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Rantings of a Sandmonkey

Be forewarned: The writer of this blog is an extremely cynical, snarky, pro-US, secular, libertarian, disgruntled sandmonkey. If this is your cup of tea, please enjoy your stay here. If not, please sod off

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

On ports

Ohh man, where to begin on this one? Hmm, let's start with some Key Quotes first: President Bush: They — in working with our folks, they've agreed to make sure that their coordination with our security folks is good and solid. I really don't understand why it's OK for a British company to operate our ports but not a company from the Middle East, when our experts are convinced that port security is not an issue; that having worked with this company, they're convinced that these — they'll work with those who are in charge of the U.S. government's responsibility for securing the ports, they'll work hand in glove. I want to remind people that when we first put out the Container Security Initiative, the CSI, which was a new way to secure our ports, UAE was one of the first countries to sign up.

In other words, we're receiving goods from ports out of the UAE, as well as where this company operates. And so I, after careful review of our government, I believe the government ought to go forward. And I want those who are questioning it to step up and explain why all of a sudden a Middle Eastern company is held to a different standard than a Great British (sic) company. I'm trying to conduct foreign policy now by saying to people of the world, we'll treat you fairly. And after careful scrutiny, we believe this deal is a legitimate deal that will not jeopardize the security of the country, and at the same time, send that signal that we're willing to treat people fairly.

Michelle Malkin: First, the deal will outsource port operations not just to any "foreign-based company"--but to a state-owned entity based in a known transit point for al Qaeda operatives and a key transfer point for shipments of smuggled nuclear components sent to Iran, North Korea and Libya. Second, of course, there's no such thing as a perfect defense. Should we never subject any Mideast companies or individuals to heightened scrutiny because it would offer "no security guarantees?" [...] The issue is not whether day-to-day, on-the-ground conditions at the ports would change. They presumably wouldn't. The issues are whether we should grant the demonstrably unreliable UAE access to sensitive information and management plans about our key U.S ports, which are plenty insecure enough without adding new risks, and whether the decision process was thorough and free from conflicts of interest. Wall Street Journal: Critics also forget, or conveniently ignore, that the UAE government has been among the most helpful Arab countries in the war on terror. It was one of the first countries to join the U.S. container security initiative, which seeks to inspect cargo in foreign ports. The UAE has assisted in training security forces in Iraq, and at home it has worked hard to stem terrorist financing and WMD proliferation. UAE leaders are as much an al Qaeda target as Tony Blair. As for the Democrats, we suppose this is a two-fer: They have a rare opportunity to get to the right of the GOP on national security, and they can play to their union, anti-foreign investment base as well. At a news conference in front of New York harbor, Senator Chuck Schumer said allowing the Arab company to manage ports "is a homeland security accident waiting to happen." Hillary Clinton is also along for this political ride.

So the same Democrats who lecture that the war on terror is really a battle for "hearts and minds" now apparently favor bald discrimination against even friendly Arabs investing in the U.S.? Guantanamo must be closed because it's terrible PR, wiretapping al Qaeda in the U.S. is illegal, and the U.S. needs to withdraw from Iraq, but these Democratic superhawks simply will not allow Arabs to be put in charge of American longshoremen. That's all sure to play well on al Jazeera.

National Review:

Moreover, while the UAE has become a war on terror partner, its history is checkered — to say the least. Critics claim that the UAE recognized the Taliban, and al Qaeda used it in 9/11 preparations. Dubai, a Middle Eastern banking “Mecca,” has long been the crossroads of money laundering and terrorist financing. In addition, the UAE has ties to Iran, and Pakistan’s Dr. Strangelove, A. Q. Khan, used the Emirates as a shipping hub for his nuke network.

Lileks: It’s remarkably tone deaf. It’s possible that the Administration did some quiet polling, and asked the question “How much Arab control over American ports are you comfortable with,” and misinterpreted stunned silence as assent. It’s possible the Administration believed that this would be seen as outreach, an act of faith to solidify a Key Ally, and didn’t think there’d be much hubbub – but if that’s the case, it’s the best example of the Bubble Theory I’ve heard, and I’ve not heard much convincing evidence. Until now. The average American’s reaction to handing port control over to the UAE is instinctively negative, and for good reason. There are two basic reactions: We can’t do this ourselves? and We should trust them, why? [...] But the specifics don’t matter; arguments about the specific nature of the Dubai Ports World organization’s global reach and responsible track records don’t matter. Because it feels immediately, instinctively wrong to nearly every American, and that isn’t something that can be argued away with charts or glossy brochures. It just doesn’t sit well. Period. RWNH: So what’s the problem? The problem is in the atmospherics of this deal.

