Thursday, March 09, 2006

The Terrorists Have Won

This round, anyway.

UAE to US: You're Not Worth The Effort

Congratulations, America, you've struck a blow against free trade and weakened those international relationships that everybody though were really important during the 2004 election.

Fear and irrational reactionary politics has won the day, demonstrating to those who would do us harm that, if they can just land one good blow, eventually we'll cave. If they scare enough of us, they can shape American policy. As far as I'm concerned this brands us a nation of ignorant cowards and I'm ashamed for the first time in a long time to be an American.

I'll get over it.

Well done. At this rate we'll be joining the rest of the world in happy-go-lucky socialism in no time.

EDIT: Why an American company didn't buy the terminals in the first place:
NYT: A Ship Already Sailed

Crazy Politico's Rantings: Score One For The Xenophobes
Atlas Shrugs: Dubai: The first casualty of political conquest is the truth
Mike's America: Dubai Ports Deal Dead: OFFICIALLY!
Michelle Malkin: Breaking News: Dubai Yields
Peace On That: Bush's Lame Duck Status Now Secure
Atlas Blogged: Make the Issue Go Away

People Covered in Fish: OK, Inter-webs, You Win


Anonymous Doubt It bloody well said...

Americans are protecting the Emirs of the U.A.E. by being there. Their confederation would fall apart without a whole lot of international support, most notably OURS.

They understand we're doing more for them than they are doing for us. I'm pretty sure they like their billions in oil and banking dollars.

Congress was correct.

10 March, 2006 01:22  
Blogger Patrick Joubert Conlon bloody well said...

As I said to you on Atlas Shrugs:

Matt said: "Fear and irrational reactionary politics has won the day."

This is one of the few times I disagree with you.

Only 17% of Americans were comfortable about the UAE deal. So I guess that makes the other 83% of us irrational. Isn't that a bit elitist? Are you above the fray? Typical sophomoric Ayn Randian idealism. The rest of us aren't quite as intellectual but simply instinctive - or should I say "irrational."

10 March, 2006 03:05  
Blogger Crazy Politico bloody well said...

I'm with you Robo, it was fear and reactionism that won, not knowledge. But in the age of soundbites and 30 seconds of "news" what do we expect.

I would almost to see the Emirates toss our military out of Dubai and Abu Dabi in retaliation, just so that folks would see there is a cost.

10 March, 2006 05:02  
Blogger Mike's America bloody well said...

So now we've damaged the relationship with a key strategic ally. And meanwhile, another two weeks have gone by where the focus on the mad Mullahs in Iran has been softened.

I can't see anything good about this.

It shows the power of using fear and disinformation to overwhelm truth.

I saw so many excellent reports on this subject on Fox News Special Report with Brit Hume. And I heard the sensible voices of Rush Limbaugh and Bill O'Reilly.

But switch to another station or open a newspaper and all you got was that we are "selling the ports."

No one has yet been able to tell me how Dubai Ports World would have had any more access to information that could result in a security breach than all the other foreign owned firms (HELLO ARAB AIRLINES) that are currently operating in the United States.

Ok... well time to pick up the pieces and repair the damage. There's an election in 8 months.

10 March, 2006 11:37  
Blogger James Manning bloody well said...

Gentlemen, nothing will come of this. UAE is not going to kick out our military. In fact, they are going to shrug it off as the cost of doing business with American politics.

Congress is going to step away from the bills they've been writing and they should. I never trust a bill they write when they have time to think about it, so I certainly don't want one written in this climate.

This is bad politics on Bush's part and I think he lost some control over his rubber stamp Congrress.

The big winners are Republican Congressmen. They are now free from the Bush machine and this new found independence will do them well in the November election.

I think there was some justification for being worried about this, but maybe not as much as folks think. But you have to admit, it made for good political television.

The world is still round, Walter Payton is still the greatest runnign back of all-time, and G Unit is still making music fit for my toliet. But it's Friday and we made it through another week. Rejoice and enjoy the family this weekend. You gentlemen have a good day.

10 March, 2006 11:57  
Blogger Crazy Politico bloody well said...

James, it would be nice if that were true. However, the UAE has already postponed the next round of trade talks that were to start next week.

The political TV wasn't good, because nothing good came of it. What it accomplished was destroying a 30 year old process (CFIUS) designed to keep politics out of business. Now, they want the politicians front and center.

10 March, 2006 13:37  
Blogger James Manning bloody well said...

Well Crazy, I really enjoyed it. I think the UAE is just grand standing, and I don't blame them. But there is a lot more money on the table with trade then there is in the port deal, so they'll be just fine with it.

I think Republicans found their mojo and that could be a bad thing because politicians are already playing a zero-sum game. Imagine if they hold on to Congress after moving even further to the right. It will get nasty. And it will get nasty if the Dems take control. Either way, a bloodbath will soon be upon us and Washington DC will a mess.

