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Thursday, February 23, 2006

More on the Dubai Deal

The more I hear the hysteria against the Dubai port deal the more I think the opponents are exploiting the issue for political gain. They can't even get the facts straight: they keep talking about the outsourcing of security, which isn't what this is about at all. I never thought I'd be sympathetic to George II on anything, but when one listens to Schumer, Clinton, Graham, Frist, Hastert, not to mention media blowhards like Jack Cafferty on CNN, what choice does one have? In this case, the relative bad guys are the fear-mongers. Let them explain why a large company, Dubai Ports World, would jeopardize a lucrative worldwide business to help terrorists, who didn't need any such help on 9/11. This has the stench of populist demagoguery about it. I don't think governments should own ports or companies that operate ports. But we're stuck with such things today. The opponents of the Dubai deal are not calling for privatization. They apparently have no problem with other government-owned port operators, which are ubiquitous. So this is just a case of whipping up fear to score political points. Arabs are easy targets these days.


1000myths said...

I have suddenly realized how effective the anti-Muslim propaganda has been. When I first learned of the Dubai deal I immediately had visions of wild-eyed, bomb-throwing, Arab terrorists running our ports. This is the obvious, knee jerk reaction that would be expected in the current,polarized climate. I also jumped to the immediate conclusion that if G.W. Bush was behind it (and on the surface he appears to be) it must be bad!
Now, I sit and wonder "Who/why is trying to shape opinion this way and what is their agenda?"

Sheldon Richman said...

There's much going on here. Some people want to establish their hawk credentials by outflanking Bush, and there are economic rivalries as well. The British company's partner is suing to stop the sale. Presumably, it wants the leases. See this:

Libertarian Jason said...

Excellent post, Sheldon.

Admittedly, I haven't been able to make heads or tails out of this issue. Some of the things you are talking about are pointing me towards a resolution in my own mind.

Sheldon Richman said...

As some have already remarked, Bush may be doing this for entirely the wrong reasons (rewarding friends, perhaps), but that alone doesn't mean it shouldn't be done. Also, remember what he is doing: he is abstaining from interfering. That's what government should do (unless there is a compelling reason to do otherwise). It is the members of Congress who want to block the transaction.

Todd Andrew Barnett said...


What an excellent blog on the Dubai Ports World ruckus! I'm with you on this one entirely, although, like you, I wish the ports were definitely privatized. Unfortunately, the collectivists on the left, the right, and even in some "libertarian" circles in the GOP are just using this controversy as an excuse for more posturing, more bipartisan bickering, and more pandering to their favored special interests. The way I see it, it's more about politics than actually doing something genuine for the security of the U.S.

While privatization is definitely the preferrable choice, unfortunately it's not even a consideration. There's a reason for that. The statists on both sides really don't want the government to hand over the ports to the private sector, because, if the government really did that, then it would control and ownership of the ports. They find that choice too obscene, so they would rather engage in smear and scare tactics and political bickering at the expense of the safety of the country.

What's even worse is that both sides refuse to produce satisfactory alternatives to this mess. But that's not a surprise, because it's not their incentive to do it for our sake.

As much as I have opposed Bush's policies in Iraq and his economic controls here, this entire snafu has, in a way, made me feel sorry for him.

Yours in Liberty,

Todd Andrew Barnett

Todd Andrew Barnett said...
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