Homeland insecurities

The bigger problem of the Dubai port uproar is the bypassing of security measures.

The debate surrounding the Dubai Port Authority transfer has bordered on, and, in some cases, became prime examples of xenophobia. While political ringleaders have focused on the need to have a homegrown port operation, the larger story remains in the Bush administration’s decision to skip a 45-day review process that was required in the first place.

The 45-day review process was put in place to ensure U.S. ports would be homeland-security compliant. President George W. Bush, DP World and Congress announced that a review will take place and an American subsidiary would function independently of the Dubai officials. The announcement comes late as the Bush administration has had criticism pouring in from both sides of the political aisle. Sadly, it took a Republican revolt and a gangly Democrat stand to force Bush’s hand.

According to a Guardian Unlimited report, the Bush administration did not require Dubai ports to keep business records on U.S. soil. The Department of Homeland Security also objected to the ports deal. These complaints were settled only after the Bush administration had made the $6.8 billion deal. It is this willingness of the Bush administration to skip steps and not take seriously the objections even of their own officials that is dangerous.

The hullabaloo over the nationality of the port authorities is overtly political and based in racism. Had the Bush administration announced a deal with a Canadian-owned company or German company, the current complaints never would have materialized. Such xenophobia should not be tolerable in small-town cafés, let alone by U.S. senators. Certainly, the cronyism that is one of the defining principles of the Bush administration is present in the Dubai ports deal, and as disgusting as it is, cannot be battled only by bloggers.

Opponents of the Dubai ports deal must address their concerns on the level of threats to our national security, not debased arguments based in bigoted fears. The Bush administration could do us all a favor in the meantime and start listening to their critics and following their own homeland security measures.