Wednesday, February 22, 2006

Bring On Dubai!

After considering everything I've read about Dubai World Ports, I have decided I have no issues with the deal at all. A lot of what convinced me can be seen in this Reynolds rampage. First questioning the deal, Glenn was basically annihilated by arguments for and against, and he has more than a dozen blog links that thoroughly transverse all the terrain here. I'm in favor of the deal now for three reasons:

1) Making Inroads. Obviously the U.S. could use more friendly ties to Arab countries. This helps with that. Nixing the deal quite obviously doesn't. Arab countries everywhere would perceive any cancellation of the deal (and rightly so) as xenophobic discrimination, or worse anti-Muslim. Dubai acquired the British firm, fair and square. To then deny them the chance to deliver the services would be pretty messed up without a clear reason. So allowing the deal helps build a positive business relationship between UAE and the US. Whatever reasons to strike it brings me to number 2.

2) Security Risk. What security risk exists seems overstated. UAE troops have fought in Afghanistan with the U.S., and UAE has for the most part been a military ally in the Middle East. If we trust them with our military operations, why not trust them with the ports? Also, if our ports were secure to being with this wouldn't be an issue. How about addressing that underlying issue instead? As an additional rejoinder, it's unlikely Dubai will be bringing in foreign-born workers suddenly to the US to staff these ports and replacing the workers. They will use Americans. Most likely they will retain the management staff from the British firm as well, since that's usually how acquisitions work for contracts like this. Next.

3)Bad Congress. I've spent a lot of time recently decrying the Imperial Presidency of C-Plus Augustus, and whining about how we need more Congressional Oversight. This is one of those instances where the shoe is on the other foot. Congress is getting way too up in the President's grill for something way less consequential than the other million things they actually SHOULD be getting up in his grill for. You don't like it? Write some policy about it and try to solve the issue next time. An ad hoc broadside banning one deal is a waste of Congress' time, and interferes with the Executive Branch's ability to do its job. It's Congressional Oversight by knee-jerk, exactly the kind we don't need. It would be more constructive for Congress to provide overall guidance by specifying what it would like than governing by saying "not it" whenever it sees something it doesn't like.

So, while there are maybe other ways to go, I think I side with Bush on this one. There's nothing clearly wrong with this deal, and there's a lot clearly wrong with the critics of the deal and their arguments. If you want to see said arguments and defenses, again I recommend the Instabandit roundup.