Dear Lady G et al.: The issue isn’t press strategies, dangers of having any non-U.S. companies (except the few nations we can really trust, which mean Israel, Australia and, and, oh never mind) doing it or whether the UAE is the most trustworthy of any Islamic nation. The issue is that the oversight of the port activities by the (Homer) Simpsonian D’OHS — in those six ports and every other one — is so poorly done it’s a wonder al-Q hasn’t sailed a fleet of nukes up the Potomac. And until D’OHS gets its act together, there’s probably no increase in the risk we take by having the UAE company run it as opposed to any other.
This is a high-risk, high-gain strategy for the Bush administration. Having the UAE’s people take charge of any asset that is essential to US national security is a huge vote of confidence in them that — given the right diplomatic and infowar strategies to exploit it — can benefit us as few things can. And if the trust we place in them is betrayed, it can damage us as few other things can.
The key question we should ask: is the deal with the UAE tied to extraordinary cooperation by the UAE government in penetrating and fighting terrorist groups? Are we, by this trust, purchasing the talents of their intelligence operators in pursuit of al-Q and such? We will never know what other, secret, parts of this deal there may be. But if there aren’t such aspects to it, it’s entirely wrong to do. Trust, but verify. And that we must leave to the Big Dog, Pat Roberts, and the others who can find the pony in this pile.