be low, but it's not worth taking.

Posted by: Steve High on February 24, 2006 at 9:46 PM | PERMALINK

jacqui: This is plain-old, paranoid, xenophobic protectionism, pure and simple.

And it's gonna really burn when elections are won due to it.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on February 24, 2006 at 9:47 PM | PERMALINK

So, Craigie, you determine your position on an issue by finding out what Malkin thinks and then taking the opposite position?

Although I'll admit that you may wind up in a good place 99% of the time with that approach, that's hardly an analytically sound way of getting there.

(By the way, it's not about the Emirs being Arab. It's about the fact that they've shown themselves to be chummy with the Taliban and OBL when its in their interests. Oh, and that they're corrupt (BCCI) and laden with BushCo cronies.)

Posted by: Sean on February 24, 2006 at 10:02 PM | PERMALINK

Ledeen?

Why pay attention to this guy, right or wrong on a given issue?

I recognize the rhetorical device of "even the batshit-crazy, ethnic-chauvinist PUTZ Ledeen thinks so!"...

And I know such rhetorical moves are especially beloved by moderate, liberal hawks - like our host...

But jeez...do jerks like Ledeen EVER lose their license to spout bullshit and have people pay attention? Please. He deserves so much worse than he'll ever receive, can't we just ignore him, forever?

Posted by: luci on February 24, 2006 at 10:05 PM | PERMALINK

So Bush hypes irrational hatred for Islam anytime he needs re-election or support, then attempts to down play it or render it insignificant when he unawaringly supports suddenly dealing with them business-like. He chooses to use hate, then thinks he can turn it on and off like a switch. This is funny. What goes around, comes around. This was bound to happen. Always does when money over-rules morality.

Posted by: MRB on February 24, 2006 at 10:07 PM | PERMALINK

Kevin says, "I figure a veto override vote of about 90-10 in the Senate and 400-35 in the House."

Override, Schmoverride! Right now young Republican lawyers are crafting a new Constitutional tool that will be known as, "Double Overrideseys and NO BACKS!" Others will call it the NewNukuler Option. Bush will make it the law of the land by presidential fiat.

Posted by: geo on February 24, 2006 at 10:07 PM | PERMALINK

Why can't we learn from the Republicans?

Put good sense and fine arguments aside and go for blood:

9/11 TAUGHT US THAT AMERICAN PORTS SHOULD BE OWNED AND OPERATED BY AMERICANS

Jingoistic, yes
Anti-globalist, yes
A political winner that will keep on giving, YES, YES, YES

What is wrong with Bushco that it hasn't MADE SURE PORTS ARE OWNED AND OPERATED BY AMERICANS?

But ports were managed by foreigners before 9/11? A feeble argument, THAT WAS BEFORE 9/11.

This is a small issue with big political payoff. Kind of like partial birth abortions and flag-burning amendments.

Sorry for all the caps, but screw good government. It is high time to start winning elections. Play this one right and the Republicans will beat a humiliating retreat while the Democrats look like the guys who keep us safe.


Posted by: tomtom on February 24, 2006 at 10:10 PM | PERMALINK

I like it, tomtom.

Meanwhile, if you can stand it live:
http://kmhd.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=19&Itemid=70

20k is good. Be kind.

Posted by: MRB on February 24, 2006 at 10:14 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, Jacqui, no cronies here. Presuming that a BushCo deal is tainted by cronyism just because the key actors have direct ties to the firm that stands to make mega $$ from the contract is, like, totally unjustified.

http://www.truthout.org/docs_2006/022206Z.shtml

Posted by: Sean on February 24, 2006 at 10:19 PM | PERMALINK

You know, after all the discussion I've seen on this issue I'm still smack in the middle where I started.

I see good arguments on both sides. I also see a lot of hyperventilating. I mean jesus -- *we* used to swap spit with the Taliban pre-9/11. We gave 'em props for cutting opium production way down, remember?

I see rabid free market fundamentalists I'd ordinarily tune out like jacqui making good, fact-based points about DPW's rep in other countries. I see this point corrobrated by others -- some who actually live and work in the region.

