Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Ports Deal Shows We Still Can't Agree Who We're Fighting or How We Should Fight

Up until now I have not written about the Dubai Ports World deal because, frankly, I know next to nothing about port operations. This is a topic that is easy to mouth-off about but difficult to fully understand.

My initial gut reaction was that the DPW takeover wasn’t a big deal what with the United Arab Emirates being a good ally and port operations being separate from port security. But I quickly realized many if not most other people had the exact opposite reaction. So I stopped, studied and have concluded: the take over is not that big of a deal.

In many ways, I think the uproar is a product of anti-Arab bigotry. I also think a lot of people are just mouthing-off and don’t know what they’re talking about. But at least the whole experience has been educational and has hopefully opened a lot of eyes to how our ports are managed and secured. I know I’ve learned a lot.

I’ve also learned (or rather had confirmed) that we still have a very tenuous grasp on this conflict/war in which we’re engaged. I blame some of this on the Bush administration which has tended to whip up amorphous fears for political gain. I blame some of this on certain members of the left who have wrongfully minimized and mischaracterized the threat. And I blame some of this on the very nature of our enemy, its stateless, religiously charged ideology being so unlike any enemy we’ve faced before.

Until we come to a better understanding of who we’re facing and how we confront them, we will continue to have the kinds of conflagrations surrounding the DPW deal. But we do need to work on understanding that our enemy is not Arab peoples or Muslim peoples. It is not one nation, or a collection of nations or a whole religion. It’s an ideology that has metastasized throughout the world, that is stateless even as it has the ability to infiltrate and rule states (see: Iran and the Palestinian Authority).

The enemy is not the United Arab Emirates. If we want to debate whether any foreign nation should run our ports, that is a debate worth having. But this fear of Dubai is misplaced.


Anonymous middleman said...

An open and FAIR dialogue about the threats we face would have made this far less a story.

I found Robert Reich's opinion on this issue very interesting. Though I don't agree with Reich ideologically, I respect his view a great deal. I know that it is his honest opinion and not party line spin.

You can find his take here:


3:50 PM  

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