Saturday, March 04, 2006

Kudlow Is Right on Dubai Ports World

Following up on my post of last week, Larry Kudlow has a terrific column in National Review Online on the Dubai Ports World debacle. It can be found here:
http://www.nationalreview.com/kudlow/kudlow200603041230.asp

The unfolding information suggests that calmer heads are prevailing. I was amused to note that former President Clinton was advising the Dubai company, while Senator Hillary Clinton was calling for more investigations and raising a ruckus about security. Wouldn't you expect the former President to choose his foreign business associations carefully? And wouldn't you expect Mrs. Clinton to trust the former President's judgment on that issue as well?

It is completely appropriate to be careful about security matters. But a view of isolationism and fear is not likely to achieve greater security than an approach that builds trust through emerging common interests rooted in commerce.

EAM

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

You fail to mention the content and context of the Clintons interest in the Dubai ports deal. Pres. Clinton advised Dubai to go through the 45 day security review as part of the process of taking over the ports. Sen Clinton is also calling for the security review. We do not know what this may tell us, but there is consistency "in the family". The Bush administration did not undertake this, which they should have.

Cole said...

I am glad y'all are taking up this issue. When I first heard about the deal while sitting at my internship, I was glad to hear about the deal and seeing the U.S. working in friendly relations with an Arab state. However, I was saddened to see many in my own political camp (GOP/conservatives) being so against this.

It really bothers me to see the House GOP working to ban this deal all together. Like today, Rep. Jerry Lewis, R-Calif. said "We want to make sure that the security of our ports are in America's hands." Does he fail to realize that some ports in his own state are owned by China?

Then Rep. Peter King came out and said "We're not going to let the Democrats get to the right of us on national security." It appears to me this deal just came at a really bad time. Republicans are in fear of losing the majority and the Democrats have an upperhand on this issue. First, the American public is largely ignorant on issues such as these and just see some "Arab state" trying to take over our ports, which have been discussed as security issues since 9/11. The Democrats simply have to refuse this deal and make Republican do either two things: 1, seem like they do not care about national security by approving it (again, playing off the ignorance of the American public) or 2, make Republicans refuse the deal and appear hypocritical by believing we can tell over states to open their borders and allow free trade when we won't open our borders.

Do you have anything to say on my points? Or more to add?

And thanks again for taking up this issue and discussing it. It definitely could not have come at a worst time though

Ed Morse said...

Two Quick Thoughts:
On Mrs. Clinton, it is true that both call for security review. However, context is important. Bill called for that as a way to get political approval for his client. As a former President, we would not expect him to be doing this to help an enemy get in under our radar. We expect him to behave above board -- and in the highest standards of loyalty and decorum. I would not suggest anything less from any former President.

Hillary, on the other hand, was doing this to help make a political point for her party and to embarrass the administration. She also claims not to have known of her husband's representation. But note a Financial Times report shows that Bill got about half a million in speaking fees from Dubai in 2002. The UAE also spent somewhere between 500K and 1 million on the Clinton library. Again, if mere association with the UAE makes you suspect, then the Clintons would be suspect and need investigation -- but we've been through that enough already.

On Cole's comments, I'm also disappointed to see conservatives join in the criticism. If the mere fact that a person involved in 911 happened to be from UAE was enough to keep us from doing business with a country, then this proves too much. You have to recognize that no country is full of angels, and in particular there will likely be radical elements in the Arab world who operate against our interests. But remember that some American citizens are also identified with Al Quaeda from time to time.

Though some representatives may be acting out of their own consciences and in good will, it bothers me that some who would otherwise have no qualms about restricting our security interests seek to do so now because it makes the administration look bad.

The people on the right need to understand that we need to do business in the world, and you cannot be successful as an isolationist.

The people on the left need to understand that if you think the religious right is cramping your style, wait till you see how the ruling Mullahs will treat you in the Islamic fundamentalist state that would be imposed under an Al Quada rule.

That kind of puts it in perspective, no?
Thanks to both of you for posting.

Anonymous said...

The Doles had the same kind of relationship to the Dubai deal as the Clintons.

http://www.newsobserver.com/114/story/410502.html

Ed Morse said...

I can't track your link to the story. However, if Mrs. Dole was challenging the security relationships of this company while her husband was advising it (which would surprise me) then I would find that behavior to be just as offensive. I don't care about the party affiliation. As the great Philosopher Forrest Gump says, "Stupid is as Stupid does."
EAM

Anonymous said...

Bob Dole consults for Dubai company
Deal concerns Sen. Elizabeth Dole

Barbara Barrett, Washington Correspondent

North Carolina Sen. Elizabeth Dole's husband, former Sen. Bob Dole, has been hired by Dubai Ports World to help shepherd the company through a $6.8 billion deal to control terminals at six U.S. ports.

Despite her husband's work for Dubai, Elizabeth Dole wrote in a letter Wednesday that she is concerned about turning port operations over to a Middle Eastern company.

"I am deeply concerned that the proposed transfer of seaport operations to a company controlled by the United Arab Emirates government might compromise our ability to effectively control our ports and harbors," Dole wrote in a letter to Sen. John Warner of Virginia, chairman of the Senate Armed Services Committee, of which she is a member.

The committee is planning to receive a briefing today in Washington on the controversial ports deal, but Dole, a Salisbury, N.C., Republican, will miss it because of a previous engagement in Kannapolis.

Dole's spokeswoman said the senator will not be swayed by her husband's work.

"Sen. Elizabeth Dole's decisions are made independent of Bob Dole," spokeswoman Lindsay Taylor Mabry said. "And her top priority always is the constituents she represents."

Mabry said she didn't know how long Elizabeth Dole had known about her husband's consulting for Dubai Ports World.

Bob Dole, a registered lobbyist, former senator from Kansas and GOP presidential candidate, is among a team of lawyers at the Washington law firm Alston & Bird that has been working with Dubai Ports World. Dubai Ports World is owned by the United Arab Emirates.

CNN reported Wednesday that the company hired the law firm in 2005. A call to the firm, which also has an office in Raleigh, was not immediately returned.

In her letter, Dole did not outright oppose the Dubai deal, but she said Congress should take a hard look at it.

"I do not believe that a transaction of this importance should be finalized until the Administration and the Congress have had an opportunity to thoroughly examine, understand, and resolve these concerns," she wrote.

There has been a bipartisan congressional backlash this week against the Bush administration's approval of a pending deal to sell operations at six ports to Dubai Ports World.

Bush said Wednesday that he had no knowledge of the deal before his administration approved it. He also threatened this week to veto any legislation from Congress to overturn the sale.

The deal would allow Dubai Ports World to operate ports in New York, New Jersey, Baltimore, New Orleans, Miami and Philadelphia. They are now operated by a British company.

The United Arab Emirates served as a staging ground for some of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorists. Some in Congress say they've been inundated with calls and e-mail messages from constituents objecting to the plan.

Washington correspondent Barbara Barrett can be reached at (202) 383-0012 or bbarrett@mcclatchydc.com.

Ed Morse said...

Well then, anonymous, I stick with my stupid is as stupid does comment. What applies to the Clintons applies to the Doles.
Thanks for the post.
EAM