Battle lines are being drawn over a controversial
decision to allow a company from the United Arab Emirates to control operations
in six major U.S. ports.
One would expect partisan politics to play a role, but in this case the
battle lines do not equal party lines.
Both Republicans and Democrats have voiced strong opposition to the
deal, which was announced the week of February 12. A company named Dubai Ports
World – which is owned by the tiny country of United Arab Emirates – has been
cleared by the U.S. government to acquire the British business Peninsular and
Oriental Steam Navigation Co.
The deal would give Dubai Ports World control over the management of
the ports of New York, New Jersey, Philadelphia, Miami, Baltimore and New Orleans.
Democratic Sens. Robert Menéndez of New Jersey and Hilary Clinton of New York said late in the week they would introduce legislation to prohibit the sale of U.S. port operations to foreign governments.
On Monday, Feb. 20, The Associated
Press reported that two Republican governors – Gov. George Pataki of
New York and Gov. Robert Ehrlich of Maryland – joined the fray, threatening to
cancel lease arrangements at ports in their respective states if the deal is
allowed to progress.
Also on Feb. 20, the Bush Administration – which has constantly
maintained that the company was thoroughly researched before the deal was
approved – got an unlikely ally in the form of former President Jimmy Carter.
Carter told CNN that he
didn’t think the deal presented a security risk.
“I’m sure the president’s done a good job with his subordinates to make
sure this is not a threat,” he said.
The AP reported
that at least one Senate oversight hearing is planned before the end of