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“Nativism” Has Nothing to Do with the Ports Controversy

Posted by libhom Friday, March 10, 2006

David Broder's column on the Dubai ports deal includes a common mistake in the media, attributing some of the opposition to the deal to “nativism.”

However, nativism is based on resentment against immigrants and a notion that people who arrived in this country first are somehow better than the people who got here later.

This really has nothing to do with the opposition to the ports deal. One might be able to claim that some of the opposition to the deal is based on religious, ethnic, or racial prejudice, but nativism is unrelated to the very nature of the controversy, which has nothing to do with immigration.

However, there also are plenty of legitimate reasons to be opposed to the ports deal which have nothing to do with prejudice.

The United Arab Emirates, which includes Dubai, has been very friendly to terrorists, despite the claims to the contrary by the Bush regime.


  • The UAE was one of only three countries to recognize the Taliban's government, which included most of Afghanistan. The others, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, have been quite friendly to terrorist causes as well.


  • Two of the 911 hijackers were from the UAE.


  • Terrorist financiers, among other financial criminals, commonly operate out of Dubai and the rest of the UAE.


  • The UAE's royal family vacationed with Osama bin Laden and maintained friendly ties to Al Queda, at least until the 911 attacks. When President Clinton asked them to leave the vacation area so that the US could bomb bin Laden, the UAE royal family refused. The UAE claims that the ties have been cut, but we are expected to rely on their word in the matter.

Then, there also is the problem of the growing fanaticism among Muslims. The literally insane reaction by many Muslims to a few cartoons in a Danish newspaper raises a perfectly legitimate question:

How do we keep a bunch of those nutcases from becoming employees of the company that would be running US ports?

It is true that many Muslims reject the lunacy, but ports are so vital to our national security that we cannot have significant numbers of people working in our ports with the same mentality as the terrorists who have made bomb threats, staged and participated in riots, launched military operations against embassies, and shot a man working in Russia merely for being from Denmark.

It would be highly irrational and irresponsible for anyone to suggest that we should compromise the security of our ports under these circumstances. But, that is hardly the only problem with the ports deal. It is in our economic interest to ban foreign ownership of our ports and to restrict foreign ownership of other resources and enterprises. With foreign ownership, the profits of these enterprises are exported abroad, hurting our economy. Level-headed analysis of our economic well-being should overshadow right-wing economic ideology just as level-headed analysis of our security interests should overshadow the ideology of corporate-controlled trade.

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