Monday, February 27, 2006

Even More Conservative Commentary on the Port Deal

Diana West isn't so keen on the port deal.
Well, one overwhelming reason is that it was spawn of the Middle East, not Great Britain, that hijacked four American passenger planes on Sept. 11, 2001. And it was United Arab Emirates, not Great Britain, that served as a financial and operational base for the Sept. 11 hijackers (two of whom came from UAE), and a hub for Pakistan's rogue nuclear export business. As Great Britain is Islamized, the distinction narrows; for now, it's reason enough to hold a UAE company to that "different standard." But such evidence -- and there's more -- is obvious; hardly the stuff of great debates. The fact that the president even begs the question is what requires deeper consideration.

Bush threatens to veto any legislation drafted against the port sale. Why? The only explanation I can think of -- and it spells disaster -- is that George W. Bush has decided that international feelings trump national concerns; that upsetting the UAE is worse than upsetting Americans: "I am trying to conduct a foreign policy now by saying to the people of the world, `We'll treat you fairly,'" he said. Fairly? That's how you treat people after the war, not while the outcome remains undecided.
Of course one chilling thing about the current War on Terror is that it's not really expected to end. So I gather we won't be dealing with the Muslim World for quite a while.

Robert Novak, on the other hand, is in favor of the Port Deal. And of pointing out the political opportunism of the Democrats in congress.
. . . deeper problems are reflected by overwhelming public opposition to a company owned by the government of a close Arab ally operating U.S. ports. Polls suggest the darker side of the American mind: isolationist, protectionist, nativist and xenophobic. Bush's ceaseless efforts to rouse his countrymen to support the war against terrorism may have unleashed the dogs of anti-Arab prejudice.

The firestorm over whether Dubai Ports World should be permitted to replace a British company in control of U.S. ports is unexpected largesse for Democrats, desperate to regain control of Congress this year. Left-wing Democrats led by Schumer and Sen. Hillary Clinton seek the opportunity to trump Bush and the Republicans on their strong suit of national security.
Armstrong Williams goes a step further, to comment on the growth of American racism against Arab Americans.
This new strain of anti-Arab racism is exemplified by the hubbub that greeted the United Arab Emirates plan to take over shipping operations at six U.S. ports. The operations had previously been rented out to a British navigation company. No one had a problem with that. Nor does anyone have a problem with ports being rented to other countries, which they are. Legislators are only exhorting the President to block Arabs from taking over operations at the ports. To his credit, the president has said those who oppose putting the United Arab Emirates in charge of operations need to "step up and explain why a Middle Eastern company is held to a different standard."
Williams does not see fit to comment on how his fellow Conservative Commentators (people like Ann Coulter or Cal Thomas) have fed this racism to the best of their abilities. Larry Kudlow takes a similar tack in his article, laying the problem completely at the feet of Democrats and calling the hullabaloo a symptom of Islamophobia.

Kathleen Parker responds to this line of defense in her article opposing the sale of the ports.
That distant thunder you hear is the sound of thousands of harrumphing pundits and politicians clearing their throats.

"Ah, what we really meant to say was that we love all G-d's people, but we'd really rather not have Middle Easterners managing our ports. If it's not too much trouble."

But trouble it is to admit what's really got Americans in high dudgeon over the pending sale of shipping operations at six major U.S. ports to the United Arab Emirates (UAE). It's not just the sale itself, but the Bush administration's apparent lack of respect toward American citizens concerning a business deal that at least seems untimely and counterintuitive.
David Limbaugh straddles the fence on this one, which is odd since his brother has been so supportive of the deal.
On the other hand, there are legitimate reasons to be skeptical of this deal and to urge that we err on the side of caution in these dangerous times. It is not just xenophobes and bigots who recognize that all of the Sept. 11 hijackers were Muslims, two of which came from the UAE, that Palestinian Muslims danced in the street upon the news of the murders, that terrorist activities in Iraq and elsewhere around the world are overwhelmingly committed by Muslims, and that we see so little condemnation from "moderate" Muslims of suicide bombings and other atrocities repeatedly perpetrated by Islamic terrorists.

. . . I'm not yet completely convinced we should oppose this transfer for security reasons, but I'm confident it raises sufficient red flags that we ought to take more time to scrutinize before finally deciding.
So let's tally them up (so far)

In favor of the Port Deal - Stuart Rothenberg, Tony Snow, Oliver North, Robert Novak, Armstrong Williams, Larry Kudlow,
Opposed to the Port Deal - Ann Coulter, Kathleen Parker, Cal Thomas, Charles Krauthammer, Robert Spencer, Diana West,
On the Fence - David Limbaugh
Disinterested - Tim Chapman

So that's 6 in favor and 6 opposed with 2 abstaining. Looks like they haven't got this one figured out quite yet. It is interesting that the braniacs who stress about economic issues seem to be in favor of this deal while those rubes who are more concerned with social issues are opposed.

No comments: