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The DPW Post Mortem

So the deal is dead. I think the emotion behind the issue was understandable, though misplaced. Turning away Dubai may or may not have long term economic and foreign policy ramifications, but anyone who thinks that we've somehow made our ports safer by telling DPW to shove off is kidding themselves.

And now that we've set this precedent and labeled it as vital to national security, aren't we obligated to start asking some other questions? Something like eleven out of the thirteen terminals at the port of Long Beach are operated by foreign-owned companies, almost all of which have some level of government ownership. That includes the Chinese, who are probably less of a strategic ally than Dubai. Must we insist they divest themselves from port operations?

And if Arab-owned companies can't manage our ports, should they be able to fly airplanes over our cities? Reader CS notes that we have a handful of Arab-owned airlines that fly daily into Chicago, Dallas, Los Angeles, Miami and other locations around the country. Surely that has to be classified as a national security concern as well. Can we allow that to continue?

All that being said, the lesson here is that sometimes you can't fight the politics of an issue no matter what the policy merits might be. This was a loser from the beginning, and the administration deserves a great share of the blame for the way it blew up and got out of hand.

More DPW related stuff below:

John Podhoretz says Congress saved Bush again.

The New York Times editorializes, "Even if the battle over DP World is headed toward a resolution, our ports remain dangerously vulnerable to terrorist intrusions."

Marc Sandalow of the San Francisco Chronicle writes, "The collapse of the Dubai port deal was a victory for the politics of fear."

The Washington Post looks at just how deeply overseas firms are entrenched at our ports.

The Seattle Times reports on SSA, the U.S.-owned company that is the ninth largest port operator in the world, now first in line to be the beneficiary of DPW's decision yesterday. For the record, SSA, who already had joint venture operations with P&O (the company acquired by DPW earlier this month) did not see any security concerns in the deal. The Washington Times reports on SSA and the other company in the running, Maher.

The Washington Times also performs editorial jujitsu on Chuck Schumer, calling him the "exploiter-in-chief of the Dubai acrimony" and slamming him for an underhanded Senate maneuver conducted by duping a member of his own party.

The Baltimore Sun editorializes, "There's no cause for celebration in yesterday's announcement that a Dubai-owned company will sell its interest in the management of six American ports in order to quell a political prairie fire that was about to engulf the White House."

Lastly, Linda Feldmann and Gail Russell Chaddock examine "Why the Dubai deal collapsed" in the Christian Science Monitor.