Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Port Call (Part II)

Drudge has a flash on President Bush's strong statements defending the proposed UAE port deal. He summoned reporters on Air Force One earlier this afternoon and mounted a vigorous defense of the contract, which would give a Dubain firm control of operations at six U.S. ports. The President also threatened to veto any legislation that would cancel the proposed deal accusing Congress of a "double standard" in denying the contract to a Middle Eastern firm. Mr. Bush noted that lawmakers had no objection when port operations were being run by a British firm.

Why did the President mount such a sudden, forceful defense of the controversial deal? I'm betting that some of his reasons are among those outlined here.

Double standard or not, Mr. Bush is going to face an uphill battle in selling this deal to Congress and the American people. It's a political lose/lose situation. If he stands behind the deal, he makes the Democrats look good in the area where they are considered weakest--homeland security. On the other hand, if he reverses course and cancels the deal, he better start looking for replacements for those UAE bases now used by our military forces. And, he better have a fallback plan for keeping that F-16 assembly line open in Fort Worth--the same factory that is currently cranking out fighters for the UAE.


Papa Ray said...

I think your correct about the fallout if it is canceled. Like you said, with Iran looking dangerous, we can't lose what advantages we have in the area.

I think it will buy Bush a lot with the decision makers in the ME but cost him here at home if he vetos any attempts to stop it. Bush has been backed down a few times, but "stayed the course" more than not.

Guess we will see.

Papa Ray
West Texas

Anonymous said...

You're right this is a lose/lose situation, which is why this is a bad political decision by the White House. My gut feeling is that this is some kind of compensation for UAE help in some other area. Why else would Bush put so much effort in defending it? He didn't put the same effort in standing with our ally Denmark. Bush couldn't be bothered to veto any spending bills to exercise some fiscal sanity, yet this deal is so significant that he threatens to use a veto that has been gathering dust since Jan. 2001. This is a tactical miscalculation in addition to its nat'l security implications.

Papa Ray said...

Sorry, meant to leave this in case you missed it.

U.S. Counterinsurgency Academy Giving Officers a New Mind-Set

I wonder why myself, why they weren't given this training before they deployed?

Too busy practicing takedowns I guess.

Papa Ray

SecretAgent said...

What a mess this is. Personally, I don't see a serious problem with this deal. It's the same folks running security(both tactically(Coasties) and strategically(DHS/TSA such as they are). It's the same folks doing the grunt work. It's the same folks ultimately calling the shots at the ports.

This is a LEASE for the OPERATIONS of the port. No one is buying anything and no one is taking over anything. The same security holes will be there then that are there today.

The President made a mistake today by coming out so strong with the Veto thing. On the one hand it's laughable(didn't veto that gawd awful transportation bill but he's gonna veto any bill to stop this?) and on the other it's kinda sad(sorta has the feel of a child who has been pushed to far and he's stamping his feet).

jbrookins said...

I also don't think actual security will be threatened but it's such and obviously bad call politically that I wonder can the benefits be worth the trouble?

I'm a pretty strong supporter of this administration but they fail continually on explaining convincingly why they make the decisions they do. (Usually some very good reporter or other sources divulges the real reasons behind the moves) It’s as if they are confident in their decisions but not in the public ability to understand them. This was seen in the lead up to the War in Iraq. I don’t think the WMD issue was ever the main reason or even a large issue. But it was decided the easiest to sell. Easy is never good.

I think it would surprise many American how many areas we would consider sensitive are run by foreign companies or employ high level foreigners.

SecretAgent said...


I'm not sure the Administration weighs these decisions against the Public's ability to grasp them so much as how the media is going to spin it. I'm convinced that's one of the reasons why Cheney didn't drop a note on the Press Corps after his accident. He knew they would turn it into something that it wasn't and knew Mr. Whittington didn't need the attention.

The runup to the resumption of hostilities with Iraq is another matter. They over sold the WMD issue big and the media and their willing accomplices in the DNC(that may be cart before the horse but you get the idea) have been beating on them ever since. The Media/DNC would NEVER buy into the realities of the situation...Cease Fire violations, failure to comply with UN Resolutions(in itself a violation of the Cease Fire), and Hussein's very public support of the barbarian bombers in Israel.

jbrookins said...

Secretagent, the problem is the while they try to determine the spin and how to react to it the time laps gives critcs even more to spin. Now they have two stories to run with.

Of course it's 90% BS but still takes a lot of Air time away from real issues.