Thursday, February 23, 2006


It's Not About Dubai

It's about the administrations competence...

Building on this ongoing ports issue, for me it is not necessarily an issue with Dubai or the UAE per se. As mentioned yesterday, the UAE and Dubai especially are working to put themselves into the modern world by diversify their economy and setting themselves up as the Hong Kong of the Middle East. (Of course I wouldn't buy property here or necessarily invest myself as it is still subject to the whims of its Emire...but he seems pretty moderate and focused on the long term health of his country). Anyway, the core issue on the ports deal is the administrations handling of the's been ham handed and amateurish...but then again, what's new.

First off, it's politics 101 - not rocket science to know that handing over a contract to an Arab nation would raise eyebrows. There may certainly be a good rationale (even if it is a quid pro quo for support in the WOT), but the key to diffusing such issues before they erupt is to keep your allies in the loop on the decision making process. First and Hassert didn't seem to be on board, nor did the governors of the states involved. When pressed for why this decision was made, we get a petulant.."I'm trying to conduct foreign affairs me." and then a "even if you don't trust me, it's a done deal...veto, veto, veto". That the issue, not the UAE.

The problem is two fold, first Bush didn't even include his key allies - leaders within his own party, and governors of both parties in the areas affected. He claimed it's been fully vetted, but then reverses himself the next day saying he didn't know it was going to a UAE company. Even Donald Rumsfeld (God bless him) who sits on the committee that allegedly approved the deal without dissent, claims to know nothing of this deal until it hit the press.

And on the trust issue...We Republicans (or former republicans in my case) have a slight inclination not to trust government anyway. Couple that inherent distrust with the long track record of this administration...WMD, NSA spying, Iraq war costs, Katrina-HSD, and it's previous pledges and only a fool, or perhaps Fred Barnes would be willing to offer up that trust. The rhetoric of this administration does not match its actions and results...they have squandered our trust and must earn it...this is not the way.

So in the end, that's the issue for me. A ham-handed-father-knows-best attitude that not only leaves out other branches of government and the American citizens, but one that sticks a finger in the eye of even Bush's strongest supporters on Capitol Hill..who of course are up for reelection in a few months. Good job George.

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