Thursday, March 09, 2006

The right decision..for the wrong reasons...

In a move that finally brings closure to what ultimately proved to be a bizarre bru-haha, Dubai-based DP World this evening pulled out of their bid for control of U.S. Terminals:

WASHINGTON (AP) - Bowing to ferocious opposition in Congress, a Dubai-owned company signaled surrender Thursday in its quest to take over operations at U.S. ports.

"DP World will transfer fully the U.S. operations ... to a United States entity," the firm's top executive, H. Edward Bilkey, said in an announcement that capped weeks of controversy.

Relieved Republicans in Congress said the firm had pledged full divestiture, a decision that one senator said had been approved personally by the prime minister of the United Arab Emirates.

Now I have said some critical words myself regarding this deal here, here and here. It appears that decisions were made in haste on all sides, on all branches of government. It probably was a bad idea, although there may be repercussions:
Dubai is threatening retaliation against American strategic and commercial interests if Washington blocks its $6.8 billion takeover of operations at several U.S. ports.

As the House Appropriations Committee yesterday marked up legislation to kill Dubai Ports World’s acquisition of Britain’s Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation (P&O), the emirate let it be known that it is preparing to hit back hard if necessary.

A source close to the deal said members of Dubai’s royal family are furious at the hostility both Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill have shown toward the deal.

“They’re saying, ‘All we’ve done for you guys, all our purchases, we’ll stop it, we’ll just yank it,’” the source said.
among other things that may be considered "on the block"
It is not clear how much of Dubai’s behind-the-scenes anger would be followed up by action, but Boeing has been made aware of the threat and is already reportedly lobbying to save the ports deal.

The Emirates Group airline will decide later this year whether it will buy Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner or its competitor, Airbus A350. The airline last fall placed an order worth $9.7 billion for 42 Boeing 777 aircraft, making Dubai Boeing’s largest 777 customer.
Now if the deal is bad for national security, it's a bad deal. It does no good for the nation for Boeing to receive contracts if air service is crippled by another 9/11-styled attack or worse.

But at the same time, I wonder if the decision to block the sale was the right decision made for the wrong reasons:
Republicans denounced the deal, saying they were worried about the effects it would have on efforts to make ports safer from terrorist threats. Democrats did likewise, and capitalized on the issue as well as a way to narrow the polling gap with the GOP on issues of national security.
In my opinion, it would have made sense to utilize the 45-day cooling off period to at least review the facts, but in this, an election year, it appeared that both sides of the aisle were vying on just who could "out-posture" whom in a "tough against terror" stance. The democrats, who were badly in need of cred on the WOT front, seized on this opportunity like a career bank robber seizes on an opportunity to help an old lady cross the street while in view of the police.

The problem with the democrats, however, is that they'll still have a lot of 'splainin' to do regarding their traditionally soft stance on terrorist detainees, along with their limp-wristed stance on the main battle front in our war against Al Qaeda. Whether or not their "toughguy stance" on this deal has any legs, will depend in large part on the level of republican success in reminding the voters of what the dinosaur media will no doubt forget to mention come election time. Additionally, the time between now and early November is an eternity in politics, especially when the tendency toward a short memory on the part of the electorate is considered. If this whole affair had happened only weeks instead of months before the election, the democrat side may have gained more political capital from the affair.

But fear not. Like a snake that must from time to time shed its skin, the democrat party cannot long keep their hawkish facade. With the Iraq war not likely to wind down before election time, the democrats will have ample opportunity to continue to display to the voting public the linguini-spined, limp wristed moonbats that they truly are.

(Filed under moonbat adventures, War on Terror, Iraq)