Monday, February 27, 2006

Port Responsibility

A couple of years ago someone I know said that all white people were racist, because we were white. I was upset by that statement, racist that it was, because I worked hard to make sure that I did not respond to people based on their classification. So it has been with some dismay that my very first response to hearing that an Arab company was about to buy some American ports was one of "you got to be kidding?! Let me read the story..."

So I did, read some stuff about the deal that actually had some facts about what was going to happen and then made a clear headed decision(see post below). Would that more people did what I did.

It is NOT bias, prejudice or racism, if the INITIAL reaction was the same "you got to be kidding". We have seen 9/11, Madrid, London, the Cartoon Riots, the carnage in Iraq, Lebanon and Jordan, and the ongoing war between Israel and everyone else. We have seen many, many examples where Moslems have responded with bloodshed over the last five years. The concern that we would be welcoming them to come to the US and to control an entry point EVERYONE agrees is a major weak spot in our defense is a GOOD response...initially.

It is prejudice if after hearing that a foreign company has been running the ports for the last decade you continue to insist it is a bad idea for an Arab company to do so.

It is racist if after hearing about Dubai and it's assistance in the GWT and in Iraq that you continue to insist the deal should not go through.

Does this mean that we should allow Dubai or any other company to manage our ports without a thorough review? No. But we also have several other foreign companies/countries in our ports now! The emphasis on this being "yea, well it's Arabs!" clearly introduces racism into the argument.

One commentary suggested that last week we had a Hillary Clinton/George Bush brain transference in the debate. George Bush saying we had to be open to trade and working with Arab nations and companies if we are ever to bridge the cultural divide and Hillary Clinton all but proclaiming "not with THEM". The congresswoman that wrote the President "not only no, BUT HELL NO" portrays herself no less as racist than the KKK.

If Dubai Ports underwent the same review as other foreign owned port managers and was accepted, then I see no reason NOT to allow them to proceed with management of the ports. I do not believe any additional restrictions should be placed on Dubai Ports than existed under P&O. If that makes people concerned, GOOD! Maybe then more people would be pushing for greater security measures being introduced at ALL the ports.

Islam and Western values may never be compatible, but as we have seen with the Cartoon Riots, for Americans to allow Arab culture to dictate our response is to concede the point.

There is NO difference between the Cartoon Riots and our denying Dubai the right to legally purchase a company and operate that company according to our laws, on our soil. If you don't see it, or suggest I am being naive, then YOU have a problem.

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