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Management of U.S. seaports

By maxwell edison ·
What to do and why?

There will be those opposed just because President Bush is in favor. There will be those in favor just because President Bush supports the sale. Jimmy Carter agrees with President Bush on this issue, although he's been one of the president's most vocal critics, especially in the area of foreign policy. Many Republicans are in opposition, as are almost all Democrats currently in Congress. I even heard one prominent Democrat suggest Halliburton take over the task!

http://news.yahoo.com/fc/US/Terrorism/

http://www.newsday.com/news/nationworld/nation/ny-usbush224636730feb22,0,7345897.story?coll=ny-leadnationalnews-headlines

http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20060221/ap_on_go_co/ports_security_9

http://www.miami.com/mld/miamiherald/news/nation/13921401.htm?source=rss&channel=miamiherald_nation

http://today.reuters.com/news/newsarticle.aspx?type=domesticNews&storyid=2006-02-21T201433Z_01_N21145126_RTRUKOC_0_US-PORTS-BIAS.xml&rpc=22

http://today.reuters.com/news/newsarticle.aspx?type=politicsNews&storyid=2006-02-21T214557Z_01_WBT004835_RTRUKOC_0_US-SECURITY-PORTS-HASTERT.xml&rpc=22

Why haven't any American companies bid on this? Why are the British selling? What are the pros and cons? Why has President Bush threatened his first veto if Congress passes legislation to prevent it? If people claim to be against it for national security reasons, why aren't those same people just as adamant about having more control over the borders, in general, for the same reason? Some in Congress have said that our seaports should not be managed by ANY foreign entity; why didn't they speak up in the past over British control? What are the real issues? The questions could go on and on, but all in search of that elusive answer.

Personally, I'm undecided. Are they're any arguments convincing enough to sway me one way or the other? What's your take on it?

Maybe I should go into the seaport management business! What would it take, and who could do it? And again, why haven't any American companies bid on this?

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The British are selling to make a whopping profit.

by X-MarCap In reply to Management of U.S. seapor ...

The assets of a port management property are the contracts that it holds. The contracts for port management are nothing new. It depends on companies winning bids for Port Management...

The difference is the UAE company has oil money and suspected tendencies to allow terrorists transport through its borders. GB doesn't do that willingly.

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My Take

by JamesRL In reply to Management of U.S. seapor ...

I don't buy into the sheer paranoia that some Democrats are spouting(and I have heard Interviews with a democrat from NJ on CBC radio), I do think it would not be the best idea in the world. Yes, customs and the coast guard and homeland security would still do as they have always done. But the previous owner was a private British company and the new owner is partially owned by the UAE government.

When you have the roundtable discussions about new security measures, do you trust that the new owner can and will keep the information secret?

James

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Why does President Bush support it?

by maxwell edison In reply to My Take

On one hand, President Bush has been criticized for focusing TOO much on national security, taking his war on terrorism TOO far. If you concede that President Bush's primary position, generally speaking, is to advance national security at the expense of everything else, at least leans in that direction, how then, could he support something that could be a threat to national security? How can the obvious contradiction in that argument be reconciled?

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From what I've read today, Pres. Bush didn't even know about it...

by Mickster269 In reply to Why does President Bush s ...

... until it had already been approved.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/11494815/

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There's a lot about this we don't know

by maxwell edison In reply to From what I've read today ...

I'll be interested to read more about it in the coming days. I'm still reserving judgement until I learn more.

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not taking the war on terrorism TOO FAR, taking it the WRONG DIRECTION

by Absolutely In reply to Why does President Bush s ...

Criticism of Bush's anti-terrorism measures aren't that he is taking things too far, but that he is taking it the wrong way. By invading Iraq in order to wage the wrong war in the wrong place at the wrong time instead of finding a real enemy with real weapons of mass destruction was wrong because the basis for that action was falsified. Using executive powers and war powers as excuse for illegally wiretapping without a warrant is wrong because it subjects citizens to undue scrutiny by their government, the government to too little scrutiny by the people who are its purpose, and because there is no rational basis for the claim that a FISA court would ever reject a genuine terrorist threat. There are others, but the point is not that Bush has focused too MUCH on national security, but too INCOMPETENTLY. It's difficult to believe he is even trying to win.

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Max don't forget the Goofus MacDuff tests.

by X-MarCap In reply to Why does President Bush s ...

The Democrats look at all the sides of the issue and they will always come down on the side that damages the U.S. Perfect analysis and 100% wrong on their position...

Since Democrats are against it, I looked into the situations much more closely. We have an airbase in Dubai. If we peeve them off, we may not have overfly rights to Iran/Iraq and it would weaken us in the Mid-East.

The Dems are only out to damage our military. This is part of an understanding that we are having with the Airbase in Dubai a forward post to strike Iraq or Iran or any other situation.

So, I grudgingly am coming out for the Air base. and that means the Dubai Port management company runs some US ports, but we watch them closely...

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An opinion from someone that lives in NJ

by AV . In reply to Management of U.S. seapor ...

Everyone in NJ knows how vulnerable we are here to acts of terrorism. We experienced the impact of 9/11 in Northern NJ just like NYC. Its just unbelievable that our government is even considering doing this. I'm not opposed to foreign investment by Arab countries, just not in this very crucial industry that is part of our national security.

