Saturday, February 17, 2007

Guess who's been running the port of New Jersey

You may remember the furor that was the Dubai Ports World deal. That was when Bush ran full-face into his own campaign of fear.

The Bush Cargo Culture had spent the previous five years suggesting that any human with dark hair, a swarthy complexion and an accent that couldn't be identified was a prime suspect for a terrorist act. Then, Peninsular & Orient Steamship Lines sold everything to Dubai Ports World, headquartered in, you remember now, Dubai.

The problem was that P&O Ports was a part of the deal and that meant that the P&O port terminal facilities in six US ports were now being handed over to a bunch of murderous Arabs. It meant that all of P&O's terminals, worldwide, were being handed over to DPW. Most countries just shrugged. The US probably should have done the same thing. The threat from DPW ownership of the P&O terminal in New Jersey, for example, was next to non-existent.

That didn't stop the whole thing from boiling over. DPW is a state-owned company and that meant Bush was allowing Arab ownership of an arguably strategic facility. His own party turned on him creating an enchanting situation where his recent water-carriers in Congress turned on him.

There is a whole series of posts here which will provide details. The interesting part of this is that Bush, had he not spent the previous five years laying the groundwork for his own embarrassment, was actually quite right. There was nothing about the DPW deal that presented any kind of threat whatsoever. The truth be known, most citizens of Dubai would never have any reason to so much as visit one of those ports to work. It is a simple truth: Emiratis don't work. They import all of their labourers and over 80 percent of the population of Dubai are immigrants.

Anyway, that was all one year ago. By early March 2006, DPW had agreed to sell-off their newly acquired US operations to an American company. Everything quietened down.

Sort of.

It seems DPW still owns the terminal operations and the Port of New Jersey is demanding $84 million for "port improvements" from DPW, before the facilities can be sold. So... after all the gnashing of teeth, all the flailing of arms and all the rhetoric that flowed, the Arab state-owned company, Dubai Ports World, has been running the former P&O terminal in New Jersey anyway. And... no terrorists.

If you want the most delicious take on this you must pay a visit to Blue Gal where she describes the social habits of Dubai Emiratis in some eloquent detail.

Owning ports? No big deal.

Going shopping? If there is a shopping festival the good citizens of Dubai will go.

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