Monday, February 27, 2006

My Thoughts on the Port Situation

My Thoughts on the Port Situation

I was away last week and did not have an opportunity to voice some of my thoughts about the Ports deal with the government of Dubai/UAE. When the Head Office controlling U.S. Ports could be suspect, in any way real or imagined, of being the proverbial Fox guarding the Henhouse, it is politically correct for an elected U.S. representative to cry at the top of the lungs for no less than 100% transparency. Consider how much fear has been placed in the heads of Americans after all of the Islamophobia sent their way courtesy of Bush, Cheney, Rove, Foxnews, Rush, RNC, and Co. over these past few years.

When one or more prominent members of President Bush's cabinet (or any political appointees such as David Sanborn) stand to benefit from the Ports deal that would concurrently enrich the government of a nation with connections to 9/11, especially since the Bush administration waged a tragic war of option against a nation with no connections to 9/11, we have solidly sane reasons to not simply "trust them" (as they would like us to do).

When we have been fed color-coded terror alerts, duct tape & plastic instructions, and assorted xenophobic lines.

As always (a tale as old as time), the rich who feed off the backs of the American worker will find a way to cooperate with one another, regardless of the fact that there is no trust between them. It's the American way. Those who imagine that the "American Dream" of opportunity will apply at any particular juncture of this story has to be certifiable. This deal will go through - mark my words. Neither Democrat nor Republican can look any of us in the eye and tell us they haven't supported an overall economic/trade system that has led us to this embarrassing situation.

Ask yourself: Is this Port deal necessary because of the politics that have been employed for too long by the Washington D.C. elite? Are rich and connected D.C. types worried about their incestual relations with the rich governing class in Dubai? Do they need to bail them out because their "bourses are weak?" Is this Ports deal some kind of U.S.welfare program for the well-connected?
So is the recent weakness of bourses in the UAE and Qatar something more than the booking of profits by investors? Is there some reason to think that the business cycle peaked in 2005, and that corporate profits from here onwards will be more difficult to achieve?
Because of all the unchecked and unregulated outsourcing of American jobs to India, China and beyond, are we forced to compete for the riches of Dubai investors (even when they may have also funded the terror that brought us 9/11?)
Because of emergence of China and India as big economic powers we are particularly interested in promoting ties between Arab and Asian businesses. We have just organised a major conference that attracted 100 CEOs and included a 40-strong contingent from China."
Arab states and D.C. Lobbyists - - what can I say other than economic incest and influence that should cause any thinking American to demand transparency on this Ports deal? According to Raw Story, Bob Dole (former Presidential candidate and husband of an incumbent North Carolina Senator) has been hired by Dubai Ports World to lobby for the approval of the deal that would give the company control of several major U.S. ports. Why is Bob Dole saying 'Yes! Yes!' while his wife is saying 'No! No!' to the Ports deal on the floor of the Senate? Is this not bizarre?

It's come to be the American Way, hasn't it? And it's totally unethical. If we don't like it, we'd best stop being silent like stones on such matters.

Since 9/11, George W. Bush has misled Americans with his rhetoric about evil people who finance terrorists while, behind the scenes, it is understood that business goes on with participation from many of the same Arab governments used as examples for the RNC's never-ending fear-mongering factory.

President Bush has not denounced the many xenophobes such as Rush Limbaugh, whose ugly-mouthed hypocrisy is astounding. I heard him accusing Democrats of "Islamophobia" regarding the Ports situation last week when the only Islamophobes I've seen over these past four years have come directly from the right wing. (The entire 2004 RNC Convention was little more than a fear-mongerer's xenophobic paradise!)

Neocon Michael Ledeen suggests a "cleaner" way - an American front for rich Dubai investors - let the rich governing class of Dubai feast on the profits and wall them off on the operations side. If the deal must take place, it's probably the only idea that will save the well-connected. The only thing missing from the whole idea is any viable line of political or moral defense for enriching those who likely funded 9/11 terrorists (while we're still struggling with the war in Iraq in which Iraq had no 9/11 connection):
There is a clean way to handle things such as the port operations, and it still astonishes me that it wasn't done properly. It's been done thusly for many years, actually many decades:

1. Create an American company to handle the matter (if foreigners wish to buy in, or even buy it, that's ok);
2. Wall off the foreign investors/owners. They are silent partners. They have no say in the actual operation;
3. Create a "classified Board" composed of people with security clearances and experience in sensitive matters;
4. Appoint a CEO and other top executives with experience and clearances.

We do this all the time with, say, foreigners who want to buy companies that manufacture parts for weapons sytems, etc. It seems the obvious solution here

Speaking of Michael Ledeen, Larisa Alexandrovna has interviewed Mr. Ledeen for Raw Story, and I highly recommend it. My impression is that Mr. Ledeen has an extremely negative and fearful view of human nature - a view he claims is proven by history. Yet, for all his distrust and negativity, when Ms. Alexandrovna asks him who, "if our political leaders align with their party and the leader of that party, will be able to hold anyone accountable for war crimes?"..Ledeen replies:
ML: Just as we always have, by speaking and writing what we believe in, challenging lies when we think we see them, and appealing to mankind's better instincts. (my emphasis) But again, one has to have a sense of history and context. For the most part, it takes a considerable passage of time before we get a full sense of what actually happened.
If, as Mr. Ledeen suggests, mankind has such tiny capacity for the "better instincts", then how can he be intellectually honest in saying that he thinks accountability will occur by appealing to those "better instincts?" If we follow Ledeen's logic throughout his interview, I'd say if we're relying on writing and appealing to the "better nature" of our partisan political leaders as the only route to gaining accountability from them, we're totally screwed. Mr. Ledeen's logic has left me unconvinced regarding the rationality and cohesiveness of his overall argument. His denial of his Likud-ness and closeness to the Right in his view of foreign policy is not at all credible. Ms. Alexandrovna has presented some great questions and counterpoints, posing a real challenge to the balance of Mr. Ledeen's storyline. I can't wait to read the rest of the interview which will soon be forthcoming.