It just doesn't add up that a wealthy oil emirate would support a terrorist attack on us -- which would mean an instant threat to his regime -- maybe his life.

There's also the argument that the UAE might be more able to screen for jihadis, having had more direct experience with them.

Then there's the argument that the Port of Dubai is a notorious smuggling nexus, the place where fugitives go to disappear.

Do we need oversight? Hell yes. We need American managers who sign off on all the operational decisions and have archive copies of the cargo manifests. Many of the criticisms of the way the deal's been handled have been dead-on.

What I'm not so thrilled about is the idea that we Dems can leverage the raw jingoism and xenophobia this issue has kicked up to our political advantage -- that if we just learn how to *think* like Rove, we'll start *winning* like Rove. I find this kind of reasoning vaguely repulsive over an issue this important.

Our country is being sold down the river to finance the Bush deficit. We don't *have* American companies with the requisite expertise; if the deal doesn't go down with Dubai, Singapore's next in line ... so the idea of keeping our ports American is great -- but a non-starter regardles of your ideology. That's just the way it is.

My gut tells me the deal is going to go through. Bush is going to massage Congress and DPW is going to make some contract adjustments on the margins to accomodate some -- but not all -- of the criticism. At the end of the day we'll fold. The transaction's just too important a part of our economy.

Will be be less safe as a result? I'm inclined to doubt it. The only thing that could come out of this is an enhanced focus on the security of our ports.

Which, given the famous attention span of the American people, will last exactly until this deal is off the front pages.

And until we suffer another attack on our shores.

*fucking sigh*

Bob

Posted by: rmck1 on February 24, 2006 at 10:26 PM | PERMALINK

While it's good to focus on it and there are concerns with why Americans can't seem to compete and win these type of contracts, there is probably nothing realistically wrong with the UAE deal-just business. We will have to deal business-wise with the mideast. But Bush can't have both sides of the rhetoric. His hate constituency can't be wound up against Muslims one day and then the next day it's: let's make contractual business deals with them. If they can quickly adjust for diverse directions at his whim like this then they probably are truly ready for 1984 realism and fascism. He's got them by the irrational balls. Just twist a certain way and they'll fall in line with whatever.

Posted by: MRB on February 24, 2006 at 11:01 PM | PERMALINK

Several years ago I worked for a defense contractor which sold out to a Dutch company. The foreign company maintained their contract, but the they formed a totally American and independent board of directors to oversee the American operations. Seems reasonable to me.

Posted by: fred on February 24, 2006 at 11:09 PM | PERMALINK

rmck1: What I'm not so thrilled about is the idea that we Dems can leverage the raw jingoism and xenophobia this issue has kicked up to our political advantage

Neither jingoism nor xenophobia is a necessary part of this. Saying that something as critical to security as port operations should be handled by Americans is just common sense.

Nobody is saying that we should invade the UAE, break off trade or diplomatic relations with them, restrict travel, or even make fun of their camel racing.

We don't *have* American companies with the requisite expertise

Are you sure? And even if not, why can't we develop the expertise. Wanna hire some consultants from the UAE or Singapore? No problem. But it should be an American operation. I'm perfectly happen to let the UAE run the port of Dubai. It should be reciprocal.

Posted by: alex on February 24, 2006 at 11:09 PM | PERMALINK

Sic transit and all that.

You get no extra street cred' for that Kevin.

Posted by: elmo on February 24, 2006 at 11:11 PM | PERMALINK

There you go again alex, being rational, practical, commonsensical and shit...word.

Posted by: elmo on February 24, 2006 at 11:18 PM | PERMALINK

elmo,

You're the first person that ever accused me of being rational.

Posted by: alex on February 24, 2006 at 11:23 PM | PERMALINK

Sorry, your guilty!

Posted by: elmo on February 24, 2006 at 11:38 PM | PERMALINK

Yeah, sounds reasonable. Except that there are US investors that are even less trustworthy than any arab sheikh. Just imagine, say, Jack Abramoff running that business...