10 March, 2006 14:17  
Blogger Patrick Joubert Conlon bloody well said...

Matt, I was wrong about this and you were right as was Crazy Bob.

11 March, 2006 13:36  
Blogger Gyrobo bloody well said...

The fact remains: the vast majority of the American people were against the UAE port deal. Should the will of the people be ignored?

11 March, 2006 22:50  
Blogger Robosquirrel bloody well said...

Interesting, Patrick, why the change of heart? I've been avoiding the blogs for the past two days, because I don't feel like getting spun up about this any more.

I said that the terrorists have won, and I mean that, because they have sought to make us fear them and we do. Every elected official is responsible for this because for the last five years they've all been trying to jockey that fear into votes. James, frankly, I don't see how anybody but the people who want to make us afraid comes out on top in all this.

Gyrobo: should the will of the people be ignored? No, but the people shouldn't have had a say in this to begin with; cooler heads should've prevailed, not mob rule. The fear of the people should be addressed, however. This fear has risen out of ignorance and I didn't see many people, including the President, trying to explain what was really going on. What it came down to was that in attempt to kill the bad publicity for DPW, the UAE cut their losses. The terminals in the US were less than 10% of the acquisition and they could afford to cut them loose. I'm interested to see how that's going to happen. I would like to see Halliburton buy them, just to savor the irony.

When it comes to hot-button issues, yes, I find that rational thought does not typically prevail. Am I elitist? No; I think I'm right, and doing my best to explain why to everyone and failing miserably, apparently. Either that, or no one's listening. Either way, it doesn't make a shred of difference; the end result is that I end up frustrated and what is going to happen, happens.

I was trying to think about why I care at all, outside philosophical ground, and it came to me that this is making my job harder. It's entertaining to James and others, perhaps - and for most of you, yes, this too shall pass. What's this to you, but another news story to be argued rampantly and forgotten when the furor dies out?

But I have to deal with the result directly when I interact with any nation in the course of my naval service. As I said, I've been to the UAE. Maybe next time I go, I don't get the parts I need, or at least I have to engage people socially and personally deal with any repercussions of one of their allies spurning them. Regardless of whether there are repercussions or not, when we talk about "America's allies" that's a real and tangible thing for me, because what I do often depends on what they will do for us. So, it is in essence, in my own self interest to give a crap.

It's not just the UAE, though. I'll be interacting with just about every navy in South and Central America this summer and fall. Except Venezuela, since they've already pulled out of the exercises declaring they don't need to operate with us (that is a seperate, yet related issue). I have a feeling, though I couldn't possibly know, that this may cause a backlash, or at least leariness of us on their part.

So I think there's a possibility of larger repurcussions, but I'm not going scream doom and gloom, because that's just not my style. I will cross my fingers and hope for the best.

The whole thing still leaves me wondering, however: If the U.S. can't deal with its allies, how can we expect to deal with our enemies?

11 March, 2006 23:26  
Blogger Patrick Joubert Conlon bloody well said...

Matt: "Patrick, why the change of heart?"

Because I read a lot of facts NOT just op eds (which anyone can write) - facts like this:

"ISS has more than 200 offices around the world and provides services to clients ranging from cruise ship operators to oil tankers to commercial cargo vessels. In the U.S., the company operates out of more than a dozen port cities, including Houston, Miami and New Orleans, arranging pilots, tugs, linesmen and stevedores, among other things."

The Dubai Deal You Don't Know About.

Matt: "Am I elitist? No; I think I'm right, and doing my best to explain why to everyone and failing miserably, apparently. Either that, or no one's listening. Either way, it doesn't make a shred of difference; the end result is that I end up frustrated and what is going to happen, happens."

No, you aren't elistist at all. In fact, I think you are a very sensible man. That was a cheap dig on my part. You're younger than me - actually younger than my own son. Age has made me more sanguine and less concerned with the day to day drama. I'm more a lover of history than politics and history has shown me that the people take two steps forward and one step back all the time but we still end up one step ahead and the world gets better all the time. I have complete faith in the basic goodness of the majority of human beings. That's not to say that I don't get caught up in the day to day drama. But, when the sun goes down, I rest easy knowing that it will come up again tomorrow.

12 March, 2006 01:20  
Blogger shoprat bloody well said...

I don't know what I think of this. It was a debacle all around, and it reached a point where politics trump facts on both sides of the argument.

12 March, 2006 14:17  
Blogger Little Miss Chatterbox bloody well said...

I liked the title of Crazy's post on this because I think it summed it up well. As you know I have really respected the research and expertise you have provided on this issue. I was pretty upset about what happened.

Bill Kristol was awesome in his analysis of this on sunday on Fox News Sunday. He and Juan got in a heated argument about it as usual :-).

13 March, 2006 23:10  

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