February 25, 2006

Dubai, Dubya, Repubya Ready to Deal

Hatched by Dafydd

Time Magazine reports that the president, congressional Republicans, and Dubai Ports World are nearing agreement on a new deal that would likely let the old deal proceed by and large as already agreed.

(We previously blogged on the DP World deal here, here, and here.)

Under the terms, which Time inexplicably dismisses as "face-saving," there would simply be an extended, 45-day review of the deal by CFIUS, which is the same committee that reviewed the deal the first time.

House Homeland Security Committee Chairman Peter King, confirmed in a phone interview early Saturday afternoon to TIME that officials were close to a deal involving the Congressional leadership, the White House and the Dubai company. The agreement would call for a 45-day “CFIUS-plus investigation,” King said, referring to the Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States, a Treasury Department-run interagency panel that probes proposed acquisitions in the U.S.

If the new review is designed to save anyone's face, it's Peter King's; he was one of the earliest -- and most vociferous -- of Republicans upset about the deal. If even he has now come around to the point where another, somewhat more detailed review will satisfy him, then Bush has probably won; and the country as well, as Big Lizards believes this deal is very good for America, taken in its totality.

Congress will likely conduct its own review; but if we assume the original CFIUS review was accurate and reasonably thorough, it's unlikely that either the longer review or a separate congressional review will turn up anything unconsidered earlier. In other words, after 45 days, the deal will simply go through.

This is what the Bush administration should have done the first time... both the CFIUS-plus review (rather than a regular review) and also more consultation with Congress. But I don't believe the failure to do so was related to "White House secrecy," as Sen. Hillary Clinton (D-NY) and other Democrats accuse... but rather that it seemed so routine to the agencies involved, because they had worked so long and so well with the United Arab Emirates in the past, that it literally never occurred to anyone that there would be a problem.

I believe it was a failure of imagination, not a failure of vetting.

Tom Bevan over at RealClearPolitics Blog is making much of a new Rasmussen Poll that has the Democrats polling in a statistical dead heat with President Bush on the question of who would best protect our national security. While Tom is understandably nervous (being as addicted to polls as Mort Kondrake and Big Lizards are!) I believe this is an anomaly: the poll was taken just after the deal hit the airwaves, just at the peak of panic about "A-rabs buying our ports"... and before careful work by a number of bloggers revealed the fact behind the hype, which was never as dire as the hysterical Democrats made it sound.

Small wonder that there was a blip. Time (but probably not Time) will tell if it switches back, but I expect it will. The Democrats will not come out of this smelling like a rose; they'll come out smelling like Michael Savage; it will explode in their faces, just like their hysteria about everything from Abu Ghraib to Gitmo to torture to the NSA al-Qaeda intercept program.

And the new agreement brewing between Bush and the congressional Republicans will go a long way towards reassuring people that the news was badly misreported, and there is no reason to believe the president has "lost his mind," as several Democrats suggested. Rather, it was the bipolar Democrats who flew from the extreme of fretting over terrorists' rights to the other extreme of demanding that we sever all ties with Arab countries, no matter how moderate, and no matter how much they have helped us in the war on jihadi terrorism.

Hatched by Dafydd on this day, February 25, 2006, at the time of 6:04 PM

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The agreement to give an additional 45 day review to Dubai Ports World's acquisition of Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Co.'s U.S. terminal operations is a good one. One final look at the deal, with special scrutiny of the national... [Read More]

Tracked on February 26, 2006 2:28 PM


The following hissed in response by: RBMN

Last week's reporting on the UAE port management story rivals last month's "Miners are alive!" story from West Virginia, in terms of accuracy. It just took people a lot longer to get the real facts with the port situation. I just hope they're as willing to admit the mistake.

The above hissed in response by: RBMN [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 25, 2006 8:59 PM

The following hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist

That Rasmussen report also mentions:

Just 39% of Americans know that the operating rights are currently owned by a foreign firm. Fifteen percent (15%) believe the operating rights are U.S. owned while 46% are not sure.

Clearly, 61% of Americans are not watching "24"...

Jack Bauer played Russian Roulette with a fully loaded gun and won.

The above hissed in response by: KarmiCommunist [TypeKey Profile Page] at February 26, 2006 12:48 PM

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