UAE firms have been in Houston for years

I’m more and more coming down on the side that this deal should happen.

I actually wrote a lengthy piece about this port take-over and why I think it should happen – but I’ve decided to actually try to sell it and make some money, so you’ll have to wait to read it!

Suffice to say, I’m reading enough now to realize that yes, the UAE are our allies, yes, they’ve been supportive and helpful to our troops and our nation in the War on Terror, yes, past and present presidents and Secy’s of State (who should, I think, know a good deal more about the place than I) believe they are trustworthy and yes, it makes sense that a nation which is economically invested in our country is unlikely to wish to see our economy destabalized through terrorism.

And besides, they’ve been working here without a problem for years.

Besides the Middle Eastern nation’s company whose U.S. port business is causing political headaches for the Bush administration, other companies associated with the Muslim country have been at work in Houston for a while, without any known misgivings about port security or terrorism.

There was little to no public attention paid in January when UAE investment company Istithmar bought Inchcape Shipping Services, the world’s largest private shipping manager, which has a longtime presence in Houston.

Michelle Malkin notes that the White House is walking it back a bit and notes some face-saving by Karl Rove. But I suspect that there is going to be a need for face-saving all over the place, as I heard a radio clip yesterday wherein Hillary Clinton was moderating her tone and suggesting that the thing wasn’t dead, after all.

The Republican and Democrat members of congress who were so quick to jump on this one seem now to be backing off, and I think the murmurs of “we’ll have to take our time, look at everything” are all part and parcel of the same WH walkback. Once everyone has their face-saving talking points in place, once those who were immediately opposed have a chance to say, “well it’s changed a bit, we’ve modified it and shaken our finger at Bush, so it’s not the terrible plan it once was,” and they get a chance to criticize how the Bush WH handled the story itself (and it will be deserved criticism), then the thing will go through and all will be quiet, except on the blogs…because we never shut up! :-)

At least I think that’s what will happen. And Buster will have been right.

Frank Martin at Varifrank has an excellent piece up which explores all the “what if’s” and “maybe’s” and all the unintended consequences that might arise from denying this deal. Worth considering. Strategypage has more in support of the deal and a strong defense of the UAE, and he goes after Michelle pretty hard. He also makes the point that UAE is one Arab country where religious freedom is the rule, and that the UAE helped us to find one of the USS COLE fiends.

Rick Moran is, like Michelle, really angry and resolute, still.

AJ is fired up on the other side of it. Jack Kelly is unhappy, too.

We cannot win the war on terror if we treat our friends as if they were enemies. In the Arab world, we have no better friend than the United Arab Emirates. There are Islamists in the UAE (as there are in Toledo), but not in the management of Dubai Ports World, whose security record is exemplary.

Opposition to the sale is driven by ignorance and prejudice. People in the know, like Joint Chiefs Chairman Peter Pace and former CENTCOM commander Tommy Franks, know there is no security problem.

Passions run high at times like this, and it is useful and healthy for all of us to be debating, but I hope things don’t get out of hand.

I’ve never called anyone a racist or an “Islamophobe” for the stands they’ve taken, and I am sorry to see AJ use the term “Ayrab-phobes.” It’s not helpful. I’ve never said that the folks who are against the deal do not have valid points, and I happen to think that those of us who are coming around to it have valid points, as well. I hope that in disagreeing we in the blogosphere will not stoop to invective and name-calling and uncivil comportment between blogs. There was no call for it in the Harriet Miers discussion, and there is no call for it now.

But I must say, whoever said conservatives were monolithic and automatonic yes-bots to Bush was out of his freaking mind! :-)

Speaking of unmonolithic, Bernard Higgins has the con to my pro! And Gateway Pundit is a pro to his con!

WELCOME ACSOL readers! While you’re here please look around. Today we’re also talking about whether Islamophobia is contributing to this controversy and fishing for souls in a pub. If you need a laugh, this will provide it.

About Elizabeth Scalia
  • smmtheory

    If you’ll pardon me, could you elaborate on why the criticism of the WH handling of this story is deserved? I mean the whole brouhaha stinks to high heaven. The sale was announced months ago, and all of a sudden it’s becoming news? Kind of like publishing cartoons of Mohammed and five months later there’s an Islamic riot spree, isn’t it? It all went through the proper channels, and there’s probably a half dozen other sales just like it going through the proper channels and the President doesn’t need to know every little detail about all of them either. If President Bush had to micro-manage every little bit of business to do with the Islamic world, we really would be in a pickle.

  • TheAnchoress

    I don’t think President Bush has to micromanage it. But I do think that he (and you know I admire him) needed to be on his toes about the deal and ready to explain all the reasons for his support of it – he needed to be sensitive to the fact that his country is still very skittish in a post 9/11 world. I am quite sure this man is not about to sell us down the river or suddenly lose interest in protecting us. But the WH should have – ‘way back when the story came out, had its talking points ready. There is a weird disconnect with this white house – they never seem to be able to anticipate how news will be received and get out in front of a story. The criticism is deserved.

  • smmtheory

    But why should they have had talking points ready when not one person squirmed when it was first announced months ago? Why is it the White House’s fault if nobody they’ve delegated authority to tells them there might be a stink raised? Is there the expectation that the President is suppose to know all about everything that goes on in this country from border to border? What is it in particular about this deal that should have raised a red flag that the White should have been alerted to it?

  • smmtheory

    Last sentence should have read White House instead of just White…

  • TheAnchoress

    Whether the story broke months ago or weeks ago is really irrelevent, though, isn’t it? Again, I’m not saying the president has to micromanage – but if this is something his WH supports, then it’s part of his job to SELL it – to explain WHY this is in our best interests. It is up to HIM to DEFINE the thing before the press or anyone else defines it differently. I love Bush, but this is something he has failed at over and over again. Part of the job of the president, like it or not, is SALESMANSHIP. When he wants to sell things – like when he’s running for office – he can sell ANYTHING. He seems to lose his taste for it at other times.

    I will be out for a while so you’ll have to continue the debate with anyone else who wants to join in! :-)

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  • Sigmund Carl and Alfred

    Buster was right, as far as I’m concerned.

    He changed the way I perceived the situation- and I’m glad. I’d hate to think I was so singleminded as to never be able to change my mind.

    We cannot accuse others of singlemindedness if we act and think in the same manner.

  • newton

    Anchoress, Siggy,

    The sig.other (a former merchant marine) and I have known about the whole foreigner control of port ops – heck, of a whole lot of international maritime commerce – for years!

    To see how people have reacted to this thing makes me wonder if they really want to be educated in matters of economics, especially international economics. This is part of the interdependence that characterizes our world today. No surprise there. But to treat all of this as if this were the end of the world? Please!

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