Bush said he wasn't told about the sale until after it was a done deal. Governor Corzine in NJ didn't know about the deal either and one of the major ports is in NJ. What is going on with our government? Why isn't Congress informed either? Who exactly comprises CFIUS and why should foreign investment in this country be such a secret?

Why should I, a NJ resident, embrace an Arab country taking operational charge of our ports here? Maybe UAE is our ally to some degree, but their takeover is an easier avenue for terrorists to gain greater access to this country to me.

As someone who drives to work everyday next to a truck with one of these containers attached, its a scary proposition.

Its an interesting point that you make about why there is no bidding process on deals like this. I don't have an answer for that. I certainly don't understand the secrecy surrounding the whole process.

I can't believe that Bush would support this. He might think differently if the port was in his state. I'm not undecided, the answer is no.

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Some more thoughts

by maxwell edison In reply to An opinion from someone t ...

As a disclaimer, I admit to believing that our border security and immigration policies are in abysmal shape, and they have been for decades. No ONE administration or congress is to blame; they ALL are. I've heard that as few as 5 percent of all containers entering our seaports are checked. I can only hope that the 5 percent that is being checked is more strategically targeted, and less random. And thousands of illegal people enter across our southern borders daily. The majority probably intend no harm, but it only takes a small minority to inflict a great deal of it.

But let me play devil's advocate with some of your comments. If we isolate the UAE from operating a dock at one of our seaports, what other business should we prevent them from operating in the U.S? What about airline ticketing counters and airport gates? I'm sure the UAE have dozens in various airports around the country. And if we selectively profile based on nationality with this, should we also profile passengers at boarding gates? And why stop at transportation functions? Should we prohibit them from even owning real estate or any other businesses? Should we outlaw truck drivers and taxi drivers who are from the UAE? And why stop with just UAE? Why not Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, Jordan, and other Arab countries?

Also, from my research on the issue today, I discovered that this is simply a business transaction. There's no reason to believe that the current lot of employees won't remain on the job, or the management of the ports won't remain intact. And I'm sure the longshoremen's union will have some influence to keep those jobs in place. And the Coast Guard and Port Authorities will not be giving up one iota of control over security. Everything will continue to operate exactly as it has in the past, only under new ownership.

I think this might be analogous to a skyscraper getting new owners; it's just another big business deal. Such a building can undergo a change in ownership that's completely transparent to the tenants, employees, or functions of that building. How many such buildings change hands without anybody even knowing it? Quite a few, I would imagine.

And then there's this consideration. We certainly don't want to give the impression that we're against all Arabs because of the tactics and actions of a very small minority of radicals. That's all we need, the entire Arab world upset at us because we show that we don't trust them enough to conduct a normal business deal. Maybe they'd kick U.S. businesses out of the UAE as retaliation.

You said that you don't understand the secrecy surrounding the whole process, and I initially had the same thought. But considering this is really just another one of thousands of business deals that are consummated daily, I'm beginning to wonder why we heard about it at all? Who was the first one, for example, to "report" this story? How did that person get the story, and why? What's the motivation behind the story's release? I'm not so sure that the deal was done in secret, but rather this was selectively chosen for public consumption. I wonder why? And I wonder who?

Personally, I think not letting it happen would do more harm than good. I guess I just convinced myself on which side I should fall. Even though I hate to agree with Jimmy Carter, I guess I'll hold my nose and agree with him on this one.

But why didn't Trump buy the business?

P.S. An edit to my comments:

I just heard Tom Tancredo, a Colorado Republican Congressman (whom I like a lot, by the way), ask a pretty good question. (I'm paraphrasing.)

Why should the United States government let ANY business from ANY foreign country, state owned or otherwise, own ANY strategic business and/or real estate in the United States? That's a pretty good question. But I suppose the answer might lie somewhere in how we might prevent it. What if, for example, no American interest wants to buy it? What then? And define "strategic"? The repercussions could lead to a slippery slope indeed.

Are there any reasonable and rational arguments that might get me to switch positions? I did, after all, go from undecided to decided in one day; perhaps I'll be back at undecided tomorrow.

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Tom Tancredo is right

by AV . In reply to Some more thoughts

We certainly shouldn't be outsourcing our security to any foreign country or our strategic interests. Thats taking global commerce too far. One such deal I can't believe was ever approved was the sale of the strategic undersea cable that connects Asia, Europe and the US to an Indian company, Tata I think, for a measly $130 mil.

I guess the only way to prevent it is to make these strategic assets government owned and operated.

Personally, I think Arab companies should be limited to investments that do not involve our military, government or strategic assets. Arab companies, or in this case, the UAE can't give us any guarantee that radicals in their country will not gain access to our secrets, security and country through their venue. We can't afford to take that risk.

If Arab countries want to do business in this country, they need to get tougher on getting rid of their terrorists. That element makes them less desirable as a business partner in any industry. How can you trust them? So far, I haven't seen anything to make me think they aren't just waiting for another moment to eliminate the infidels.

The secrecy of this deal and the fact that it was brought out is really questionable. Someone had to leak it and I'm thankful they did. It seems to me that CFIUS operates too much in the shadows, approving foreign investments in this country with no oversight from the President or Congress.

Maybe you're on the fence Max, but I think DPW is a bad idea. Our ports are poorly protected as it is, we really don't need to stress an already limited system by having the port owned by an Arab government with ties to 9/11.

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