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Should America's main ports be operated by a foreign country with terrorist ties?

post #1 of 17
Thread Starter 
This story has dominated the news for the past few days, where our Country entered into a deal with the state run "Dubai Ports World", out of the United Arab Emerates, to take over some operations of 6 major US ports. They are not taking over the actual security aspect (a common misunderstanding) but they will be privy to very sensitive information about the ways our ports operate. The UAE has had a few terrorist ties in the past, and some al queda money was funneled through there in the past. On the other hand it is said that they have been one of our best and most reliable allies in providing us information on terrorists, and al queda. Strangely enough this has made odd political bedfellows out of some repubs and some dems who usually are on the opposite side of everything. For instance Jimmy Carter supports George Bush in wanting to approve this deal. The next time Jimmy Carter is on GWB's side of anything, or vice-versa, could be decades from now. Anyway:>>>>>>>>>>

My opinion is that I do NOT want an Arab country with past ties to terrorists having anything to do with our ports. It simply does not feel right on a gut level, and in the post 9-11 world, we cannot afford to take a chance that this Company could get infiltrated by people that would use information on our ports against us for insidious reasons. This may rankle some Muslims, but it is not at all Islamophobic as some have charged. It is based upon real facts, and valid national security concerns. (Imagine an American company contracting to operate the UAE's ports; it would never be allowed to happen). Some have argued that there is an economic aspect to this decision that we should be careful of, meaning that we need to do business with Arab countries, or risk losing their business or cooperation on security issues. My opinion is that national security concerns trump economic globalization concerns, thus this deal cannot be allowed to go through.

What do you think???
post #2 of 17
post #3 of 17
This may sound strange coming from me, but I don't think ANY foreign company or government operation should be controling US ports.
Ports should be controlled by the country they are IN, not by some foreign entity, no matter how well "vetted" it's been. Ever.
I didn't know those ports were controlled by a British company before, but they sholdn't have been.
post #4 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zoe'n'MissKitty
This may sound strange coming from me, but I don't think ANY foreign company or government operation should be controling US ports.
Ports should be controlled by the country they are IN, not by some foreign entity, no matter how well "vetted" it's been. Ever.
I didn't know those ports were controlled by a British company before, but they sholdn't have been.
many people are finding out about foreign involvement in our ports...push come to shove, I don't mind Britain...I also understand that a company out of Kuwait has been involved in some ports in the country!! go figure.........it is strange indeed that we can't find American companies willing to do this lucrative work
post #5 of 17
We haven't abdicated the security for these ports. That is still handled by the Coast Guard and local authorities.
post #6 of 17
We didn't have a problem with the UAE giving $100 million to help the victims of Katrina - more than all of the other countries who gave assistance combined (heard that figure on the radio this morning). We welcomed their money then.

We didn't have a problem when a company operated by Singapore (yes, the country, not just out of Singapore) took over operations of most of the west coast ports under Clinton.

Dubai Ports World operates many of the ports that we already recieve cargo from, and there have been no incidents. If their point was to disrupt the imports to the US to plant a terrorist bomb, they already could. It's well known that only 2% (STILL!) of the cargo that comes in to the US is inspected. They could have easily loaded up a container or two with explosives and sent it here through one of the ports they already control. They didn't have to spend like $8 billion on purchasing the rights to run the ports. Which are already run by a foreign country (Britain).

I really think that paranoia, the "anthing Bush does is evil" crowd (i.e the mainstream media and Democrats), and honestly some perhaps undeserved stereotypes of the region are blowing this issue way out of proportion.
post #7 of 17
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by valanhb

I really think that paranoia, the "anthing Bush does is evil" crowd (i.e the mainstream media and Democrats), and honestly some perhaps undeserved stereotypes of the region are blowing this issue way out of proportion.
you have definitly described the "pro" ports deal point of view..it is an interesting debate, worth having...about the point above, I agree that the dems and media's whining is, as always, politically motivated when it comes to Bush....imagine all of a sudden the Dems dont mind racial profiling???..that would be nice if they had that attitude in airport security and maybe we could avoid searching 80 yr old grandmothers....but this deal is also being criticized by some very staunchly conservative people in politics and out of politics (Bill Frist, Rep Peter King out of NY, Tom Delay, Pat Buchanan, Michelle Malkin for example). Many people are just uneasy about this, and this is understandable.
post #8 of 17
Like the true lefty I am, I think we should be paying our governemnt to run our OWN ports, not getting other countries or worse yet, private companies of ANY nationality (this includes American companies) to do it for us.

But going where the money is is sort of what this administration does best, so I wouldn't expect anything else from them.
post #9 of 17
I am not a Bush hater by any means but this does not feel right to me.

AND they (UAE) could well afford that 100 million for Katrina. Look what we do for other countries.

Nope this is a bonehead decision by the Bush administration IMO.
post #10 of 17
I agree that we should be running our own port. It would create more jobs for our people since we are sending so many over seas to cheaper labor. But that is a reason why we are outsourcing it probably costs less $$ to let them run it than to do it our selves.
post #11 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by sbw999
you have definitly described the "pro" ports deal point of view..it is an interesting debate, worth having...about the point above, I agree that the dems and media's whining is, as always, politically motivated when it comes to Bush....imagine all of a sudden the Dems dont mind racial profiling???..that would be nice if they had that attitude in airport security and maybe we could avoid searching 80 yr old grandmothers....but this deal is also being criticized by some very staunchly conservative people in politics and our of politics (Bill Frist, Rep Peter King out of NY, Tom Delay, Pat Buchanan, Michelle Malkin for example). Many people are just uneasy about this, and this is understandable.
Obviously, you're exactly right. There are a lot on the right who are also opposed to this deal. Which is, like you said, more in keeping with thier core beliefs than the other side.

