When I first heard about the ports deal early last week, I was watching Fox News.
Okay, I wasn't really watching. The TV was on and I was getting ready for work. The Fox & Friends crew was talking with NY Sen. Chuck Schumer. There was some talk about ports being turned over to some foreign country. I paused and listened for a bit. But not for long.
And the reason I paused is because the idea of America's ports being run by another country (okay, businesses from another country, not actually a foreign government) bothered me. And that struck me as a bad idea.
Let me be perfectly clear on this: I thought the idea to turn control of the ports (or ownership of the office managing the ports) to a foreign country was a bad idea. Doesn't matter the country; it stinks on the surface of it.
Then I picked up that it was the United Arab Emirates they were talking about. After I had already decided this deal was a bad idea.
Let's be clear: It's not control by the UAE that bothers me; it's control by any non-US company that bothers me. *
Now, there seems to be a big deal made about the fact that it's an Arab country that's taking over control. And that strikes me as a bigoted response: They're Arab and therefore can't be trusted.
Perhaps they can't be trusted. But you know what? There's lots of people in this country, supposedly Americans, that I don't trust. But because of their nationality ... or their religion (the assumption being that all Arabs are Muslim, even though not all are) ... they can't be trusted.
Well, I don't trust them. The company that's been approved to take over the ports, that is. And not because they're Arab. Or Muslim (if they are). But because they're not American.
To me, it's important that American ports be run by Americans. And, yes, I realize that Americans can certainly be terrorists; look at Timothy McVeigh and Terry Nichols, just to name two. But still, I feel a little better about it being Americans running it.
Now, here's the kicker: Dubai Ports World (the company planning on taking over) is taking over from P&O Ports North America ... a British company.
The ports were already controlled by a foreign company! And I didn't know that until the uproars over the Dubai company taking over hit the media.
There is a big deal being made about the sale to a UAE company. But hardly any mention about the ports already being run by a UK company.
Why is that? Is there fear of Arabs in the hearts of those that are opposing it?
I think it's a bad idea for a non-American company running the ports in question. UK or UAE, it doesn't matter to me.
It seems to matter to others. Those in the know ... or supposedly in the know ... you know, Congressmen and Senators ... didn't raise a stink about this until a UAE company completed the deal.
I might be wrong (but I don't think so) that those raising a stink are doing so either because of their own bigotry ... or by playing to the bigotry of others. And, if so, and this deal falls through, then bigotry may have actually served a purpose.
But not unless control is given to an American company, and not back to P&O Ports North America (it's a takeover anyway, not a transfer) or any other foreign company.