UAE to manage some US ports.

As a knee jerk reaction, I said sure; UAE is buying a British company already managing our ports. But then, I thought about it. I remembered historical war stories which declared our ports as the most strategic points of protection. US control of the ports was essential to our safety in 1776 and we fought dearly to preserve that control. Why, then, would our highest commander (2006) differ in strategy from our most esteemed commander (1776)? Why would we, in a climate of heightened security, allow any bedmate (UK or UAE) to share guard of our treasure? According to Yahoo News,

The administration did not require Dubai Ports to keep copies of business records on U.S. soil, where they would be subject to court orders. It also did not require the company to designate an American citizen to accommodate U.S. government requests. Outside legal experts said such obligations are routinely attached to U.S. approvals of foreign sales in other industries.

It seems that Big Brother only wishes to watch us free Americans. Brother George cares about our safety in the form of wire taps and surveillance, but cares nothing about the deeds of his buddies in the Middle East? Something is amiss here. I am not educated enough on these matters to determine what it is, but I do have that “Oh shit” feeling which has been described as “fight or flight.” My lack of expertise dictates that I leave this a question. My sense tells me that we are too deeply entangled in a Boleyn type quest for control. Some heads will roll, I am sure. I only wonder which heads.

25 Comments
  1. Then you were just as worried when the United Kingdom company was handling the security of these ports? It doesn’t matter. Either way we’re not safe and were not any less safe now.

  2. In addition to what AB said, Fox News told me that the US is still in charge of security in the ports, and US workers are still going to be working at the ports; the only thing that changed is that an Arab company instead of a British company will be paying the checks. Fox News said this is all just a product of “globalization.” perhaps. I really dont know much about this myself.

  3. Damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t seems to describe George Bush when it comes to satisfying “libertarians”. The question libertarians should be asking is why the sale requires government approval at all.

  4. A few comments:

    1. You live by the sword, you die by the sword. For the past 4+ years people have been scared into willingly giving up their rights. Now this strategy has come to bite them in the rear end. How can they convince people that it is safe to have UAE company running a few terminals if the world is such a dangerous place as they claim?

    2. I don’t think any state-owned foreign company should be allowed to buy U.S. assets. If the foreigners want to buy U.S> assets, then start privatizing.

  5. Tom,

    the answer to your question is, because it is a national security matter. The LP’s foreign policy has always been weak, and a point of contention for many of us “moderate” Libertarians.

    Sea Ports, especially during war time (whether declared or by default) are critical to our economy and safety.

    I for one have usually supported Bush on external national security actions and even the war(I don’t support the patriot act and some other internal actions), but not on this one.

    Frank

  6. What is this a contest to out-libertarian one another without regard to common sense?

    Ports = NATIONAL SECURITY ASSET. I for one would rather not privatize National Security. You want Wackenhut running the military(hahaha wait Iraq, oh yeah the guys that are reportedly mowing down civilians in drive buys and the like)? I think the government has it’s proper place, commanding the military, foreign policy and national security are those places. As far as I know that’s generally a LP belief tell me I’m wrong.

    UAE = Country where every single one of the hijackers whom attacked us on 09/11 just so happened to come from.

    Our foreign policy = Attack 2 countries who were our allies(well, until they either misinterpereted or failed to follow our orders), it should be noted neither of these countries had any teeth until we gave them teeth.

    Am I the only one that’s astounded by the contradiction, and not astounded by what the Dems are saying about Bush or what the Cons are saying?

  7. It is interesting how the media is hyping this up but kept reasonably quiet when IBM sold its PC business to the Chinese company Lenovo. The US government did slow the IBM-Lenovo sale until all security and job concerns were reviewed.

    Article
    http://www.pcworld.com/news/article/0,aid,119488,00.asp

    Even though ports are little bit different than computers, it seems there should be some kind of consistency with sales to foreign buyers.

  8. I think a more serious, more pertinent question would be why did we build 2 countries militarily in a fashion that would obviously make it easy to demonize them and then simply attack them(chemical weapons, guerilla training camps, training terror tactics including soft targets)?

    It would sound conspirital to me to even bother pondering this were it not the same people dictating military affairs(Rummy and gang) that is dictating them now.

    It would seem to me, that all the ducks are in a row and we’re pulling the trigger like a kid with ADD on crack.

    Permanent military bases in Iraq, energy pipeline plans are all being realigned, and we’re selling National Security assets to the country who is responsible for starting the dominoe effect in the first place.

    Honestly, I don’t think conspiracy is to strong a term.

