The Wall Street Journal offers a double shot of facts regarding foreign management of our ports today. First, we learn how extensive foreign management of our ports is. Heck, even China operates terminals in Los Angeles. But the editorial board succinctly sums up the Republican rush to join the Democratic reaction on the ports deal: “Over in the House, Republicans are preparing to block the Dubai port management investment as a sacrifice to Democratic criticism.”
If not principled, at least Sen. Richard Shelby is honest about the opponents’ motives:
“There’s no way that we should or will, leave the national security issue to the Democrats,” Senate Banking Committee Chairman Richard Shelby, R-Ala., told FOX News on Thursday. “We could pay a price in the fall [elections] and we cannot afford not to do this.”
This is a classic mob. If folks want to discuss overall port security and do something about it, great. If they want to consider whether any foreign companies or if government-owned foreign companies should manage our ports, go for it. But the alarm over the Dubai deal, and only the Dubai deal, exhibits a total lack of consistency. The opposition is only because this is an Arab country.
Some are trying to justify the opposition after the fact. Barbara Lerner took that tack yesterday, arguing that the deal should be blocked because UAE’s citizens overwhelmingly view the U.S. unfavorably — they “hate us.” By that logic, maybe we should also consider blocking French and German investment: a 2004 poll found that those countries only viewed the U.S. favorably to the tunes of 37 and 38 percent, respectively. The rest of her argument makes little sense, suggesting that since the UAE governments controls the newspapers, and they spread anti-American hatred, the government really hates us. If they really hated the U.S., I would imagine they wouldn’t assist us in the war on terror. They’re our allies when it counts. As for Lerner’s conspiracy theory spinning about DPW overpaying for P&O, I think she may have skipped her homework about the bidding war over the British company.
Lerner’s was the article that a reader pointed to yesterday as busting the “‘managing ports’ myth.” Can’t say that I see it. The more that I learn about this deal, the more that I’m baffled by the uproar. My best explanation is that it’s election year politics. Those opposing the deal may be politically clever, but that doesn’t make them right.
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