The problem is with the tone deaf bureaucrats of CFIUS who okayed this deal in the first place. They may have gotten some DoD flunky to vote for it in Committee but not bothering to brief the Secretary of Defense or the Chairman of the Joint Chief of Staff about it only contributes to the notion that they are not taking port security very seriously.

The problem is with the incompetence (or arrogance) of the supposedly vaunted White House political operation in treating this deal like a routine transaction when the involvement of a Middle Eastern country whose toleration and support for the Wahhabi brand of Islam was sure to cause trouble on the Hill. Then there’s also the minor matter involving the UAE being a banking Mecca for terrorism. I find it more than a little ironic that monies we’re pouring into the banking system of that country could be used to plan and carry out attacks against our own country.

The problem was in not recognizing that the deal would give your ravenous and out of control enemies on the left and in the press a great big T-Bone steak of an issue to chew on in the immediate aftermath of the Cheney debacle. These are people who were gnawing on your leg while bodies were still floating in the floodwaters of New Orleans. Just what in God’s name were they thinking?

The problem is that given the lukewarm response of our government to the cartoon jihad, the President’s strongest and most vocal supporters would see this deal as one more nod, one more cave-in to Muslim sensibilities rather than the good business deal it almost certainly is. Taking the base for granted in anything is bad politics. In this case, it demonstrates an ineptness that would be troubling if we weren’t getting used to it by now.

Finally, the problem is President Bush. One of the major reasons we went to war in Iraq and have sacrificed so much was based on the idea – a good one – that after 9/11 we couldn’t take the chance that Saddam would make common cause with al Qaeda and supply them with weapons of mass destruction. It wasn’t important how likely that possibility was at the time. The point was that we just couldn’t take the chance.

And now here we are 3 years later and we are taking what I believe is a similar chance that a company owned by a state that has refused to recognize Israel, that acted as a waystation for al Qaeda in the lead-up to 9/11, and despite protestations to the contrary, is run like a Medieval fiefdom with trafficking in white slavery, illegal arms, and drugs some of its more unseemly activities. It is “stable” only as long as Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al Maktoum – “Sheik Mo” as he is called by his subjects – can keep the lid on the resentments of the hundreds of thousands of foreign workers who live in virtual slavery and who do the scut work that the natives and western contractors don’t feel like doing.

Read all that? you are a champ. Now let's decipher all of this crap, shall we? The way I see it, logically there should be no reason why an arab company- especially one that is a MNC- can't bid and win the right to operate US ports. To deny them the right to in the bid, based on the fact that they are arab alone, is, as you know, wrong. It may not feel right, but, technically, that was never a problem in business. It didn't feel right when Halliburton took those no bid contracts in Iraq either, but, you know, they are one of the few qualified companies to do their kind of work and chances are it would've been them winning the bid, if not on the very short list of contenders. But then again, Halliburton is a US company, so little to fear there for reactionaries. However... There is legitimate concern when a foriegn government is the one handeling your ports, arab or not. It just goes a little on the bad side when that foreign goverment is an arabic Islamic one, in a time where the US is fighting this war right next door. That, my friends , I agree, doesn't feel right. I am the first to admit and defend how moderate the UAE is and how they haven't been involved in terrorism or funding it in any way as far as I am concerned and can see. However, imagine the uproar if it was a company owned by the US government the one in charge of the UAE ports. Accusations of imperialism and zionistic conspiracies would spring eternal. It's sad, but it's expected and while I disapprove of it, I understand it. Anyway... It seems to me, personally, that the actual problem with US ports is the fact that only 3% of all Cargo containers get checked. This means that Anyone who wants to smuggle anything in has a 97% success rate. That's scary! That's the thing you should al be up in arms about. Shit, if there are too many ships in your opinion, then at least go for 30% getting checked. Least you can do, you know? So , basically, I wouldn't approve of this deal personally just because it's a company that is foreign-government owned, but denying it on the basis of "but they are sandmonkeys" just isn't good enough. I think this will lead to a review of the deal and people will do their due dilligance and work and will come out and say either YAY or Nay. I also think that the senators and the congressmen are exploiting the issue for the 06 elections. That we are seeing what will even be a republican strategy for the 06 elections: attack Bush. Show you are independent from the republican establishment. Yes. That's the ticket. But again, it's sad that none of the senators or congresmen are bringing this issue up in terms of sovreignty, and are doing the whole "Bush is caving in to the arabs" routine. I personally think its admireable of Bush to take the stand that he is taking, and that it should show the arabs in the US why they can't trust the democrats to be on their side of anything. That they claim to be "on the arabs side" for the conveinece of it all, and that the fact that US muslims have always historically voted for the republican party was always the soundest decision they could make. Anywhoo... I guess we will have to wait and see how this one plays out, huh?


