Stranger and stranger.....
Let's do some serious analysis, shall we?
I think it pays to ask the question: why is President Bush so exercised about a simple comercial transaction? Especially one opposed by both the Senate and House Majority leaders in his own party? What is so important that he is threatening a veto of any legislation blocking this, when he hasn't vetoed anything in five years?
I think I know, or at least have an idea.
You have to start with two logical premises: one,that President Bush is NOT an idiot(though certainly capable of mistakes) and two, that he is not an evil meglomaniac bent on America's destruction, and would not DELIBERATELY do anything to harm the country's security.
(I think a couple of `liberals' just peeled off into the ozone)
Let's look again at what he said:
"I want those who are questioning it to step up and explain why all of a sudden a Middle Eastern company is held to a different standard than a Great British company. I am trying to conduct foreign policy now by saying to the people of the world, `We'll treat you fairly.'"
"They ought to listen to what I have to say about this. They'll look at the facts and understand the consequences of what they're going to do," he said. "But if they pass a law, I'll deal with it with a veto."
Bush addressed this again immediately upon his return to the White House, to make sure his soundbite would make the evening news. "This is a company that has played by the rules, has been cooperative with the United States, from a country that's an ally on the war on terror, and it would send a terrible signal to friends and allies not to let this transaction go through."
Well, Mr. President, I can think of a number of reasons to hold a UAE company to a different standard. For starters, there's the little matter of Dubai and the UAE being a major funding source for al Qaeda, Hamas and Hezbollah, the fact that some of the 9/11 hijackers used the UAE as an operational and financial base and the fact that the UAE was the main transfer point for shipments of smuggled nuke components and data sent to Iran, North Korea and Libya by Pakistani scientist Dr. Aly Khan.
It's obvious that Bush made a personal committment to someone, based on a quid-pro-quo and if you examine what he said, it's obvious that he feels his personal word is on the line.
So whom did he promise and what WAS that deal? I have a feeling the operative words are Saudi Arabia and Iran.
While some of you were fixating on a hunting accident, King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia was finalizing improved relations with India and China.
J O S H U A P U N D I T: Connecting the dots on Iran, funding for the Palestinians...and the Saudis
Obviously part of that was a Saudi committment to make up the oil shortfall to these countries in the event of trouble with Iran, and to lean on the other OPEC nations to go along, including the UAE.
A strike against Iran may be in the advanced planning stages even as I write this.
Bush may just be putting together a bloc of Arab countries aimed at ultimately isolating the Islamist/terrorist supporting or near Islamist nations in the region.
This bloc appears to consist of Jordan, Oman, Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Iraq, Bahrein and Qatar. Notice that with the exception of Iraq, all of them are Arab autocracies..and all surround Iran, Syria, and the Palestinian Authority. Another point to note is that except for Iraq, all of them are predominantly Sunni.
Egypt, which Bush has pretty much cut off from any US aid, is no longer a player. Egypt will be an Islamist state as soon as the elderly Mubarek dies.
In spite of all the lip service about `Arab democracy' Bush and Condi Rice appear to be playing the conservative, Sunni autocracies against the more radical states in the region, especially Iran and Syria.
Now, the price for this cooperation could very well be a hands off attitude towards the Saudi export of jihad to America via Saudi funded mosques, madrassahs and university chairs, US help with bringing Saudi Arabia into the world's commercial mainstream (Bush sponsored the Saudi's entry into the WTO) and just maybe, increased entry of Arab companies into the USA, including government contracts.
Do I agree with that? Not at all, on the face of it. But I think it's necessary to see where the pieces on the board go. And there may obviously be some information or issues that I lack knowledge of.
Could Bush be playing a classic game of divide and conquer, planning to deal with the Saudis after Iran and Syria? Maybe.
Either he is three steps ahead of the game, or merely playing what he feels is the best hand he has with what he has to work with.
In any event, he is going to need to make nice to Congress and spend some time briefing the House and Senate intelligence committees, like he did with the NSA controversy.
As we've noticed, the tone on the NSA wiretaps has changed considerably since Congress received an Intel briefing on the subject, even among Democrats.
President Bush will have to make his case on turning over management of 6 of our busiest harbors over to Dubai Ports. I have major doubts on the matter, but he deserves the opportunity.