Feb 19 2006

Are We Losing America’s Greatness?

Published by at 12:54 pm under All General Discussions,Bin Laden/GWOT


This is why Michelle Malkin is a class act blogger. Though we disagree a tad on this subject, she has linked here to add a different angle to the debate. My hat is off to you (again) Michelle.


Sea 2 Sea has done the yeoman’s work on investigating and communicating the law regarding port operations – so if you want to know what the truth of this topic is check out this site. Port operations is not port security. That is done by homeland defense, but most importantly the US Coast Guard. More importantly, it is illegal to stop an acquisition without proof of a national security threat. The DP company is operating ports (traffic control, clean up, utilities, payments, etc) around the world. People need to stop thinking UAE nationals are going to be coming in and taking over. That is a silly fantasy.

A friend of ours used to be second in command at a major US port for the coast guard and I will be asking him some questions to clarify the situation. If you wish please post a question or two (that’s the limit!) in the comments section.

But let’s be clear. 99% of the people working in these ports will still be working there when this acquisition goes through.


When I talk to my European friends and they wonder how America ended up at the pinnacle of the world and the last century’s worth of history I remind them that America is distinct, still, from all other democracies. “America’ is not a religion-based society (though we have deep roots in the Judeo-Christian framework) like the Muslim countries, or even Israel. We do not associate together through religious ties.

We are not a cultural-based society that has roots (and inertia) going back thousands of generations. We wiped the slate clean of feudal subservience that held the world in check from Europe to Asia to Egypt. Therefore we do not look to government to provide for us but prefer that we chose the basics of life and the path to take. What strikes me about Europe is how much, to this day, they expect the government to provide for them. We agree to disagree on this, but I would rather chose my health care, and bear he cost, than have someone provide it for me as I give them my money to do so. I won’t leave my family’s health in someone else’s hands.

America became great because we developed a society were religious roots and cultural roots mean nothing in terms of making a good living. We do not tolerate disrespect (though it took us a while to rid ourselves of our major failure on this subject – racism). As a society we do not tolerate dividing ourselves into ‘us’ and ‘them’ in order to determine the ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’. We find ways to relish our ancestral roots and at the same time neutralize them in terms of who gets an education, a job, a house where they wish, etc. Even if you are an immigrant in this country – since nearly all of us are ancestors of immigrants.

This obviously cannot be said of Europe, Asia or the Muslim countries in the Middle East and elsewhere. Israel is not capable of this kind of neutrality either.

So America founded a societal model that excludes no one, therefore it allows us to harness the energies and inventiveness of everyone. Einstein was free to transform the past century, even though he was a German at a time when Germany was the source of unimaginable evil. We have Russian and Chinese Americans at all levels of society even though we waged a 50 year cold war with them.

On the Japanese side we failed to uphold our values in World War II, but thankfully we corrected course and are partners with every major enemy we once fought to the brink of mutual destruction.

But we are letting the essence of our greatness slip away amongst political opportunism and fear. We are allowing the concept of ‘us’ and ‘them’ to trickle into our thinking, setting up filters for the ‘haves’ and have nots’. Examples abound. Al Gore went over to Saudi Arabia to claim we mistreated Arabs after 9-11. We were actually quite pragmatic and rounded up people who had overstayed their visas because the 9-11 terrorists had done the same thing. Al Gore took a pragmatic act and turned it into a hysterical claim because he fears the Democrats cannot win elections.

The liberals gravitate to these failed concepts of ‘us’ verses ‘them’. They are a paranoid party by definition. After the country cleansed itself of government sanctioned racism, and the private sector cleansed itself, the liberal crowd could not end what had grown into a business – dividing America. One reason quota’s and set asides damage America is we set up classes of ‘us’ and ‘them, and ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’. Most Americans want these walls removed so we can be whole again.

Fear is the key here. Fear makes us divide and fight internally. To waste our resources attacking each other, trying be the ‘haves’ and not the ‘have nots’. Fear is what feeds the liberal views of division and all their policies. Which is why they have been failing. We want to right any wrongs, like racism. We do not want categories of ‘Americans’ where one set gets more from the government than others.

Which brings me to the hard points for conservatives. We are starting to look at ‘them’ and find ways to wall them off from ‘us’, and the rationale’s are too often generalizations about ‘them’ as opposed to finding instances of real problems with real individuals – irregardless of the ancestral, cultural or religious roots.

The one bugging me right now is the outcries about a UAE company acquiring control of a British company that runs some of our ports. Has anyone heard that this is a British company, using American employees, which is selling a controlling interest to a UAE company?