At 2/22/2006 11:52:00 AM, Blogger EducSubNorm said...

My favourite is the "Wall StreetJournal"

Critics also forget, or conveniently ignore, that the UAE government has been among the most helpful Arab countries in the war on terror

They were particularly helpful in supplying the terror also.

At 2/22/2006 12:25:00 PM, Blogger Jeff said...

Hey SM,

I'm still looking at this issue with an open mind. DP World is a legitimate company with a good track record of running port TERMINALS. Let us not forget that if or when this transaction goes through that what DP World will be buying are cranes, warehouses, and equipment needed for loading and unloading shipping containers from cargo vessels. They will operate several terminals in various ports. Is it any different from a Chinese company running most of the Long Beach terminals? Or perhaps Egypt Air running thier own terminal at LAX or Dulles or United Airlines running thier terminal in Cairo?
I may be all wet here, but I find "ethnic" bashing to be distateful(religion bashing is another matter when those you are bashing give you the amunition with which to bash them) no matter who it's directed at and so far those opposed to this deal seem to be basing thier conclusions solely on the fact that DP World is owned by the government of th UAE...i.e. a bunch of Arabs. I just need more information...

At 2/22/2006 12:51:00 PM, Blogger scandiwoman said...

I'll use this analogy -it's a true story: my acquaintance fell for this jerk who was a prejudiced, racist guy. Everything that wasn't 'him' (that he couldn't directly relate to) made it to his hate-list, but for some strange reason his best friend was a gay man who bought him expensive gifts like garden furniture and stereos, hm...this really was an obvious case (he used this girl as a front to please his equally narrowminded family). It was great that he accepted homosexuality but... SO, this is what annoys me: Bush is a dumb (no joke, just reality) greedy man who attacked Iraq with flimsy reasons, is a zealous christian who takes the book pretty literally and is pretty much a bigot who talks about 'the culture of life' yet sees no value in an Iraqi's life and can't distuingish Iraq from Iran. What bothers me is his motivation. Guantanamo, Abu Ghraib and speeches about 'the axis of evil' isn't trying to 'win the hearts and minds of the muslim world'. Why, after so many years of aggressive practices that have rather served to recruit more terrorists than to make the world safer, would he be attempting the diplomatic, understanding soft approach now? Right. It's just revolting what a slut he is when it comes to pocketing a few bucks. You got to keep those rich friends -arab or american -happy. Like the guy who obviously had nothing against gays just because he happened to be one, Bush does not care about muslims but if it's about money...now, he can dig that!

At 2/22/2006 01:01:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi SM,

Great blog. I feel that most of the criticism is based that it is an Arab company. I agree with Bush that if it was a British company, the deal would not have generated a lot of conflict. So unless you refuse foreign operation of transport infrastructure, then one should adop sound business practice and not mix one's prejudices with business. Security of the port is another matter in the hand of the US authorities to ensure. By the way, public-private partnership is a useful tool for enhancing the efficiency and cost-effectiveness of transport infrastructure, it is used in ports, airports, road corridors, etc, world-wide
Egyptian in Germany

At 2/22/2006 01:13:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"but denying it on the basis of "but they are sandmonkeys" just isn't good enough"

Perhaps not..but here are some other reasons:


