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dark_unicorn

Arab Port-ownership Controversy

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Governers of Maryland and New York Threaten to block Port Deal with UAE.

I would like to state for the record that I don't know all the facts behind this deal, in which the United Arab Emirates will take over ownership of various ports in the US that were once owned by England. Most of my perspective on this has been due to following Rush Limbaugh's take on it, though I have not always agreed with him on various civil liberty issues, he's dead on when it comes to this issue.

No one is talking about all the facts that carry merit in this situation, the UAE is probably the closest thing there is to a rational state in the Middle East, with the exception of Israel. Furthermore, from the viewpoint of free trade vs. protectionism, this is clearly a no-brainer. As a former resident of the Maryland district that now Governer Urlich used to represent as a congressman, I will say that he has been a mostly good voice against statism when it comes to local politics, however he is 100% wrong here. When ports change ownership, no security interests are compromised or negated, only the "buy American" and "keep the jobs here" irrationality of protectionism can warrant such a stance.

On a further note, I believe that the UAE has provided a more solid level of reliability in dealing with Islamo-fascism than any other Arab nation, and the fact that they have Sheiks and Islamic Clerigy in their country that don't like the USA (as do most other countries, including our own country) speaks nothing for this issue, which is clearly not the same as giving away missile secrets to Red China or not attacking Iran when they took our citizens hostage 27 years ago.

Here is a link to the transcript of Rush's viewpoint and input on this issue.

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Originally posted by Nicholas Provenzo from The Rule of Reason,

So some folks from the United Arab Emirates want to buy six American ports. No big deal?unless the purchase is blocked by the government?and that looks quite threatening.

So here's my question to the anti-free ownership advocates (it?s a three-fer):

1.) What does American ownership of the ports give law enforcement that they don?t already have given that the ports are already foreign controlled (the ports in question are already owned by a British firm)?

2.) If you support American-based ports being repatriated by law, what would your reaction be if an foreign government repatriated American-owned property that rest on its shores?

3.) Do you disagree that repatriating foreign-owned property would have negative economic implications for the US? Do you think foreigners would still feel secure investing in the US?

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I'm no anti-free ownership advocate but I would like to comment / answer the questions you posed.

1) A greater interest in keeping the ports secure among other things. Having a British company is not anything like having a Musilm State run company in charge of our ports.

2) I don't support it being repatriated by law but at the same time I don't really know a whole lot about that situation. If a another governemnt did repatriate thier ports I wouldn't be surprised. A large part of the world consensus seems to be that being free and having rights is not a good thing. It doesn't seem to me that they truely have a good understand of right and wrong to begin with and therefore look at our actions as some sort of evil task. So would I be upset if they did repatriate? Not really, to me it just signifies the larger total issue involved.

3) I can't think of a much more secure place to invest personally. I am not sure about a negative economic impact. I feel in a way that it could be negative for the US simply because there is so much weight behind the hate of the united states right now that people could view this as a big deal and (possibly though probably unlikely) boycott some US products or services. So while it's possible I think it's unlikely.

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#1 - Depending on the particular companies involved, there is probably a huge difference between a British firm owning ports and a UAE firm owning ports. Since so many terrorists come from that region of the world, since their governments are probably of questionable reliability, security, and morality (judged by the degree to which they protect individual rights) and since they are a largely muslim country, there is reason to question the deal. And IF, and only IF, national security is threatened due to any of these factors, in my opinon it should trump the free market. Defense of capitalism does not demand that we allow free trade with Bin Laden, to use an extreme example.

#2 - I don't think any nation could objectively regard the US as a threat, so I would not, in general, be in favor of your scenario. Unless you can think of one in which the US would be a real threat to a free nation. It's not enough to simply consider that we might both repatriate. You have to consider why, and what the nature of each nation is, and their actions are.

#3 - If it's national security, it does not matter what the economic implications are, except that if indeed it makes things more secure, it's likely that the impact would be net positive.

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One doesn't have to be 'anti-free ownership' to be against this port takover. Don't forget that this is not just a company from UAE, it is a company owned by UAE government--and I don't recognize State owned companies whether it concerns ports or not. The fact that it is a state owned company is reason enough to block the deal; that it is a country with connections to Islamic theocratic terrorism is just more of a reason.

