Friday, March 10, 2006

Bush concerned by message sent to UAE over the ports fiasco

And he should be. While from a business perspective this was probaby DP World's best option, rather than Congress dragging them through the mud by enacting legislation against them, preventing them from doing business in the US. But does this make us safer in the long run?

March 10 (Bloomberg) -- President George W. Bush said he's "concerned" that a Dubai company's decision to abandon its efforts to assume control of operations at six major U.S. ports will send a "broader message" to allies in the war on terror.

"In order to win the war on terror, we have got to strengthen our friendship with moderate Arab nations," Bush told a Washington conference of the National Newspaper Association, a community newspaper publishers' group. The U.S. is "committed" to strengthening relations with the United Arab Emirates, a "valued and strategic partner" in the war on terror, he said.

From all the posts I've done on the subject, I'm sure you've figured out that I didn't think that an Arab company managing port operations didn't in and of itself make us more susceptible to terrorist attacks. Showing our Arab allies that we will throw them under the bus for political grandstanding and votes is pure cowardice. It's the path of least resistance that in the end will do nothing but strain relations between the US and moderate Arab allies rather than making the more difficult choice and standing by a moderate Arab ally in the GWOT and standing against US public opinion. It meant having to get out in front of the cameras and give speech after speech explaining exactly why in the long term this deal actually makes us safer. It strengthens relations with an strategic ally in the region and it actually improves the efficiency of our ports allowing us more time for manual inspections of containers if it is deemed necessary. No one in the government, including the president, was willing to take the correct path, the more difficult path by putting in the time and effort to get the American people on board. And now we've embarrassed an ally because our politicians played on the fears of the public to get themselves reelected. The Democrats use that line over and over again (in fact I can still hear Al Gore screaming it) and they did it as well this time.