Should we discriminate on ports deal? You bet!

by Patrick J. Buchanan
Febuary 25, 2006

"This Dubai port deal has unleashed a kind of collective mania we haven't seen in decades ... a xenophobic tsunami," wails a keening David Brooks. "A nativist, isolationist mass hysteria is ... here."

The New York Times columnist obviously regards the nation's splenetic response to news that control of our East Coast ports had been sold to Arab sheiks as wildly irrational. In witness whereof, he quotes Philip Damas of Drewry Shipping Consultants: "The location of a company in the age of globalism is irrelevant."

But irrelevant to whom?

Why is it irrelevant, in a war against Arab and Islamic terrorists, to question the transfer of control of our East Coast ports from Great Britain to the United Arab Emirates?

Our cosmopolitan Brooks lives in another country. He has left the America of blood and soil, shaken the dust from his sandals, to enter the new Davos world of the Global Economy, where nationality does not matter, and where fundamentalists and flag-wavers of all faiths are the real enemies of progress toward the wonderful future these globalists have in store for us.

"God must love Hamas and Moktada Al-Sadr," snorts Brooks. "He has given them the America First brigades of Capitol Hill."

To Brooks, there is little distinction between Islamic mobs burning Danish consulates and America First patriots protesting some insider's deal to surrender control of American ports to Arab sheiks.

But the reflexive recoil to this transaction between transnationals is a manifestation of national mental health. The American people have not yet been over-educated into the higher stupidity. Common sense still trumps ideology here. Globalism has not yet triumphed over patriotism. Rather than take risks with national security, Americans will accept a pinch of racial profiling. Yep, the old America lives.

Like alley cats, Americans yet retain an IFF – Identify-Friend-or-Foe – radar that instinctively alerts them to keep a warier eye on some folks than on others.

But in rejecting a deal transferring control of our ports to Arabs, are Americans not engaging in discrimination? Are they not engaging in prejudice?

Of course they are. But not all discrimination is irrational, nor is all prejudice wrong. To discriminate is but to choose. We all discriminate in our choice of friends and associates. Prejudice means prejudgment. And a prejudgment in favor of Brits in matters touching on national security is rooted in history.

In the 20th century (if not the 19th), the Brits have been with us in almost every fight. It was not Brits who struck us on 9-11, who rejoiced in the death of 3,000 Americans, who daily threaten us from the mosques of East and West, who behead our aid workers, bomb our soldiers and call for "Death to America!" in a thousand demonstrations across the Middle East. And while not all Muslims are terrorists, almost all terrorists appear to be Muslim.

As Mother Church has a "preferential option" for the poor, there is nothing wrong with America's preferential option for the cousins.

Does this mean all Arabs should be considered enemies? Of course not. The folks from Dubai may detest the 9-11 murderers as much as we do, for those killers shamed their faith, disgraced their people, and bred a distrust and fear of Arabs and Muslims that had never before existed here.

Yet, just as sky marshals seat themselves behind young Arab males, not grannies taking the tots to Disney World, so Americans, in deciding who operates their ports, naturally prefer ourselves, or old friends.

Why take an unnecessary risk? Just to get an A for global maturity on our next report card from the WTO?

The real question this deal raises is what happened to the political antenna at the White House. Did it fall off the roof about the time President Bush named Harriet Miers to the Supreme Court?

Anyone in touch with Middle America, especially after 9-11 and endless warnings of imminent attacks on U.S. soil, would know this country is acutely sensitive to terror threats. Surely, before approving this deal with Dubai Ports World, someone should have asked:

"How do you think Bubba will react when he's told sheiks will take over the port of Baltimore, where in Tom Clancy's 'Sum of All Fears,' Arab terrorists smuggle in an A-bomb and detonate it?"

Apparently, no one bothered to ask, or the question was brushed off in the interests of hastily greasing the deal.

Now, this episode is going to end badly. Bush, who has denied advance knowledge of the deal, is being ripped by liberals for living in a pre-9/11 world and being out of touch with his government.

As for our remaining friends in the Middle East, they have been given another reason to regard Americans as fickle friends who, down deep, don't like Arabs.

Unquestionably, this will result in a victory for those who wish to sever America's friendships in the Arab world. But it is Bush and his unthinking globalists, not the American Firsters whom Brooks cannot abide, who are responsible for this debacle.

© 2005 Creators Syndicate, Inc.
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