The recent set of events concerning whether or not a company from Dubai should be in charge of running several ports including the Port of Miami has not fallen on Jeb Bush as of yet. Governor Bush needs to step to the bat here and have a heart to heart talk with the President of the United States and tell him that port management should be done by a US company, and not by any foreign government.
The current press is failing to describe the current situation correctly. The company that was approved to handle our main ports is not a privately held corporation. It is instead an arm of the United Arab Emirates, wholly owned by the government. Previously in the case of the UK company that used to run things, they were a private corporation bidding as any other would on the port Request for Proposals. This is not a case of whether an Arab company should be involved in the running of our ports, but whether a foreign government should. Would we allow it in any other place in our country? For instance, often we allow private companies to run some of our prisons. Would we allow a foreign government to do so? How about our airports? How about our nuclear power plants, or our water utilities? We would never allow it.
For a skilled laborer to immigrate to the United States, the DHS ( no longer customers and immigration) requires that the person prove that he will not be taking the job away from another US citizen who has the same skills. This is a lengthy process that requires publication in the newspapers and actual interviews with US Citizens who may apply for the job. There has got to be a good reason why the foreign skilled laborer will be chosen over a US Citizen. The same standard should apply with regards to running our ports. Is there a US corporation that can do the same job. I am sure there is. For the kind of money that will be made here, any management company will acquire the skills necessary to run the operations.
United Arab Emirates Under a Microscope
Since the UAE in fact is the company that will be running our ports, it is important to look at their record, as we would with any government wanting to do business with us. Our CIA has published a report on UAE updated in January of this year. According to the CIA :
“the UAE is a drug transshipment point for traffickers given its proximity to Southwest Asian drug producing countries; the UAE’s position as a major financial center makes it vulnerable to money laundering…”
You can see the full report at this link: http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/geos/ae.html#Issues . The word transshipment is a valid one. Drug Trafficking is a big issue here in the US. Although they would not be in charge of security, how can they make sure that companies that are dealing in illegal drugs are fully scrutinized including the shipping companies they work with, if they can’t even do it in their own ports.
I think we have to ask ourselves if we are truly at war against terrorism, then the last thing we want is any foreign country having anything to do with running our vulnerable ports.
The mere fact that President Bush is even continuing this issue makes matter worse. There are elections coming up and that last thing the Republicans need is a loose cannon in the White House, who obviously doesn’t look at his ratings, and refuses to consider the potential political losses. This will not be an issue that will simply go away.
If the UAE were smart and considering that public opinion will never come around to accepting this deal, they would simply pull out of this and look to make their money in some other way…like selling oil.