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February 24, 2006

John McCain backs Bush on port deal

It shouldn't surprise anyone that John McCain is backing backing Bush on the UAE port deal. The port deal is really just a side issue for McCain who's touring to promote his new immigration policy proposal which includes a guest worker program.

It makes sense that McCain is siding with the president on the port issue. There's an inherent tension between the Republicans' economic arguments for more open borders and their national security arguments. McCain is squarely on the side of economics when it comes to cheap labor and lucrative shipping contracts.

I notice that on FOX News radio Tony Snow is explicitly linking the port deal and immigration policy. According to Snow, if you question the president's decisions, you're a "scaredy cat" and a xenophobe. True to form, the Republicans are making every policy issue a referendum on deference to presidential authority. Snow is arguing that we ought to trust the president to make the right decision. Questioning the rationale or the process for reaching the decision is unacceptable. Whether it's outsourcing our ports to a foreign power with a dubious security record or inviting large numbers of guest workers into the USA, it's your patriotic duty (and your tough guy imperative) to humble yourself completely before the Unitary Executive.


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Senator John McCain (R-AZ) has decided to back the President on the matter of transfer of control of various US port operations to Dubai World Ports. This shouldn't surprise anyone,... [Read More]

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While driving into work this morning, I was a bit disturbed to hear a news report about a speech New Jersey Senator Frank Lautenberg gave yesterday to a group of dockworkers in Newark who were protesting the proposed takeover of several U.S. ports by a... [Read More]


These type of problem are inevitable, and will continue no matter whom the president. The dichotomy is between Globalization & Nationalism. I find it highly interesting that this administration is siding with globalization, and believe that conversation is underserved.
I recall reading an article that explained how China manufactures many crucial technical parts for our most sophisticated weapons. Should a shooting war break out, and an embargo ensue; we would have to build a manufacturing base from scratch.

Just looking at security concerns, I have to say that this deal should go through. The UAE has been an important ally in the fight against terrorism since 9/11. They are seen by many Arabs as the modernist alternative to the anti-Western impulse that has swept much of the Middle East. Rejecting this contract would confirm in the minds of many Arabs the perception that the War on Terrorism is actually the War on Islam.

As for globalization, the deal is a symptom of just how badly our trade deficit is hurting our economy. As our capital flows out of the country because of the erosion of our manufacturing base, foreign companies use that capital to come back and buy American companies in the service industries. In time, the process will snowball until we've become a nation of wage slaves, with the profits from our labor flowing overseas.

In this case, the ports were already managed by an overseas company, but if we don't get our trade policy in order, we'll start seeing more foreign purchases of our media, finance, retail, and software companies.

What galls me is that the Bush administration is putting itself above the law, as usual. There should have been a 45-day>security review prior to approving the deal.

I'm not saying UAE shouldn't control these ports. However, the law says that there should be a review if these assets are being transferred to a country that could be a security threat. Clearly, Dubai owning these ports could pose a security threat. I'm not saying that it does, but we have no way of assuring ourselves of that without a thorough investigation.

The irony, for me, is that conservatives in and out of the Bush administration typically claim that government is inefficient, wasteful and dangerous to competitive markets.

Yet, in this case, they want to give a huge contract to a Dubai government-owned company!

Why shouldn't the US government run the ports -- and other services that the American government has been offloading for years? Is Dubai's government superior to ours?

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