  9. The interesting thing here is that we have John-Birch-Libertarians attempting to tack on the pretense of Lazziez-Faire-Libertarians in this thread. The P&O ports issue is one of a state-created monopoly, therefore not worthy of applying lazziez-faire to. Basically, it’s too late for the government to simply butt out now, they made this mess in the first place, they have to clean it up before leaving it alone. I did note that the Birchers are as completely ignorant of RealPolitck as they ever have been, with the failure to make differential between the UK and the UAE in the War on Verbiage. You see, the UK is an ALLY, the UAE is a TERRERIST HAVEN. See the difference?

  10. I think that if Bush and Co. are so worried about security then perhaps we should manage our own port business. Trusting another group to do it for us- friend or foe- could prove to be dangerous business. Let’s face it, today’s ally is far too often tomorrow’s enemy. We are supposed to trust that there is no security threat in this- why are we asked to tolerate the erosion of personal freedom in the name of security? If Americans cannot have secrets, why can Dubai Ports keep their records off site and secret? Who knows what will be loaded and unloaded? It just seems a bit backward.

  11. I think that this thread has gone a little haywire. So here I am sluggin’ away at it again.

    What are we going to *do* about this, people? How does it involve libertarianism and what can we do to benefit/promote it through this? Why is there nothing external to the LP going on with commentary being released to the press with regards to this?

    Just a few thoughts.

  12. A few Bush/UAE/DPW Connections (edited for space)

    UAE is a major investor in The Carlyle Group, where President Bush’s father once served as senior adviser and is a who’s who of former high-level government officials. Last year, Dubai International Capital, a government-backed buyout firm, invested in an $8 billion Carlyle fund.

    The president’s brother Neil Bush has received funding for his software company from the UAE investors.

    Treasury Secretary John Snow was chairman of railroad company CSX. After he left the company for the White House, CSX sold its international port operations to Dubai Ports World for more than a billion dollars.

    President Bush chose a Dubai Ports World executive to head the U.S. Maritime Administration. David Sanborn, former director of Dubai Ports’ European & Latin American operations, was tapped last month to lead the agency that oversees U.S. port operations.

    http://transcripts.cnn.com/TRANSCRIPTS/0602/22/ldt.01.html

  13. What’s wrong with Ayn Rand, I just read “The Fountainhead” and I think it was tremendous. I suggest it to everyone I talk books with. Is there something Ayn Rand did that I’m ignorant of?

    I don’t really see how the facts fail him, although I’d call the UK an ally on very partial limited terms. From all outward appearances they are an ally(they attack who we attack) but generally I’d say from our history they prefer to simply profit off of us as much as they can muster and we’re willing to stomach.

    Who owns the Federal Reserve bank that we are all taking loans from right now on a daily basis? European Bankers, that’s who.

    Regardless to simplify things, the UK is generally going to work in our benefit, the UAE is simply extorting us and trying to take as much of our money as they possibly can, despite considering they do harbor quite a bit of trash that’s not in our interest.

  14. I have nothing against Ayn Rand, having read several of her books. But, just as with any philosophy you have to weigh utopian ideology with practicality.

    I personally see no problem with a private company managing and running critical infrastructure, but I do hedge that with the practicality that we should have contingency plans in case their government or some internal struggle in their country could potentially harm our nation. That’s where government has an obligation to defend us from intentional economic harm or sabotage.

  15. I think I’ve read to many Tom Clancy novels.

    The bastards ALWAYS use our Free trade government and their manipulative corporations to enact massive destruction against us!!!

    Oh N0es!!!

    :D

    I agree though, there’s really no reason that we can’t have a privatized system profiting from managing the complex whilst the government enacts it’s own security measures. Realistically speaking they are two seperate entity’s anyway.

    More than anything I’m arguing to drive a point home.

    You’re right again on Ayn Rand, if we were all Howard Roark “There would be no Janitors, noone to clean up shit” -Micheal Bolton Office space.

    I thought she was filled with anti communism/socialism undertones that some of my friends didn’t quite catch. Pretty “Orwellian” I thought.

  16. “TERRERIST HAVEN”? OHTEHNOES!!!

    OK, maybe it’s a little idealistic to say that at this point the government should get out of managine the ports, because it’ll take a while for people’s fairly justified anger at the United States to calm down, even if a non-interventionist foreign policy were to be implemented. Regardless, I can’t help but believe that any company without ulterior motives would dfend a port that they owned quite well, because they own it to make money off of it. It’s whether a company owned by a government known to be hostile to 1776 American ideals (http://maddox.xmission.com/c.cgi?u=uae) won’t have ulterior motives.

  17. I would only add here that the port authorities are not directly responsible for port security. Some certainly have police forces under them, but port security itself is maintained by US Customs and Coast Guard. SOme folks I know fairly high up at the Port of New Orleans don’t epect to see much, if any, change by this change in ownership.

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