3 thoughts on “Dubai Ports Deal: ‘War of the Worlds’ – Tikun Olam תיקון עולם إصلاح العالم
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  1. At least people like Malkin and Schlafly are consistant in their bigotry. The worst part about Clinton and Schumer is that the only time they have the guts to stand up to the Republicans is when they can hide behind the fear and bigotry manifest in post 9-11 American psyche.

  2. The best thing about peoople like Philis Schlafly and Michael Savage is that they unmask the underlying fears that are carefully, strategically, if unconvincingly, respun by the punditocracy as if their reasoning was built on rational considerations, rather than the more basic fear that it really is. When Philis Schlafly and Michael Savage speak, there is no disguise to cover up their anti-Arab histrionics. And the pundits will have to stumble over their words to explain why their racism isn’t like Philis Schlafly’s or Michael Savage’s, even though it’s the same beast.

    People forget that the bulk of the work of a port terminal is relatively uninteresting, and it’s the nature of the so-called free market that US companies are not as interested in pursuing that low-margin, relatively uninnovative line of business. If you were running a public company with single-digit margins, high fixed costs, and mostly virtual revenue-producing assets (leases and contracts), you’d probably face a lot of shareholder pressure to find more profitable ventures to supplement or replace that line of business.

    Because of that, short of the once bankrupt Atlas Air, you won’t find many US-based cargo and logistics companies that are publicly traded. The bulk of the U.S. companies in that industry are privately held, long-established and relatively slow-growing. But China, UAE and other countries with less technology-driven economies are likely to see even slow-moving, low margin businesses as attractive if the money is reliable.

    It’s clear that, barring any corporate welfare for US companies, the future of port management is going to be increasingly foreign. It’s just not rewarding enough to be in that business for most US companies. Accordingly, American interests are better served by engaging these companies and tying their success to port safety and economic stability. If, for example, no Arab countries have any financial interests in the economic activity of the United States, they are far less likely to have any interest in calming anti-American hostility within their borders. On the other hand, if a substantial segment of the Arab economy has a direct stake in business within our borders, and the U.S. shows that it can work with, instead of against, Arab interests, at least the elites within those countries will have a lot less of an axe to grind with the U.S. That will indirectly contribute to the establishment of voices of reason at Arab universities. The more voices that recommend a pattern of constructive engagement against U.S. policies that negatively impact Arab countries, the less public sympathy for the desperate acts of violence that terrorist groups undertake against the US. It’s a long-term, multi-generational impact, but we can’t afford another 50 years of reasons for Arabs to hate the United States.

  3. Jason: I’ve had people write some terrific comments here (& some awful ones too!), but yours is one of the most insightful & cogent that’s appeared. You really captured the nexus between trade and international peace so well.


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