As you read through this list keep this fact in mind: Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company, the company selling the American ports operations to Dubai Ports World, is a private company. Peninsular is not owned by the government of Great Britain. Dubai Ports world is a state-owned company, owned by the United Arab Emirates. So, what we have here is a private company selling its rights to operate these six ports in the Untied States to a government ... an Islamic government. (96% Muslim) So, to answer Bush's question as to ...why all of a sudden a Middle Eastern company is held to a different standard than a [British] company." let's start with this correction. It's a Middle Eastern government that's being held to a different standard than a British company. Governments often use deadly force to accomplish their goals. Private companies do not. There, President Bush is your reason No. 1 for a different standard. Now that we've established that rather important difference ... let's move on to compare Great Britain to the UAE.

1. Great Britain is not an Islamic Nation. The de facto state religion there is Anglican, the Church of England. My extensive research shows that the Anglican Church has never, at least in modern times, committed an act of terror against the United States. Nor has the Church of England demanded that Israel be wiped off the face of the earth. Additionally, the Anglican Church has not announced it's intention to subjugate the entire world under Anglican rule.

2. The UAE IS an Islamic Nation. Review Item No. 2 above.

3. The 9/11 hijackers did not use Great Britain as an operational and financial base for the planning and funding of their attacks on the United States.

4. The 9/11 hijackers DID use the United Arab Emirates as an operational and financial base for the planning and funding of their attacks on the United States.

5. None of the 9/11 hijackers came from Great Britain.

6. Two of the 9/11 hijackers came from the United Arab Emirates

7. Great Britain did not recognize the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan. The Taliban, you may remember, provided the operational base for the operations of Al Qaeda.

8. The United Arab Emirates DID recognize the Taliban as the legitimate government of Afghanistan. Good move.

9. Great Britain recognizes the government of Israel.

10. The UAE does NOT recognize the government of Israel.

11. Supporters of this move will tell you that there are already foreign companies already running most of American port operations.

12. We're not talking about a foreign company here. We're talking about a foreign government.

There just must be something here under the surface. Something unseen. Something undisclosed. The Bush White House just can't be this blind to the legitimate concerns of the people and of those in Congress who are concerned about this move.

At 2/22/2006 01:56:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

'There just must be something here under the surface. Something unseen. Something undisclosed. The Bush White House just can't be this blind to the legitimate concerns of the people and of those in Congress who are concerned about this move. '

What the person just before me said. Something is Seriously not right here. Maybe Bush is playing some game with the Dems... I can only hope.

~ Gary

At 2/22/2006 02:18:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Scandiwoman said:

1. Bush is dumb.(as if he didn't attend Harvard for grad school. Where did you go scandi?)

2. He sees no value in an Iraqi's life. (If there are no sanctions then Saddam starts another war and kills a bunch of Iraqi's, with sanctions Iraqi's starve and Saddam still kills a bunch of Iraqi's, and if we invade a bunch of Iraqi's will die. The only good option is to pretend there is no issue at all and bitch about American Imperialism.)

3. He can't distuingish Iraq from Iran. (Are you sure about that?)

4. Guantanamo, Abu Graib and speech's about the "axis of evil" isn't trying to win hearts and minds of the muslim world.(The guards at Abu Graib were arrested and we don't really give a fuck about winning the hearts and minds of the people in Gitmo. I would love for you to tell me what we should do with terrorists we capture for the next few years. Saddam and Kim Jung Il are/were evil motherfuckers.)

4. aggressive practices that have rather served to recruit more terrorists than to make the world safer. (Not counting the hundreds of thousands of Americans in harms way right now it appears that the Islamists, not muslims but Islamists, seem to be focused on Europe.)

5. Bush is only doing this for money. (How do you know?)


At 2/22/2006 03:11:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We're missing something here but I don't know what..yet! Why do I say this ? simple, look at Bush' record and his covey of advisors. look at how he needs the folks at home on his side and that goes beyond the old 'don't piss the voters off' deal, apart from the fact that elections are coming up AND dubya can't run for pres again. So, why did he do this? If it's only money then Haliburton and a raft of US oil companies must have some quid pro quo deal with the UAE. If it's more than money then perhaps they want an air-base there for the day when Saudi is ruled by the Islamic Council. Whatever it is it sure as shit aint about extending the glad hand. BW

At 2/22/2006 03:45:00 PM, Blogger The Egyptian Observer said...