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One doesn't have to be 'anti-free ownership' to be against this port takover. Don't forget that this is not just a company from UAE, it is a company owned by UAE government--and I don't recognize State owned companies whether it concerns ports or not. The fact that it is a state owned company is reason enough to block the deal; that it is a country with connections to Islamic theocratic terrorism is just more of a reason.

I only mentioned the 'anti-free' ownership part simply because he was asking for the opinions of people who held that view. :-) Good point though, Just simply because it is a state owned company IS reason enough to block the deal

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As near as I can tell, the UAE is an Islamic theocracy that does not respect the rights of its own citizens -- rights such as the right to free speech, the right to free association, the right to hold employment, the right of equality before the law, the right to select and change the lawmakers. It is slightly freer than some other theocracies. For instance, alcohol is not forbidden everywhere and cable television is permitted. However, it retains all of the other features of an Islamic theocracy: women are legally subordinated to men and cannot hold a job or travel without a man's permission, blasphemy against Islam is punishable by death, sex outside of marriage is punishable by stoning, speaking of Israel is punishable by imprisonment, anyone caught eating during Ramadan is sent to prison, kissing in public gets you sent to prison, individuals caught on the streets after dark can be arrested and held until daybreak, etc. Even running a red light carries an automatic one month prison term.

In principle, I oppose any commercial ties that strengthen such a government. And that is what the port deal will do: the "company" seeking to acquire the lease-rights at these ports is owned by the UAE government and this deal it will simply create one more source of income for the (unelected) "leaders" of this theocracy.

The United States need not, and should not, obtain the cooperation of such nations by granting them the status of "ally". If we need the cooperation of nations like the UAE, we should obtain it by issuing an ultimatum: cooperate or be destroyed -- and we should be fully prepared to carry out this threat. We are the most powerful nation on earth; we need not kowtow to the miserable bastards that control the nations of the middle east.

Of course, the port deal is but one small example of a long list of such commercial ties that have served to create the problem we face with the middle east. It started with Iran "nationalizing" our oil facilities in the 1950s; we should never have permitted that to happen. It is time to stop helping our enemies -- and any nation that explicitly denies rights is our enemy.

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In principle, I oppose any commercial ties that strengthen such a government. And that is what the port deal will do: the "company" seeking to acquire the lease-rights at these ports is owned by the UAE government and this deal it will simply create one more source of income for the (unelected) "leaders" of this theocracy.
So are you suggesting that we also cut all ties with every Socialist and Communist government as well? I understand your point, but realistically that would be a horrible move. If there is a benefit for us then there is nothing wrong with it. The alternative, if your thinking on this is applied consistently is to return to being isolationists. Is that what you are saying?

The United States need not, and should not, obtain the cooperation of such nations by granting them the status of "ally". If we need the cooperation of nations like the UAE, we should obtain it by issuing an ultimatum: cooperate or be destroyed -- and we should be fully prepared to carry out this threat. We are the most powerful nation on earth; we need not kowtow to the miserable bastards that control the nations of the middle east.
This is not a wise approach. Sure we are the most powerful nation on Earth, but that doesn't mean that we should pick fights with everyone all at once. We need to pick our battles.

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For instance, alcohol is not forbidden everywhere and cable television is permitted. However, it retains all of the other features of an Islamic theocracy: women are legally subordinated to men and cannot hold a job or travel without a man's permission, blasphemy against Islam is punishable by death, sex outside of marriage is punishable by stoning, speaking of Israel is punishable by imprisonment, anyone caught eating during Ramadan is sent to prison, kissing in public gets you sent to prison, individuals caught on the streets after dark can be arrested and held until daybreak, etc. Even running a red light carries an automatic one month prison term.

AisA, what is your source for these? Not that I am doubting them, I just am curious to find more information and reliable sources as to the actual laws of such countries.

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So are you suggesting that we also cut all ties with every Socialist and Communist government as well?
No, I am suggesting that we stop helping Islamic theocracies, or anyone else we know to be our enemy. Granted, the UAE claims to be our ally, but Islam and freedom are so fundamentally incompatable that such a notion is like claiming that poisonous food can be an ally in fighting hunger.