Posted by: Gray on February 24, 2006 at 11:41 PM | PERMALINK

oops, typo, of course I wanted to write 'ruining' :D

Posted by: Gray on February 24, 2006 at 11:43 PM | PERMALINK

Secret deals being cut with the Saudis, who woulda thunk it.

Is it too late to give Micheal Moore a retractive
Oscar?

Posted by: lefty on February 24, 2006 at 11:51 PM | PERMALINK

I see the "association" with the Taliban has been the #1 talking point.

So the US trained the Taliban in terrorist techniques, the US financed them. The US gave them Stinger missiles, several of which are still unaccounted for (and several of which were used by US allies to shoot down commerical airliners), and after they came to power, the US were their principal financial benefactor. And that's all good.

But god forbid one of their neighbors "recognize" them as the legitimate government. Even though they drove out a foreign occupying power and won a civil war and had popular support. People that win civil wars and have the support of their public are usually recognized as a country's legitimate rulers.

So a bunch of know-nothing American "uber-patriots" spin a scanty web of innuendo and irrelevancies to manufacture a smear on a country that know nothing about.

And you wonder why the rest of the world hates you.

Posted by: bartman on February 25, 2006 at 12:28 AM | PERMALINK

From an AP story...

Thomas Kean, a former Republican governor of New Jersey who led the bipartisan probe of the Sept. 11 attacks, said the deal was a big mistake because of past connections between the 2001 hijackers and the UAE.

"It shouldn't have happened, it never should have happened," Kean said in a telephone interview with The Associated Press.

The quicker the Bush administration can get out of the deal, the better, he said. "There's no question that two of the 9/11 hijackers came from there and money was laundered through there," Kean said.

From a UPI story...
"The Coast Guard oversees security, and they have the authority to inspect containers if they want and they can look at manifests, but they are really dependent on facility operators to carry out security issues," Muldoon said.

The Marine Transportation Security Act of 2002 requires vessels and port facilities to conduct vulnerability assessments and develop security plans including passenger, vehicle and baggage screening procedures; security patrols; establishing restricted areas; personnel identification procedures; access control measures; and/or installation of surveillance equipment.

Under the same law, port facility operators may have access to Coast Guard security incident response plans -- that is, they would know how the Coast Guard plans to counter and respond to terrorist attacks.

--------------
Opposing this deal is not xenophobia. It's prudence and common sense.

Posted by: Richard on February 25, 2006 at 12:54 AM | PERMALINK

Gee, we're lucky an Arab nation outbid the Chinese communists to manage American ports, including two US Army ports. Imagine if the Chinese had won!

Good thing that control of US ports was for whatever reason valuable to those Arab emirs. Good thing the Arabs could afford to buy the use of our port facilities with our oil dollars, otherwise the Commies would be running our ports.

And yet ... That wouldn't have been a problem, right - if the Chinese had outbid the Arabs? It's just business, it has nothing to do with security.

Let's put the Secret Service functions up for the high bidders too. Let's see who gets the contract to protect the President - the Arabs or the Chinese. Let the high bidder win the contract, that's common sense.

These international capitalist oil oligarchs have lost all sense of what security is.

Posted by: putnam on February 25, 2006 at 1:15 AM | PERMALINK

Oy! Neil Bush, Dubai, & ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement)

Oh, and Chuckles/Charlie/Cheney,
You? Lecturing on logical fallacy? LOL!

Posted by: Apollo 13 on February 25, 2006 at 1:19 AM | PERMALINK

Saying that something as critical to security as port operations should be handled by Americans is just common sense.

Didn't 9/11 teach us that airlines are also pretty important to security? Yet we regularly have non-American airlines fly non-American planes piloted by non-American crews landing at American airports. Hell, you can even fly Emirates Airlines (international airline of the UAE) right into JFK.

You want to stop that, too?

Posted by: Anonymous on February 25, 2006 at 1:35 AM | PERMALINK

Cheney, I agree. We should invite the United Arab Emirates - and the Chinese who were the second-highest bidders for the ports, and also any other interested countries - to bid to replace the U.S. Secret Service in providing protection of the President.

We'll call the selected vendor the Praetorian Guard.

Any opposition to this common sense proposal would be racist right?

