Talkin' trash to the garbage around me.

22 February, 2006

Portgate: A few observations

The blogosphere is certainly a-twitter with news of the sale of terminal operations in six U.S. ports to a firm (Dubai Ports World) owned by the government of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates. I myself clogged the bowels of the internets with this massive post on the subject last night. All said, I wanted to distill all of this down to a few observations.
  • Regardless of the merits or drawbacks of the deal, it's become a grade A political scandal that may be the final nail in the coffin for Bushco. Granted, he's been teetering on the edge of "lame duckness" since his second inauguration, but when wingnuts are calling for your impeachment, the writing's on the wall.
  • There has been an ugly racism permeating this issue from the get-go. It's been made explicit by many on the Right (check out freerepublic.com, Little Green Footballs, and redstate.com (I won't dignify these asshats with a link) for some nasty examples), but it has also underlied several comments I've seen by leftie bloggers. It's par for the course, I s'pose, among Murcans, but nonetheless ugly to behold
  • As a corollary to the aforementioned point, the links between the UAE and terrorism are tenuous, at best. By the logic used by some people, the United States "supports terrorism" just as much as the UAE - where did the 9/11 hijackers learn to fly aircraft, after all? Again, I think there's a subtle racism that underlies that assumption.
  • It is legitimate, on the other hand, to draw attention to the fact that port operations aren't being sold to a foreign corporation, per se, but rather a corporation owned by a foreign government. While there's nothing to suggest that DPW would behave in a manner that's any more detrimental to our physical or economic security than any other foreign shipping conglomerate, their ownership situation does give me pause.
  • In many ways, this whole brouhaha is one of the unforeseen consequences of neo-liberalism.
I'm not particularly convinced that the sale of terminal operations to DPW is the unmitigated security disaster that many are making it out to be. What is clear, however, is that approving the deal would be political suicide.

Jeez, this all makes shooting somebody in the face look like child's play, eh?

[update 11:34 am 2/22/06]: So I appear to have spoken a bit prematurely about the circumstantial links between the UAE and terrorists. There are explicit links.

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