This is not a wise approach. Sure we are the most powerful nation on Earth, but that doesn't mean that we should pick fights with everyone all at once. We need to pick our battles.
Well, I don't think we have to "pick fights with everyone all at once" -- and I did not advocate such a thing -- but I will say this: if the alternative is picking fights versus appeasment, I would pick fights every time.

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Here's my problem with this issue. DP World is government-owned, so it's certainly no victory to have that corporation operating ports in the US. But wait: these are government owned ports!. The government simply has no business owning ports in the first place, which makes a bit surreal discussions of whether some other government-owned company should be allowed to acquire a British company with a lease to run certain (improperly) government-run facilities. The deeper moral and legal issue is whether contracts have any value, and when it is proper to violate them. P&O has a contract (a 30 year lease for the Port Newark Container Terminal, starting in 2000) which is valid for the next 24 years. If there is some provision in the lease that invalidates it if the managing company is bought by a bunch of Arabs, then of course there is a clear basis for terminating the lease.

(Sharia law cannot include a non-Muslim, so a non-Muslim citizen -- or non-citizen -- is free to enjoy pork and alcohol.)

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I am happy to have gotten a good healthy response to this issue, because no one on the other forums is giving credence to the situation, if Pataki and Urlich had given me the reasoning that AisA had given me, the word "Racist" would not have been included in this topic, but what has motivated both them and their like-minded Democrat opponents is not the principle of individual rights, but this idiotic "Buy American" protectionism. Selling these ports to a government owned corporation in the UAE may not be the best case senario, but the fact that people are using this as an excuse to spread statism by fear is extremely troubling. Besides, we sold our right to determine the ownership of these ports when we sold them to Britain, if they wish to sell it to the UAE and we seize it and say "No", how are we to distinguish ourselves from the Iranians who nationalized our Oil drilling equipment?

On this particular issue, I have not neccesarily thrown my support in with the UAE (though my first post might have made it appear that way), but I think that we need a rational debate on this issue, not this insane barrage of political posturing and nonsensical rhetoric that is being vomited out by the talking heads in the Congress.

Furthermore, being someone who has spent a good deal of time in Jersey, I would love nothing more that to see the Port Unions have some heat put on them, they and the government have held our Ports in technological stagnation for long enough as far as I'm concerned.

No, I am suggesting that we stop helping Islamic theocracies, or anyone else we know to be our enemy. Granted, the UAE claims to be our ally, but Islam and freedom are so fundamentally incompatable that such a notion is like claiming that poisonous food can be an ally in fighting hunger.

This is all true, however, if the UAE can be susceptable to moving away from Islamicism towards a more capitalistic mode of governance by our influence, I don't think we would be helping any Islamic theocracies. On the contrary, with the right angle, we could marginalize Islamicism in the middle east if we influence the right countries.

Edited by dark_unicorn

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Are you going to stop flying to then? Because the major airlines use Airbus planes, which is a state owned company. What about overseas calls (many communications companies are state-controlled? Products made in China?

What about driving? The highway system is state owned. Going to school? Should I go on?

I think the EAE is a peaceful nation, perhaps the second freest economy in the Middle East and that much of the protest against the deal is grounded in racism. If we can deal with Chinese state-controlled companies, we can deal with the UAE.

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One doesn't have to be 'anti-free ownership' to be against this port takover. Don't forget that this is not just a company from UAE, it is a company owned by UAE government--and I don't recognize State owned companies whether it concerns ports or not. The fact that it is a state owned company is reason enough to block the deal; that it is a country with connections to Islamic theocratic terrorism is just more of a reason.

I agree 100 per cent.

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[Merged. Was separate thread.]

Originally posted by Nicholas Provenzo from The Rule of Reason,

Harry Binswanger gets to the heart of the issue:

refuse to get embroiled in the discussion of the pros and cons of who operates our ports--as I refuse to get embroiled in the discussion of whether wire-tapping of phone calls is or isn't a legitimate means of "homeland defense." These things are a diversion of the issue.

You fear a nuclear bomb going off in New York Harbor? Then crush the enemy. End the mullahs regime in Iran. Crush Syria. Whip the Saudis into line. And tell the world that self-sacrifice is evil and religion is a lie. Which means: tell the world that man is an end in himself, that his life on this earth is the only thing that is sacred, that the individual has a right to exist for his own sake, and that reason, not faith or force, is man's only means of knowledge, his only guide to action, and his basic means of survival.