Posted by: markets man on February 25, 2006 at 1:41 AM | PERMALINK

Only an idiot would argue that there aren't more than two terrorists in Britain. There just weren't any on the four airliners that killed 3,000 people on September 11, 2001. It's a subtle distinction.

Posted by: secularhuman on February 25, 2006 at 2:38 AM | PERMALINK

So what all you fair-minded UAE backers are saying is that the UAE is going to go terrist if we DON'T stuff more billions into their already overstuffed pockets?

Posted by: secularhuman on February 25, 2006 at 2:43 AM | PERMALINK

National security cannot be used as cover for economic protectionism.

Posted by: FXKLM on February 24, 2006 at 8:49 PM | PERMALINK

Is there no end to the fatuous bullshit you clowns come up with? Do you think Pete King and Curt Weldon and the majority of Republican reps who are screaming about this deal are high-fiving each other in private because they've got a shot at making labor unions happy?
``It's kneejerk xenophobia.''
``It's racism.''
``It's economic protectionism.''
Saps....

Posted by: secularhuman on February 25, 2006 at 2:52 AM | PERMALINK

Cheney/Charlie/Chuckles:...is it incorrect to point out that tarring an entire country because of the actions of 1 or 2 of its citizens is a perfect example of hasty generalization?

Well, Chuckles. You evidently disagree with Repub Tom Kean so give him a buzz about his logical fallacy. While you're at it, inform Congressman Pete King (R-NY), Chairman of the House Committee on Homeland Security, and a bunch of Repubs who agree with him. King's press release states:

The measures taken by the Department of Treasury and other agencies involved are clearly inadequate, King said. This company is coming out of a country that has had a strong Al Qaeda presence. In this post 9/11 world, we cannot consider approving this contract until a much more thorough investigation takes place on this security matter.

King is also bothered about whether anyone in DP was ever involved in or sympathized with the Taliban since the UAE was one of only three countries that supported that regime. Check out King's video clip interview with CNN for more details. You may have more logical fallacies you might want to take up with King. LOL!

As for the UAE, I personally think taking the time to thoroughly investigate the DP deal is prudent and worthy of congressional oversight. We've already had too many "slam dunks." I don't like the secret plan that waives DP from keeping business records on U.S. soil, and thus, avoiding court orders, plus exempting them from other SOP requirements that are routine for U.S. approvals of foreign sales in other industries. What makes DP so special? Revamping Exon-Florio would be a good thing, too. I would also like to uncover any conflicts of interest in the Administration to see whose pockets are being lined by DP if any. The Carlyle Group has already benefitted from an $8 billion investment made last year from Dubai. Inquiring minds wanna know.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on February 25, 2006 at 2:56 AM | PERMALINK

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Posted by: Donald on February 25, 2006 at 3:01 AM | PERMALINK

ROTL! Chuckles/Charlie/Cheney remains the same. To what Dubya sayeth, Chuckles stands and cheers, clapping obediently. Getting your nose out Dubya's bum, Chuckles, will greatly improve your posture. ; )

LOL!

Posted by: Apollo 13 on February 25, 2006 at 4:44 AM | PERMALINK

Sensible?

So it is sensible to effectively "nationalise" the operating leases of all US ports (or only ones being bid on by dirty Ay-rabs) based on hand-waving shrieking about "security" whose weak points have fuck all to do with the capital ownership?

You grow dimmer as time goes by, Drum.

Regardless, the hysterical idiocy that is this crisis is profoundly damaging to the US as a destination of FDI

Posted by: collounsbury on February 25, 2006 at 5:02 AM | PERMALINK

You left off point 5: Invade Iran and Syria.

Posted by: clark on February 25, 2006 at 8:42 AM | PERMALINK

Strangely enough, I happen to agree with Bob and Apollo on this, let me take a minute and write this day down on the calendar. The Sr. VP for P&O stated last night that his company is willing to slow down the peocess in order to accomodate the 45 day investigation period, yet I am still uneasy. Bob's arguments of why this could be a good thing are true and I will add that the US military's largest seaport presence outside of this country is in the UAE. If they had intentions of harming us, they wouldn't even have to leave home. However Apollo has some equally good arguments to the contrary. I certainly agree that all records need to be available for review at any time.

