Sunday, March 05, 2006

Dubious Dubai arguments

I don't pretend to have enough information to come to an empirically impeccable position on "Port Gate". The inner-workings of the port transit, how embedded the FBI and CIA are in terms of maritime intelligence, or how well-vetted are Dubai Ports World employees and contractors are all variables it's hard to get a straight answer to. But some criticism of those questioning the prudence of the deal (I am in this camp because it seems an unnecessary risk) strikes me as quite spurious.

"P&O is a British company. We've been outsourcing terminal operations for years, so why the fuss now?"

Foreign ownership is not the problem. Occidental countries of the same civilization as we who are more threatened by Islamic terrorism than we are (read Western Europe) are a far cry from Arab Middle Eastern states controlled by emirs who must make concessions to extremists to avoid being toppled by them. Further, P&O is a publicly-traded private sector company while DPW is a government-controlled entity. Thus P&O is held accountable by millions of shareholders and subject to more transparency in compliance with oversight regulations.

"Yes, two 9/11 hijackers were from the UAE, but Britain has terrorists. So does the US, for that matter!"

Disingenuous equivocation. Comprehension of statistical discrimination is crucial here. Pit bulls and border collies have both killed people. But having a border collie is obviously not as dangerous as having a pit bull. Jim is a long-time alcoholic who is plastered every night. Jeff, who is usually a lover of sobriety, got wasted three months ago. Both men are not equally addicted to alcohol. This is of the same nature as the dubious charge that because there are Christian extremists who blow up abortion clinics (once every half decade or so with virtually no support from the community they come from) and Wahabbi extremists who burn down embassies, blow up subways and buses, burn cars, murder filmmakers in the street, etc on a regular basis, Christianity and Islam are equally violent in nature.

"Chinese companies are involved in port operations on the Pacific coast."

The PRC has much to lose in the event of terrorist activity via a Chinese company. It would be economically and politically disastrous for a nation that does so much business with the US to have anything of the sort occur. The same can probably be said of the UAE emirs, but unlike the Emirates, China does not have a homegrown movement bent on the destruction of the degenerate, capitalistic West (if anything, they want to be more like us and are being held back by their government--the opposite of the situation in the Middle East). And those are joint operations with US companies (which may end up occuring in the DPW case).


1 comment:

Katie said...

Derek did you write this?