Bush is finally reading between the lines. This should send a positive message across the Arab world and alleviate Arab-American tensions.

Please visit my blog to read further on this story.

At 2/22/2006 04:00:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The only thing that Dubya ever read had pictures and the words "run Spot, run. See Spot run". grade school primer for those who live elsewhere.

At 2/22/2006 04:18:00 PM, Blogger Kender said...

Sam, P&O, the company bought by Dubai Ports World was not a government owned company, so that first thing is a difference between P&O and DPW running the ports.

(side note: halliburton was teh only company that could handle the contracts that had jumped through all of the security hoops atthe time the contracts were to be handed out)

Actually anonymus at 1:13 covered it well.....

At 2/22/2006 05:07:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm as big a gung ho ra ra kill all Islamist fascist terrorist scum kinda guy as they come, but the intial reaction to all this make is look like we can't trust anything w/ an Arab name on it, and certainly makes us look like we have a problem with all Arabs & not just the backward a-holes trying to take the world back 12 centruries.
The biggest irony is that most of the opposition started from the Democrats who were the ones who are supposed to be the touchy feely friends of the world that were gonna make everybody love us again, yet here we are acting like anything w/ an Arab name is suspect. I now opposition has gone bipartisan, but first news I read was all from Dems who'd found another PR coup.
Something tells me if Kerry was president, this would be called bridge building & all the other happy crap.

Yes, UAE has some strikes against it: recognizing Taliban, banks being used for terrorism funding, 2 9/11 hijackers from there, etc, but UAE isn't Iran or Saudi Arabia, & they have some things in their corner too.

It's been looked into by the Brits as well as the US govt, doesn't that count for something?

At 2/22/2006 05:08:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon at 4:00, that is very clever. Read this out loud.

I am sofa king.
I am sofa king we todd it.


At 2/22/2006 06:25:00 PM, Blogger Josie said...

The only valid criticism that I can see is that it is a government-owned company. But, in that case to be fair, the US ought to oppose it on that basis... not on the Middle Eastern, Islamic basis. But we should have thought of that before. Thinking it up suddenly now, will appear as what it is: a patch-job to cover up the fact that we don't want certain people operating our ports. The fact is Dubai Ports does a lot of this and they seem to do it well. According to their site, they are the 6th largest port operator in the world, and has signed an agreement with CSX Corp. to acquire its international terminal business.

And please... I'm sorry but you people with the stupid Bush, see spot run, yada yada, something fishy, sneaky GW, everything he does is bad, etc. ::sighs:: That stuff really wears thin. He's damned if he does, damned if he doesn't anyway. So just say that and stop with all the lame personal put-downs, defamation and crap. So, I take it you don't think he's an intelligent, thoughtful, well-spoken, compassionate human being, huh? I bet you think that you are one though, right? Try showing that side of yourselves then.

At 2/22/2006 07:29:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

re.. valid criticism is that it's a government owned company ...

so, if the rival, Singapore government-owned ports company had won the bidding for P&O there would have been the same outrage in America?

re.. Dubai hot bed of salafist / jihadist nutters that financed 9.11

Dubai, that fundamentalist heartland of six star hotels, man made luxury island developments and motor racing fame?

and I can think of at least six similar English nutters off the top of my head, so how come P&O - which WAS a British company btw - had the port contracts in the first place? And on this logic, aren't you worried about reading a blog by an Egyptain? Or banking with Citigroup ; )

I've been following the P&O bid battle for months and the row that's emerged in the US is just embarrassing - Bush is right and SM is being too kind. I've yet to read any argument that isn't based on ignorance or racist hysteria. Sorry for the length. Great blog btw)
Liz, (from London)

At 2/22/2006 08:22:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It is always best to listen to one's gut, and the gut isn't too happy.


At 2/22/2006 08:36:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


The administration is wrong on this one, and not because "it's the sandmonkeys", but because it's any foreign entity. Apparently the Chinese are also administering some of our ports, at least according to what I've heard on the news. This is pathetic, and the Dems are right to make a stink about it. Watching the Republicans defend it makes me gag as much as I did watching feminists rallying around Bill Clinton the sexual predator.