In the end, I think this deal gets done and strict oversight and constant monitoring combined with constant patrols from the Port Authority and Coast Guard may alleviate the unease. If this does further our relationship with the "peaceful" Arab community, then it could be a win-win.

Posted by: Jay on February 25, 2006 at 9:41 AM | PERMALINK

But DPW would also be taking over military loading operations for the US Army at Beaumont and Corpus Christi, TX. (See http://thinkprogress.org/2006/02/20/uae-military-equipment/ and
http://www.renewamerica.us/columns/gaffney/060220/ for opposition from "both sides of the political spectrum.")

***The military part of the deal may be illegal.*** Thanks to cmdicely for giving us a heads up on that:

http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/search/display.html?terms=2170&url=/uscode/html/uscode50a/usc_sec_50a_00002170---a000-.html
with excerpt below, and compare http://www.softinfusion.com/gpoaccess/Bill_103-s1337es


2170a. Prohibition on purchase of United States defense contractors by entities controlled by foreign governments

Release date: 2005-03-17

(a) In general

No entity controlled by a foreign government may merge with, acquire, or take over a company engaged in interstate commerce in the United States that

(1) is performing a Department of Defense contract, or a Department of Energy contract under a national security program, that cannot be performed satisfactorily unless that company is given access to information in a proscribed category of information; or

(2) during the previous fiscal year, was awarded

(A) Department of Defense prime contracts in an aggregate amount in excess of $500,000,000; or

(B) Department of Energy prime contracts under national security programs in an aggregate amount in excess of $500,000,000.

(b) Inapplicability to certain cases

The limitation in subsection (a) shall not apply if a merger, acquisition, or takeover is not suspended or prohibited pursuant to section 721 of the Defense Production Act of 1950 (50 App. U.S.C. 2170).

(c) Definitions

In this section:

(1) The term entity controlled by a foreign government includes

(A) any domestic or foreign organization or corporation that is effectively owned or controlled by a foreign government; and

(B) any individual acting on behalf of a foreign government,

as determined by the President.

(2) The term proscribed category of information means a category of information that

(A) with respect to Department of Defense contracts

(i) includes special access information;

(ii) is determined by the Secretary of Defense to include information the disclosure of which to an entity controlled by a foreign government is not in the national security interests of the United States; and

(iii) is defined in regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Defense for the purposes of this section; and

(B) with respect to Department of Energy contracts

(i) is determined by the Secretary of Energy to include information described in subparagraph (A)(ii); and

(ii) is defined in regulations prescribed by the Secretary of Energy for the purposes of this section.

Posted by: Neil' on February 25, 2006 at 9:55 AM | PERMALINK

Richard, up thread: could you please clarify what "may have access" to coast guard etc. security plans really means?

Posted by: Neil' on February 25, 2006 at 9:57 AM | PERMALINK

On behalf of all of the sub-literate "gits", I would suggest that Ledeen's four point plan should be used for our presidency - Oops, it already is?

A young man tells his father that he wants to go into a life of crime - the father suggests he consider politics - more money, but not as respectable.

Posted by: stupid git on February 25, 2006 at 10:47 AM | PERMALINK

Wall off the foreign investors/owners. They are silent partners. They have no say in the actual operation;

Buying something you have no say in?

Yeah that should take the wind of United Arab Emirates desire to purchase our ports but doesn't sound real.

Almost like saying, "you can buy it but you just can't own it". It sounds like BS to me?
United Arab Emirates would have SOME say in the ports they owned and it's just plain old spin to pretend otherwise. Owners always have say Kevin.

Posted by: Cheryl on February 25, 2006 at 11:39 AM | PERMALINK

If Drum meant half the obvious puns and jokes there "sic transit" is a great line.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on February 25, 2006 at 11:58 AM | PERMALINK

Buying something you have no say in?

Welcome to the world of George Bush and the Texas Rangers. The main money guy coming in said he'd do it ONLY if Bush had nothing to do with managing the team.

