Wednesday, February 22, 2006

U.S. Port control--A foreign matter

Republicans and Democrats are working together to try and stop a deal that would transfer control of six U.S. ports to an Arab company from the United Arab Emirates (UAE).

The Bush administration is facing criticism this week over its decision to let a subsidiary of UAE government-controlled maritime management firm Dubai Ports World run ports in New York and New Jersey; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania; Baltimore, Maryland; Miami, Florida; and New Orleans, Louisiana

The administration argues the deal was properly approved and poses no security threat. Speaking from Air Force One, President Bush said lawmakers need to explain why they have called for the deal to be blocked. The president also threatened to veto any bill that would hold up the agreement.

Does the president really not understand the objection? It is not because a foreign company will operate the port; the U.S. had a deal with a British company do so just that. In politics, the perception of the truth is often accepted than the real thing. In short, image, is very important in expressing the message, spinning the story, and handling damage control.

The image of an Arab (Muslim) country controlling (operating) not one, but six major sea ports as our soldiers fight Arab insurgents in Iraq, that two of the hijackers in the September 11, 2001, attacks came from the UAE and that the hijackers drew funds from bank accounts in Dubai, the financial center of the Persian Gulf, should make anyone wonder what the Administration is thinking? One thing is for certain, the Democrat’s have been handed another weapon in the elections this fall. It will be interesting to see if they will.

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