At 2/22/2006 08:43:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...


Again the USA is taking a (big) gamble on the side of what's right. I only hope that fair-minded Muslims will see that the USA wants them to succeed. As decidedly one-sided as it is, hope springs eternal in the USA.

God--I love this country!

Name me a country that would do this??

At 2/22/2006 09:05:00 PM, Blogger Miss Carnivorous said...

The Dubai company won the bid for the British company that used to manage the ports. It seems pretty cut and ried to me. The company in Dubai, is I am sure, made up of professional, educated and experienced individuals who are Arabs. These people have a right to practice their trade like anyone else. I don't think the Democrats are actually bigots, (except for Robert Byrd, of course) but they are coming across as bigoted. The Democrats are like monkeys, (no offense meant to you Sandmonkey, of course) they keep throwing shit and some of it's bound to stick. They can take the most normal of occurences and make it into a dire emergency and they can take the most dire emergency and trivialize it. In this case they are making a mountain out of a molehill, and some of the Republicans are infected by the bug, as well.

At 2/22/2006 09:58:00 PM, Blogger Crazy Girl said...

I don't know how I feel on this one. Arabs here in Tampa are claiming racism on this issue. I just don't trust the Arab world in general..Most Arabs will flip on a dime.. What will happen when they boycott America? Blow up all our ports? Like you said only 3% of cargo gets checked!! When the right group figures that out I'm sure they will take advantage of that.

Even if they say the national guard wills still be in control of the ports I doubt that would have an effect..

After all we are pretty shady people.. I don't think this is the right time for this..

At 2/23/2006 06:31:00 AM, Blogger scandiwoman said...

MIKE, I know the US media has been pussyfooting ever since Bush and co. started running things. I know the press doesn't ask the hard questions and they rather cover rape and murder, or even a local car accident than anything truly significant for better ratings. Besides, Bush and friends made them feel like any disagreement is simply unpatriotic, like they would be personally responsible when the next bomb hit a US landmark. But still, come on. Where have you been? On the moon?
I'm wondering whether you're for real or not but here it goes:

1. Have you ever listened to the guy talk? There are some pretty funny true quotes on comedy central (and elsewhere). And honey, daddy's money and status can get you places. Especially in the old days. (I personally know of a more recent example).

2. They don't bother to keep records of Iraqi civilian casualties. When pushed, he mentions estimates like he was talking about breakfast. And please, it's been so proven that he lied about the reasons of going there. He gave false evidence and has changed his story from time to time.

3. Oh, sorry, forgot what a brilliant guy he is. I mean, he would make a gardner maybe but as president of the USA?

4. Do you follow the news at all? Abu Ghraib goes up top. There were orders from the top that the troops could deal with prisoners as they wished. And then there's what they didn't do like teach proper procedures and educate soldiers on the UN human rights agreement.

4. (Bush, is this you?) Please, please follow the news! Every expert is saying this.

5. If you reflect upon his record at home alone, his priorities become quite clear. He doesn't seem to be man prone to deep self-analysis so I doubt he himself is fully aware of what motivates him. But his record does speak for itself.

At 2/23/2006 07:22:00 AM, Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

Let me be blunt and take the bull by the horns.

It seems that people are afraid to make generalizations for fear of being called racist. The age-old practice of assessing the character of an individual or a culture has been suspended out of fear of being insensitive. However, a culture, like an individual, that has a poor record embracing modernity, decency, and liberty, can not turn around on a dime. The past is part of one’s reputation and can not simply be erased.

Islam has 14 centuries of problems that can’t be undone in a year or two. Islamic countries are suspect and will continue to be suspect for at least a generation or two even if instead of an Islamic Revival there was a modernization movement. Reform and redemption take decades. However, since the Islamic Revival is on an upswing, we should be building walls not bridges. Our interactions should be limited.

At 2/23/2006 12:26:00 PM, Anonymous E_Squared said...


You have sincere intentions. (Protection of your country).
But you are a retard.

On the topic at issue:

As an expat having lived in the UAE for about 17 years, I have seen that country sprout from mudhuts to an ultra-cosmopolitan urban jungle within such a short time.