I hadn’t. By the outcry I thought UAE Muslims were taking complete control of the ports (which, by the way, are also run by the US Coast Guard) and would be smuggling nuclear bombs through them any day now. That is the fear being alluded to that is driving us to create the ‘them’ and ‘us’. The UAE is one of the most western Middle East countries and they have a lot of commercial ties to the West because they have been investing their oil monies to modernize the region.

The UAE has purchased high end commercial satellites for their Thuraya Network which serves (and therefore links) Europe and the Middle East. They are technically very capable and are looking to participate in mankind’s greatest exploration – the exploration of space.

Looking down the road to what we want to see in the future I see a democratic Middle East with successful growing economies living peacefully (but competing commercially) with the western nations. I see future Japans and Germanys leading the Arab nations out of their current despotism. And nations like the UAE and Kuwait and Qatar are pathfinders for this knew, peaceful future.

And because of fear we are about to do Al Qaeda’s bidding and nip this opportunity in the bud. Because an ‘Arab’ country of ‘Muslims’ is continuing to work its way into the Western economic picture – we are up in arms.

The UAE and the British have been working together for decades. The fact the UAE is getting permission from the British to integrate these two companies provides me plenty of confidence this is not some Al Qaeda front. We are playing to our worst reflexes. Unless someone has hard, irrefutable evidence of Al Qaeda running this company, and they are able to order the US and British employees to violate our inspection processes to get dangerous materials past our borders, I suggest people calm down and think this out.

We WANT a modern, peaceful Middle East as an economic partner. We cannot live in fear of every Arab or Muslim or we will fulfill Al Qaeda’s dream and WE will be the ones that divide the world into ‘haves’ and ‘have nots’. We do not target groups and punish them for sharing blood or religion with our enemies. We identify individuals and prosecute them (or kill them) if they are working with our enemies.

Michelle has a great round up of everyone who disagrees with me here. And it is just about everyone.


Notice how the poitician is worried about ‘the politics’ and Chertoff is focused on what is ‘right’ in this piece:

The homeland security chief said on Sunday a deal for a Dubai-based company to manage major U.S. ports would include security safeguards, but a Republican senator urged a probe and called the Bush administration “tone deaf politically” for approving it.
Homeland Security Secretary Michael Chertoff said the Bush administration had approved the sale of British firm P&O, which manages six U.S. ports including New York, to Dubai Ports World after a classified review and the deal would include safeguards to protect U.S. national security.

“You can be assured that before a deal is approved we put safeguards in place, assurances in place, that make everybody comfortable that we are where we need to be from a national security viewpoint,” Chertoff said on ABC’s “This Week with George Stephanopoulos.”

But Sen. Lindsey Graham, a South Carolina Republican, said it was a mistake for the administration to approve the sale and called on Congress to investigate it.

“It’s unbelievably tone deaf politically at this point in our history, four years after 9/11, to entertain the idea of turning port security over to a company based in the UAE who avows to destroy Israel,” Graham said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Lindsay Graham sounds scared and panicked about how this ‘looks’. He has no specific concerns or evidence except the company is from UAE. Yes, some call for the destruction of Israel (that’s new?). But that does not imply guilt or association with this company.

Some democrats have called for regime change here and Al Gore went to a Bin Laden Group funded event to say we abuse Arabs. Finding people with controversial and clearly wrong views is not hard to do. Fighting mob-think with reason is. The company had been investigated and the US ports remain, operationally, in US hands. Their paychecks used to come from England and now come from UAE. So what? We need more than that to lash out and raise vague concerns. At least we used to.


Please take the time to read the comments and follow the links. There is a lot of information there not being communicated in the media. For example, it turns out the UAE company manages a lot of ports in Europe right now. I seriously doubt anyone is going to let their guard down. And in fact, the UAE company and The UAE itself knows they are on display nationally, and may do more than others to not let something happen given the obvious repercussions if it did.

11 responses so far

11 Responses to “Are We Losing America’s Greatness?”

  1. MataHarley says:

    Lawdy, THANK you, AJ. Someone that finally “gets it” on the UAE thing without buying into all the misinformation being spread around.

    I have a thorough commentary on my own shared blog. But to summarize, this is a twisted web of nonsense. And the largest of which is that the US is “not selling ports to” UAE.

    US ports (and most all others in the world) are publicly owned, and port operations purchase long term leases for management that approximates ownership so they can improve buildings, facilities, etc. They do not own the land, and P&O is not selling US ports.

    Some facts?

    1 P&O is merging with DP World after the second bidder, PSA Int’l, dropped out of the deal.

    2 DP World already has port operations in Germany, Australia, Romania and sundry other countries. Even tho they are relatige newcomers (since 1998-99 approx from first project) there is a history of their port operations performance.