I think the reaction is, like you said, a gut reaction. I had the same gut reaction. But after learning more and thinking logically about it, my thoughts on it changed.
post #12 of 17
I believe (or hope) that by bringing them in, the Bush administration has looked into the companies possible ties (if any) with terrorists. Keep in mind that not everyone is a terrorist and some actually come to the U.S (or other countries) to break away from terrorism.

However, on the otherside of the fence, keep in mind though that the ports are govern by maritime laws. Its an international standard. So they can pay an employee what they want, instead of minimum wage. Plus they don't have to abide by Equal Opportunity...they could hire all UAE nationalities if they wanted to.
post #13 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by valanhb
We didn't have a problem with the UAE giving $100 million to help the victims of Katrina - more than all of the other countries who gave assistance combined (heard that figure on the radio this morning). We welcomed their money then.

We didn't have a problem when a company operated by Singapore (yes, the country, not just out of Singapore) took over operations of most of the west coast ports under Clinton.

Dubai Ports World operates many of the ports that we already recieve cargo from, and there have been no incidents. If their point was to disrupt the imports to the US to plant a terrorist bomb, they already could. It's well known that only 2% (STILL!) of the cargo that comes in to the US is inspected. They could have easily loaded up a container or two with explosives and sent it here through one of the ports they already control. They didn't have to spend like $8 billion on purchasing the rights to run the ports. Which are already run by a foreign country (Britain).

I really think that paranoia, the "anthing Bush does is evil" crowd (i.e the mainstream media and Democrats), and honestly some perhaps undeserved stereotypes of the region are blowing this issue way out of proportion.
As to the first point, there is a substantial difference between accepting monetary aid from a country and granting a country a contract to manage major U.S. ports. That isn't just comparing apples and oranges, it's apples and purple, fuzzy headed aliens! LOL!

Singapore is not a country that we are at all worried about vis-a-vis terrorism or other aggressive acts. Thus, granting them a contract doesn't raise as many security red flags. Similarly, granting contracts to Great Britain is also not a huge national security concern. The UAE, on the other hand, is a country that we have reason to be more concerned about.

I really don't think the concern is that the UAE will send a bomb through the port. Actually inspecting cargo should prevent that, since our country is in charge of security regardless of who runs the port. The bigger concern would be all of the information about the operation of those ports that woudl become available to persons who may not have our best interests at heart. What if, for instance, Dubai Ports World ceased operations at all of the ports they operated for us simultaneously, perhaps at a critical time? How much economic damage would that do?

I'm not saying that the UAE would do the above; they have been an ally of the U.S. However, it isn't either accurate or fair to say that this is all a big fuss being kicked up by the press and those whining Democrats (sarcasm). As someone else pointed out, this "fuss" is being generated by Democrats and Republicans alike, and many of the Republicans objecting are people who are normally 'till death-do-us-part supporters of the Bush administration. I think don't necessarily think that granting the UAE the contract is a bad idea, but I think it is reasonable of the legislature to want to understand how the decision was made. I mean, the administration and the legislature are so concerned about national security that we have things such as the Patriot Act and a secret wire taping program. Is it really so unreasonable for the legislature to want full disclosure regarding the decision to grant the UAE this contract? I don't.
post #14 of 17
It's the gut reaction with me, too. I've been stunned to learn that this something that we've actually put in foreign hands. It seems that anything as important as this to American port security should be kept in American hands. Economics concerns me, too. Why pay foreigners for jobs that Americans can do?

But then I also worry about the fact that our national debt includes a lot of loans to foreign countries that do not have interests at heart.

Maybe I'm paranoid.
post #15 of 17
Well, since a good portion of the ships are controlled by China, and the food being transported is coming INTO California (last year was the first year that this state imported more food than it exported, now that the developers have built over the prime farmland, but that's a subject for a different thread) from other countries, primarily Chile & Argentina, seems like maybe a global port manager is just another step towards globalizing America. I am probably being simple and pig-headed, but to me, none of it is right. I always thought self-sufficiency was best.
post #16 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by lionessrampant
Like the true lefty I am, I think we should be paying our governemnt to run our OWN ports, not getting other countries or worse yet, private companies of ANY nationality (this includes American companies) to do it for us.

But going where the money is is sort of what this administration does best, so I wouldn't expect anything else from them.
I second this. I don't have any doubt that the UAE company would maintain a high level of safety--I'm not afraid, like some are, that this is some terrorist master-plot. I do however believe in giving Americans the first crack at jobs within the country. Did they even take bids from any American companies? That's my main objection to it.
post #17 of 17
Quote:
Originally Posted by catsknowme
Well, since a good portion of the ships are controlled by China, and the food being transported is coming INTO California (last year was the first year that this state imported more food than it exported, now that the developers have built over the prime farmland, but that's a subject for a different thread) from other countries, primarily Chile & Argentina, seems like maybe a global port manager is just another step towards globalizing America. I am probably being simple and pig-headed, but to me, none of it is right. I always thought self-sufficiency was best.
Unfortunately self-suffiency can be very inefficient and expensive. We have low prices because other countries can do it cheaper. An open economy can benefit us, but we need to make sure that a) it is fair for both sides, and b) we prepare our citizens to compete. I don't feel that our "leaders" are doing this well.
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