It's either/or. The forces of literal barbarism are rising around the world. And here in America, as well--on the left and the right. There is not much time left, but we have to act on the premise that there is still time to change the intellectual

climate.

Exactly. Have I mentioned that you ought to subscribe to HBL recently?

Edited by softwareNerd

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AisA, what is your source for these? Not that I am doubting them, I just am curious to find more information and reliable sources as to the actual laws of such countries.
It is difficult to get information; much of what I know came from my sales manager for the middle east, who traveled to the UAE several times.

However, there is some information available on the web.

Here is LINK to a web site run by the UAE; so you can expect it to put the Federation in the best possible light. Note the comments about "Driving Issues", "Public Affection", "Walking at Night" and "Eating during Ramadan".

Perhaps the most significant fact about the UAE is that criminal and family law matters are governed by Shari'a (Islamic law), as discussed in this State Department Document LINK. " There is a dual system of Shari'a (Islamic) courts for criminal and family law matters and secular courts for civil law matters. Non-Muslims are tried for criminal offenses in Shari'a courts."

I am assuming that Shari'a as applied in the UAE is similar to the Shari'a applied in Iran, Saudi Arabia, etc.

Here is an example of the application of Shari'a in the UAE:LINK. No one in the UAE will be seeing Brokeback Mountain anytime soon.

One more example of Shari'a: LINK. Fortunately, it appears the woman escaped her sentence of death by stoning and instead only has to spend a year in prison. I wonder what a woman's prison is like in the UAE.

Another example of Shari'a in the UAE: LINK. Imagine going to prison for a year because a cab driver saw you kiss your girlfriend.

Here is another indicator of the influence of Islam (which is the UAE's official state religion): LINK Note the advice: "Do not discuss the subject of women, not even to inquire about the health of a wife or daughter. The topic of Israel should also be avoided."

It is not only the topic of Israel that must be avoided. One day I discovered that my sales manager for the middle east owned two passports. One was used for traveling to Israel; the other was used for traveling to all the other countries, including the UAE. This was necessary because even the presence of an Israeli stamp on one's passport would prevent entry into the UAE.

Of course, the Emirate's public relations people are working very hard to put a moderate face on the country. For instance, at one web site, UAE is described as a vacation spot featuring "Sun, sand and the mysteries of a traditional Islamic culture." Mysteries? Another of the seven Emirates defends his status as an unelected, unreplaceable ruler that answers to no one by noting that his emirate is "the most direct form of democracy; if my people didn't like me, they would overthrow me."

The UAE claims to have constitutional guarantees for freedom of speech and religion. But note the following statement from the State Department document linked to above: "The Government prohibits non-Muslims from proselytizing or distributing religious literature under penalty of criminal prosecution, imprisonment, and deportation, for engaging in behavior offensive to Islam." Some freedom of speech.

That is about all I can come up with at the moment. I don't believe the UAE is as bad as Iran, Saudi Arabia or some of the others. But I am still reluctant to trust them.

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Islamic theocracy?

I did some background research on the UAE.

The average tarrif rate is 5% (1.5% US)

There is no income or corporate tax. (35% in the US, 50% Israel)

The government consumes 14.7% of GDP. (15.4% US, 29.2% Israel)

The inflation rate is 3.44% (2.5% US)

22 of 53 stock markets open to foreign investment

100% foreign businesses are allowed in the free trade zones

There is no minimum wage.

Establishing a business is easy if the business is not to compete directly with state-owned concerns. US State Dept: “The procedures for obtaining a license vary from emirate to emirate, but are straightforward and publicly available." (Compare that to NYC)

Here are some photos and images of the world tallest skyscraper, now under construction in Dubai:

http://www.dubai-city.de/bildergalerie/index01.htm

image007.jpg

002.jpg

dubai_01_598x533.jpg

I want to mention that there is nothing wrong with a tyranny (such as the UAE) per se – the only valid moral judgment of a political system is whether it protects individual rights. In fact, democracies have proven to be far more bloody than kingdoms, for good reason. The freest and wealthiest countries and regions in the world are not democracies. (Singapore, Hong Kong, Monaco, etc)

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After researching the links provided by GreedyCapitalist I think I am now decided on this issue, there is no logical reason to try and stop the UAE from taking over the ports, we can only succeed in further making hypocrites out of ourselves if we insist on free trade only with governments who 100% support individual rights (no such country exists today unfortunately). When I look at those grand structures in Dubai, a city that I hope one day to visit, I see a country that may potentially be on the verge of an awakening that has been denied the USA for a long time.