    Lack of “actions that threaten national security” in their performance history is what ties the hands of the CFIUS and WH admins to legally thwart the merger. Don’t like that because they are Arab owned? First, realize that you’ve fallen into the “I hate all Arabs and Islam” trap mentality. Then go talk to your Congressional types. They create the statutes for this, and stop blaming Bush and CFIUS.

    More on Congressional “dis”solutions below….

    3 With the merger, DP World will not only acquire US port contracts, but additional ports in Germany and Australia, plus Canada, UK, Spain and Venezuela. Probably more that arent’ as prominant. You don’t see Germany, Australia or the UK up in arms about security, do you? Instead, the Brits are licking wounded pride that their maritime giant is selling to other than UK hands.

    Congressional solutions? (Wait… isn’t that an oxymoron??) A proposed bill that says “no foreign held or controlled companies”. What a joke since P&O is foreign owned. But that aside, the only three big companies equipped to handle ports of this magnitude are *all* foreign. (Singapore, Hong Kong and Dubai) And oh, by the way, Singapore lost the bid, and Hong Kong never tried.

    What options does that leave us? Are these Congressional grandstanders and ill-informed, sensationalist media pundits suggesting that the feds get into the port operations business, using taxpayers cash to buyout the P&O contacts on the six ports? And could the feds ramp up to speed for such a business in short time?

    Of course not.

    This isn’t really about port operations… which is NOT port security, as so many think. It *is* about the performance of Homeland Security, which inspects cargo etal before the port operations take possession for their tasks.

    And I’m all for improving Homeland Security methodology in the ports.

  2. Links and Minifeatures 02 19 Sunday

    Strata-Sphere has a good bit of rationality on the UAE company that’s buying the british company with the port contracts, and some excellent background on his reasons. …

  3. MerryJ1 says:

    Many thanks for this eye-opener, AJ (and you, too, MataHarley). I have to ‘fess up, I was getting into full hand-wringing mode over this one. Whew!

    Merry Whitney

  4. bloodyspartan says:

    IF the american blood being spilled in Iraq and Afghanistan does not produce enough good will for the Muslim nations and people nothing ever will.
    Especially not selling off a company. I hate to disagree with you but America’s decline has nothing to do with the stupidity of Capitalism.

    WE have gone from a melting pot to a Witches Cauldron.
    Nothing to bind us anymore.

    There is a great line from the Movie “Villa Rides”.
    Robert Mitchem, Yul Brenner and Charles Bronson.

    Bronson wants to save the villagers from the Colorado’s.

    Brenner stops him, Bronson asks why?

    After a large portion of the village has been raped and slaughtered. Brenner says now they will help us. GO.

    Sad I think that is what it will take for us to wake up..9/11 was an abberation there are way too many sick selfish people in this country..

    Politicians and others have been using diversity for way too long,

    Unity is what they should be doing.

  5. MataHarley says:

    “I hate to disagree with you but America’s decline has nothing to do with the stupidity of Capitalism.”

    Dear BloodySpartan

    Huh? Where ever did you get that from AJ’s posting?

    Dear Merry

    Glad your hands will be saved from further self-abuse…. LOL

  6. AJStrata says:

    Bloody Spartan,

    You would make more sense if you had facts and knew what you were talking about. First off, our people dying in Afghanistand and, moreover, in Iraq are doing so to create a future where we live in peace with the Middle East as we do now with Germany and Japan and Italy and Russia. Why you wish to deny this is the outcome we strive for and why you would risk destroying it is the real tragedy.

    No one should die for a cause that is thrown out the window on tough questions.

    Two, it is not an American company being acquired and it is not being totally taken over (learn the difference between a controlling interest and other options). It is British – we don’t control its ownership.

    If you have proof there is a problem bring it forward. One way to lose the bonds that bind us is to run beyond the boundaries most will go. There is no reason to believe anything significant will change and the government has put processes in place to make sure they don’t.

    I don’t react to panicked speculation. After years of dismissing liberal scarey tales don’t come around asking me to by into conservative ones. I vote conservative because they keep their cool, think things out and come up with good, reasonable solutions.

    Change that and the entire equation changes.

  7. MataHarley says:

    Thank heaven you don’t react to panicked speculation, AJ. When this story broke, and I did some research on things, including the companies and their history, my head was spinning from the spin!

    Most blogs have either dodged the topic, or have been jumping on the same bandwagon. So I was beginning to think I was the lone voice out there wondering what the hoo-ha was about.

    I feel I’m in good company now….


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  10. pop says:

    Best contribution I’ve read yet! I contributed similar sentiments to the discourse on my blog.


    BTW – I can’t stand calling the left “liberals” any more…what is so liberal about it?

  11. […] I moved text to a separate post dealing with the insanity of this topic. It covered some ranting from the right which was immature and vacuous. Feel free to check it out, but I think this post sums up what we lost, and this one points to the ugliness eminating from this issue. […]