The Great Dubai Debate (or, the United Arab “Heckuva job” Emerates?)

Well, certainly things are starting to get interesting in the Homeland Security department these days. With Dubya’s boys recruiting a state-run company from the UAE to watch the ports of our own nation, this is bound to get fun.

There are a great many different concepts in play on this issue, and it will be interesting to see how things shake out, especially with elections coming up and the Republican heartland recoiling in xenophobic disgust. But this issue isn’t going to be any easier for Democrats. For fun, I’m just going to list out some of the general concepts being bandied about:

  1. Xenophobia: This isn’t an easy one for Dems. Are we saying that forgien nations cannot be trusted? That is the current rhetorical line from the White House.
  2. Outsourcing and “Free Trade”: Here’s one for the Republicans and Dems alike to dance around. Another chief defense of the WH, we need to keep the free flow of capital going. That’s always a popular one with the American people. David Sirota has a good wrapup on this on HuffPo.
  3. Lame Duck-iness: Consider what would happen if the Congress passed a law banning this deal and Bush vetoed it as he has threatened to do. That would be the first veto the President ever used, and the last act of a fully-plucked lame duck.
  4. Cronyism: Of course you knew that two of the principles in this deal are Bush White House officials with ties to the company. Shall we call them the United Arab “Heckuva job” Emerates?
  5. Our Economy: how is it that a foreign country ~ any country ~ shoudl be charged with the responsibility of port security when our economy needs new jobs?
  6. Security: it’s always the last thing on the list, isn’t it? Despite the great trumpeting on the Right about thier superior powers of security, this one just smells wrong on a number of levels.

Ultimately this plan will fail, but the question is: how will it go out? My best-case scenario is that Congress *does* pass a law and that Bush *does* veto it, and it goes back to the Congress where the veto is overturned by an overwhelming majority. That is unlikely to happen, because it is the single worst-case scenario for the Republican Party, but it would be nice, wouldn’t it? either way, the president is going to get his water-fowl groove on soon enough, and it will need to be the Republicans who hand him his feathers and bill, so this is going to be a fun one to watch.
As I watch this whole thing unfold thusfar, I am struck by the one-track political “prowess” of our White House. Once again, they are trying to use the implication of racial prejudice as a wedge to keep detractors inline. Of course, considering the racial profiling conducted by the government in the name of National Security, this doesn’t hold much water, but that’s a snipe not a real answer.

The real answer is that there just is no good reason to hand this job over to anyone outside the government in the first place, because as a democratic society, we expect the government to be answerable for the things we charge them to do. It is not acceptable that some of the most critical and sensitive portions of thier responsibility should be delegated out to anyone, least of all another country.

It turns out that the company in question is one that was originally a British company and sold to the UAE-run company, which only serves to tell me that right from the start, this whole thing was wrong.

As for the question of treating other countries fairly, this has to sound funny to just about anyone who’s paid any attention to the Bush Administration at all. As Josh Marshall points out, the President has not made it his business to treat other countries fairly at all, but rather to do whatever he could to grease the wheels of Corporate America. That, along with the cronyism charge, will ultimately be the impression of the people that will kill off his effectiveness as a leader for good.

By Tommy Belknap

Owner, developer, editor of DragonFlyEye.Net, Tom Belknap is also a freelance journalist for The 585 lifestyle magazine. He lives in the Rochester area with his wife and son.