The rest is history.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on February 25, 2006 at 11:59 AM | PERMALINK

I think that the giant in the bushes here is alluded to up at the top: we've sent nearly a trillion dollars over seas and since we don't actually make anything in America anymore, we're going to have to get used to the fact that those overseas dollars are going to be used to buy real estate and other large assets. People who hold most of our dollars: Petro Princes and the Chinese, our nearest and dearest.

Posted by: Jeffrey Davis on February 25, 2006 at 12:04 PM | PERMALINK

The DPW may have to sell off the US operations although likely not at fire sale prices. The US will have to make them whole since the government gave its official approval already.
Assuming the Congress can actually prevent just the DPW from actually managing the terminals,I suspect the US will owe liquidated damages.
Fire sale,indeed.

Posted by: TJM on February 25, 2006 at 12:48 PM | PERMALINK

Why do the ports have to be private profit-making enterprises anyway? (Theoretical, pie-in-the-sky "market efficiency" arguments do not answer this question.)

Posted by: nine on February 25, 2006 at 3:58 PM | PERMALINK

...who do we get to blame for that - Chuckie Schumer and Hillary Clinton?

Nah, blaming Dems is SOP even for Repub cock-ups.

Posted by: Apollo 13 on February 25, 2006 at 4:48 PM | PERMALINK

White House and Congress Trade Away American Security

The United Arab Emirates ports management deal finally exposes our economic and trade policies for what they are: a government's pursuit of money (for a select few) over the interests of most Americans.

The ports management deal is not an isolated mistake. Far worse has happened, but perhaps nothing as nakedly blatant. For example, how does it benefit Americans when:

Drug companies are allowed to write a new Medicare prescription drug benefit that keeps prices artificially high for seniors by forbidding government-negotiated prices based on volume?
The American-funded Import/Export Bank subsidizes Chinese nuclear power development? Is it possible we are not sending enough money to Communist China?
Congress has repeatedly neglected our national and economic security:

The majority of our oil comes from abroad, much of that from countries with unstable, unfriendly populations
The majority of our computer equipment is manufactured overseas
The majority of our food in imported from foreign countries
Over two-thirds of the products sold in major retailers is imported from countries like Communist China and Mexico
Our soaring budget deficit leaves deeply indebted to foreign countries like Communist China, to whom we owe $1 trillion
Illegal immigration is acceptedand legal immigration is abusedto secure cheap labor (exposing us to unknown security risks)
Congress sees the results of these unhealthy dependencies (declining American wages, record trade and budget deficits, national security vulnerabilities) and just pours fuel on the fire. It passed CAFTA after NAFTA. It refused to crack down on widespread illegal Chinese trade practices by threatening to withdraw from the World Trade Organization (WTO).

Most in Congress have demonstrated that they will not change course; they are simply too indebted to big-money campaign donors and lobbyists. We must replace them.

Posted by: johnkonop on February 25, 2006 at 9:43 PM | PERMALINK

Funny how the fact that W Bushs
first oil company was funded by
UAE. A oil rich country investing
in a texas oil company known only
for drilling dry wells.
Bushies lesser known Brother owns
a software company funded by UAE.
Bush Sr has all kinds of deals with
this Dictator ran country. His job
at the White House is comeing to a end
but I would lay money his more profitable
dealings with UAE will go on for years.
You can not yell fire when it suits you
and not expect people to fear smoke.

Posted by: Honey P on February 26, 2006 at 1:03 AM | PERMALINK

QAEDA CLAIM: WE 'INFILTRATED' UAE GOV'T

By NILES LATHEM
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
February 25, 2006 -- WASHINGTON Al Qaeda warned the government of the United Arab Emirates more than three years ago that it "infiltrated" key government agencies, according to a disturbing document released by the U.S. military.
The warning was contained in a June 2002 message to UAE rulers, in which the terror network demanded the release of an unknown number of "mujahedeen detainees," who it said had been arrested during a government crackdown in the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks.

The explosive document is certain to become ammunition for critics of the controversial UAE port...

Posted by: johnkonop on February 26, 2006 at 2:48 PM | PERMALINK




 

 

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