I would also like to add that although I have a great measure of respect for AisA's sentiments on this issue, I can not help but notice that alot of his information is dependent upon our State Department, which I have a hard time believing anything coming out of because of questionable ideological dispositions on the part of it's employment base. The State Department has been a thorn in the side of those of us who want a less contradictory foreign policy, as they wish to mirror the wishy-washy nuances of Europe's Left-wing.

The laws against freedom of expression in the UAE are troubling, perhaps with time this can and will be resolved. But I would like to add that although we were the first country with the ideal system of self-actualization, women were denied equal rights to men until the early 20th century. I think a little historical perspective could do us all some good. Not to suggest that we should tolerate such laws, only that we should consider all aspects of the given situation before rushing to a decision.

P.S. - Can anyone name an Arab country that doesn't have a form of non-democratic government in it (Iraq and Afghanistan excluded for obvious reasons)? I can't come up with one.

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I want to say first that I certianly was not against the UAE owning the security because of any sort of racism. My main reason I didn't like it was because I was concerned that a Islamic State owned company would be in charge of providing security to American ports. I couldn't understand why people would not have a problem with Muslim people, many of which who not only dislike the United States but hate it, controlling what did and did not get into the country. However I was able to catch the CEO of the company in question on CNN and he cleared up a few misconceptions I had as far as security is concerned. From what he explained it seemed to be that the majority of the things I was concerned about were unlikely to come to fruition. So if that is indeed the case I don't have a problem with it.

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P.S. - Can anyone name an Arab country that doesn't have a form of non-democratic government in it (Iraq and Afghanistan excluded for obvious reasons)?
If you mean Arab, then Malta. If you mean "in a predominantly Muslim country", your best bets would be Turkey, Mali, Senegal and Indonesia.

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Islamic theocracy?

I want to mention that there is nothing wrong with a tyranny (such as the UAE) per se – the only valid moral judgment of a political system is whether it protects individual rights. In fact, democracies have proven to be far more bloody than kingdoms, for good reason. The freest and wealthiest countries and regions in the world are not democracies. (Singapore, Hong Kong, Monaco, etc)

Is it your opinion, then, that the UAE protects individual rights? If so, I don't see how you can reach such a conclusion in light of the links I provided. In the UAE, one may be jailed for speaking out publicly for any religion other than Islam, for kissing one's girlfriend in public, for eating during the fasting hours of Ramadan, for running a red light, for being gay or for having sex outside of marriage, just to name a few things. Such a government deserves to be officially ostracized, not given the moral sanction of being considered an acceptable ally.

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Another question to ask, which I don't know the answer to, is how often are these bad laws enforced? Do people actually pay no mind to these laws? For example, here in the States, the drinking age is 21. But I read about this trendy Hollywood club where teen stars go to hang out and drink. They have been photographed going in, drinking, and coming out. Yet the local cops don't do anything. This is just one example of non-objective laws which fail to be enforced. So, unless we have that data, I don't think it's enough to have a listing of the UAE's laws as proof of its evil.

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We know that the Islamic courts exist and that Shari'a exists. We know from the links I provided that the laws are enforced at least some of the time. We know of 26 men each sentenced to prison for 5 years for being gay. We know of a woman sentenced to one year in prison for sex outside of marriage (her original sentence was death by stoning). We know of one couple sentenced to a year in prison for kissing in public. I would assume that for every such case that comes to the attention of the western media, there are others that do not come to our attention. We know that the UAE goes to the effort to warn visitors about these laws on their web site; I cannot imagine that they would warn, for instance, that drinking or possessing alcohol in one of the emirates is punishable by flogging if, in fact, people there drink and the authorities ignore it.

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