Dependence on foreign sources of oil creates a national security problem. You hear parts of the world where there is disruption in oil supply as a result of local politics, for example, it affects the United States of America.That's a nice phrase, "tyrants control the spigots." Hat tip: link via Dan Froomkin.
I spend a lot of time worrying about disruption of energy because of politics or civil strife in other countries -- because tyrants control the spigots. And it's in our national interest that we become less dependent on oil.
The natural question: Which oil-rich states are led by tyrants? These are the opening sentences to the U.A.E. section from the Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, 2004 edition, which was released in February 2005 (a new one must be due soon):
The United Arab Emirates (UAE) is a federation of seven semi-autonomous emirates. Traditional rule in the emirates generally is patriarchal, with political allegiance defined in terms of loyalty to the tribal leaders, to the leaders of the individual emirates, and to the leaders of the federation. There are no democratically elected institutions or political parties.Dubai is one of the seven emirates. The Report highlighted Dubai's ban on flogging (ah, progress!) and the existence of some private co-ed universities, but noted problems of prison overcrowding, lack of judicial review, state ownership of domestic media, serious labor law violations, governmental approval over preachers in Dubai's private mosques, and perhaps most troubling, an "increasing number of media reports during the year of trafficking in women and girls to the country."
The White House likes to pretend that Dubai Ports World is a private company, and that the recent proposed port contract is a private transaction, but the company is wholly owned by the government -- even the "swift boat" crowd knows this simple fact:
Dubai Ports World's chairman is Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, who was educated at Temple University in Philadelphia. He is a top adviser to the emir of Dubai, Sheik Mohammed bin Rashid al-Maktoum, who controls the company through the state-owned Ports, Customs and Free Zones Authority of Dubai.Since the US government has to approve the contract, this transaction might even fall under the field of "international relations."
In any case, despite tyrannical rule in U.A.E. and Dubai, the President spoke reassuringly on February 21 about the proposed port contracts for Dubai Ports World.
The transaction should go forward, in my judgment. If there was any chance that this transaction would jeopardize the security of the United States, it would not go forward. The company has been cooperative with the United States government. The company will not manage port security. The security of our ports will be -- continue to be managed by the Coast Guard and Customs. The company is from a country [Dubai] that has been cooperative in the war on terror, been an ally in the war on terror. The company operates ports in different countries around the world, ports from which cargo has been sent to the United States on a regular basis.Interesting, eh?
Tyrant's hands + oil spigots = bad for U.S. security
Tyrant's hands + America's ports = no threat to U.S. security
If those formulas seem too complicated, CBS News provides the mathematical answer.
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Filed as: Dubai Ports