Nevertheless, the whole affair served as a lesson for other Arab companies who may have thought of investing in what has proved to be a hostile US atmosphere. All the free trade talk proved to be just empty rhetoric. Another irony is that the Democrats, the supporters of globalisation, were the key opponents of the deal. There must have been something else behind the sudden change of heart.
It was definitely not the concern for national security, as they fully know the Bush administration had run a meticulous review of the deal, which established it was not a threat. Was it the "Israeli element" as some have suggested? Maybe. Otherwise, why would some Congress members bombard the
DP World executive, during last week's hearing, with questions about the Arab boycott of Israel? Did they want to force the UAE to end the pan-Arab boycott of Israel in order approve the deal?
These questions need to be investigated. But the fact remains it was an ugly scene in Washington. Other foreign-owned companies run US ports but they were not Arab. That is the message.
And we got it.
Meanwhile, Chinese government-owned companies control terminals in Los Angeles and other West Coast cities, and both ends of the Panama Canal.
Had the present Administation been taking port security seriously for the past five years, this whole afair would have been rendered moot. Instead we have this fiasco.