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The Democratic Strategist

Political Strategy for a Permanent Democratic Majority

Dubai, U.S., Whatever

It will take a while to completely unravel the meaning of today’s announcement by Dubai Ports World that it intended to divest itself of its leases to run six major U.S. ports. The only really clear thing is that it will probably buy the Bush administration some time to regroup and save face when it was cruisin’ for a bruisin’ in threatening to veto bipartisan legislation to stop the deal. But my own hope is that none of us get so hung-up about the identity of port operators, or are so tempted to declare victory if a U.S. firm replaces Dubai Ports World, that we forget the underlying security issue this brouhaha exposed.The federal government is doing a really crappy job of conducting security at all U.S. ports, with only five percent of cargoes being inspected. If that doesn’t change, then I won’t feel much better if the companies operating our ports–wide open invitations to the kind of materials that could feed a nuclear 9/11–are as American as apple pie.

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