Just what is our country coming to? A foreign company buys out another foreign company, both of whom are in the business of managing terminals at seaports around the world, and suddenly alarm bells go off on Capitol Hill because the buyer just happens to be (gasp) an Arab company, Dubai Ports World based in the United Arab Emirates.
While we’re at it, let’s demand that Honolulu Airport refuse to let any Japanese planes land. After all, it was Japanese airplanes that bombed Pearl Harbor, yes? We certainly don’t want their kamikaze planes to be divebombing our skyscrapers. Especially those huge 747s! Yes, I know, we’ll have to forego the $$$ that comes from their tourism, but hey, this is a war, right? We should protect ourselves from foreign influence at all costs.
If you actually agree with what I said in that last paragraph, there’s a little red button in the top right corner of your Web browser. Click it. Now.
Still here? Good. A few deep breaths here are in order.
Certainly, the fact that the United Arab Emirates was home to two of the September 11th hijackers can is worth taking a little closer look. And yes, once bitten, twice shy. But the strong, knee-jerk, visceral opposition I’m seeing here is way out of proportion.
And speaking of swatting a fly with a sledgehammer, some in Congress are even suggesting that all foreign companies be banned from operating at U.S. ports. Come on now. Some of our largest ports have terminals that are operated by foreign-based companies. The ports of Long Beach and San Francisco have a Chinese company (and not just a Chinese company, but a Chinese STATE-owned company) leasing their terminals to load and unload containers. And by some estimates, many ports around the nation are in the same boat, so to speak, with companies based in different countries. Do we really think that we’ll be doing the nation a service by disrupting the operations of our largest seaports in the name of nationalism?
Nothing but racist, anti-Arab xenophobia.
Richard Silverstein’s Tikun Olam, which I read regularly for his moderate, pox-on-both-houses take on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, has jumped on this issue big time. Go read.
Tags: Dubai Ports World, Arab ports controversy