This is a country where 7-star hotels are built, where offshore islands are constructed out of the water, where WOMEN COPS roam the streets in their police interceptors, (Ive gotten pulled over a couple times by them), where their flat tax percentages make the US's taxes look like Sweden's, and where the presiding culture is extremely liberal and progressive. Their minster of Economy and planning is a chick, Mrs. Lubna Al Qasimi.

Even though a majority of its populace is actually foreign, I have dealt with and mingled with so many of its locals to date, and none of this would have occured without their consent.

Enough about the crash-course on the country however (something everyone here should have done FIRST): Now for the fun part:

I am a Republican. I voted for Bush. I was for taking out Saddam. But im sorry, I cannot stand by and watch while idiots like "Jason_Papas" and the rest of his bigoted ilk (yes, some on the republican community too) drag the name of this country through the mud, simply because a) they dont know anything about it,and b) they get a hard-on everytime they are given a remote opportunity to bash Arabs and Muslims in general. You care about security? Great! So do I! But if you are going to resort to "The Arabs are coming! The Arabs are coming!" rhetoric, then stick your next blog post where the sun dont shine.


The Defence:

The UAE recognized the Taliban for business purposes, not ideological ones. Remember, there are alot of foreign workers in the UAE, including many Afghanis, not recognizing the Taliban would have meant ordinary Afghanis looking to be productive and work would not have been allowed in. Very humanitarian right?

Regarding shipments of dubious containers: Penalizing Dubai for being a transfer HUB of materials, is like blaming a box for its contents. Also seeing as how we only inspect 10% of our containers here in the US, for all we know, the Russians are using our ports to transport uranium shell casings wrapped in American child porn to Venzuela. We never knew, they passed through our ports, so oh my god! The US now supports child porn and errant nukes! Oh my god! But..but...they PASSED through the US! ...


As a finale, let me say: DO YOUR RESEARCH people. The UAE shares a border with Saudi, but there difference there is like NIGHT and DAY.

Thank you.


At 2/23/2006 01:03:00 PM, Blogger Jason_Pappas said...

Our company has people who travel to the UAE on business all the time and I hear all the stories both good and bad. I’m not impressed. Much more is needed than materialist abundance. A depth of commitment to a liberal order takes generations to establish. Whether the UAE can withstand a crisis (when it occurs) or undergo a Salafist reaction is yet to be seen. Over the last century, few nations have maintained the capacity to withstand internal disintegration to a dictatorial state or the fortitude to withstand external threats, outside the Anglo-sphere. It takes generations before we should declare a cultural change, solid and durable. It’s too early to put the UAE on par with the UK or Australia.

At 2/23/2006 01:15:00 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Arabs screaming racism is beyond funny and hypocritical. The end must be nigh. scandiwoman, fuck you.

At 2/23/2006 06:04:00 PM, Blogger Charles N. Steele said...

This discussion misses the point. The U.S. gov't has been running big budget deficits. U.S. consumers don't save. The difference is necessarily made up by foreigners, via capital inflows.

The foreigners used to largely be Europeans, but increasingly are (horrors!) Asians (esp. Chinese, but including Arabs...none of them very white or Christian...double horrors!). There's a good measure of hypocrisy in Americans whining about foreigners trying to invest in the U.S., since it's our own fiscal irresponsibility that makes it necessary.

It's fun to debate whether the non-white non-Christian foreigners should be allowed to engage in FDI here, I guess, but irrelevant. So long as we Americans remain on our credit binge, it's inevitable. That's the real issue.

At 2/24/2006 07:32:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Mike / 5.08pm sofa king. sorry I'm late but had work to do..google it. look I know that dubya isn't that silly, nobody could be, so he had all the R elected representatives around to debate what they should do about the ports situation. Now the outcome of this has been that they are now known as mass debaters. and that's all i have to say on the matter.

At 2/24/2006 08:44:00 PM, Anonymous Danny Howard said...

Mr. Sandmonkey,

You can run my ports anytime!

But since you are a humble blogger, I don't mind if some folks from Dubai run my ports instead.

Of course, it would be reassuring to know that we had good ports security practices. But "don't let UAE Sandmonkeys run the ports" is not quite good security practices.



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