Tuesday, February 28, 2006
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A subversive thought about the ports deal
The more information that comes out about the proposed port deal, the more I realize why the politics of this case seems so confusing. If you read this Washington Post story by Jim VandeHei and Paul Blustein, this Jim Geraghty post at NRO, this Washington Post story by Walter Pincus, this New York Times story by Carl Hulse and David Sanger, and this Coast Guard release from Monday, you recognize the following facts:
1) This decision was not made by policy principals, but rather assistant secretarie or deputy assistant secretaries;Now, this leads into an interesting conundrum -- depending on where you stand on the political spectrum, the decision-making process affects your take on the deal in odd ways.
If you're a true-blue liberal, you should be perfectly delighted with this outcome. The Bushies did not have a high profile, there was no stovepiping from neoconservatives, and the interagency process seemed to work pretty well. This is, in other words, an exemple of how good government is supposed to operate.
Of course, if you're a red-meat conservative, this is just awful. Unelected bureaucrats and low-level flunkies ran the show. The Commander-in-Chief was out of the loop. Bureaucrats were telling politics what to do, rather than vice versa. This is exactly the kind of thing the Bush administration was not supposed to let happen.
I'm not sure it explains anything, but I thought it was interesting enough to point out.posted by Dan on 02.28.06 at 10:23 PM
Your posts on the ports situation are bordering on intellectually dishonest. You've analyzed the issue completely in a vacuum- not once have you considered this in conjunction with the rest of Bush's policies on the war on terrorism.
He's being a hypocrite. Be honest and call him on it.posted by: Rick Latshaw on 02.28.06 at 10:23 PM [permalink]
I am a true blue (or red) conservative, and I am delighted that the process ran like it should have. I am disgusted with the Democrats attempt to use nativism to turn this into an issue based on misleading soundbites.posted by: Robert Schwartz on 02.28.06 at 10:23 PM [permalink]
Robert Schwartz, why do you think it's Democrats doing it?
Back when the issue was giving the panama canal to the red chinese, it was a Republican issue. Why isn't a Republican issue this time?
Why would the media pay attention to Democrats complaining when they've ignored Democrat complaints for 5+ years? It's Republicans who created the issue for the media, and the media quote a few Democrats since they're in line with Republican goals this time.
The media have turned against Bush because he's a lame duck now. The guys who're going to pick the next Republican presidential candidate are deciding who to pick, and they'll make him look good while they make Bush look bad.
Nothing to see here yet, move along, move along.
"This decision was not made by policy principals, but rather assistant secretarie or deputy assistant secretaries;"
"The Bushies did not have a high profile, there was no stovepiping from neoconservatives, and the interagency process seemed to work pretty well. This is, in other words, an exemple of how good government is supposed to operate. "
"Bureaucrats were telling politics what to do, rather than vice versa. This is exactly the kind of thing the Bush administration was not supposed to let happen"
Last I checked Assistant Secretaries, Deputy Assistant Secretaries, and much of their staff are political appointees, the glue to the republican constituencies, whether they be neocons, theocons, or $cons. In this case, it looks like a $con deal. Unfortunately, as we have learned with everything from Iraq to congressional earmarks, to the drug prescription plan, to the Abramoff/Delay issues, everything is for sale in DC.
It seems to me, that there is another story that has not surfaced here (yet?). Who did the Emiratis funnel money to in order to get, or ensure that they get, that deal?
Who, specifically, are those Assistant Secretaties and Deputy Assistant Secretaries? Where do they come from? Who are they tied to? Who were they making a favor for by pushing the deal through? Who out of the government was pushing it? What money or other consideration did they receive?posted by: Darwin on 02.28.06 at 10:23 PM [permalink]
The Asst. Secretary from Treasury (Lowery) who led the CFIUS process is a career guy. The key people within the Coast Guard and CBP who looked at this are career people. There are some who were involved who are political appointees, but it's tough to generalize.
Also, I really don't think this is a liberal/conservative issue. Anyone who believes in good governance, and the civil service instead of the spoils system - liberal or conservative - should be happy with a process that works this way.posted by: cn on 02.28.06 at 10:23 PM [permalink]
Firms flock to Abu Dhabi for largest arms bazaar in Mideast
By Agence France Presse (AFP)
The oil-rich Emirates, in the shadow of Iraq and Iran, with which it has a dispute over three Gulf islands, had purchased 30 French Mirage 2000-9 combat planes in 1998 as part of a self-reliance policy.
The $3.2 billion contract with France's Dassault included the modernization of 33 other Mirages....
...More than 50 countries are taking part in the seventh IDEX fair, where more than 900 exhibitors, including U.S. giants Boeing and Lockheed Martin, are displaying their wares.
U.S. seeks to formalize military links with U.A.E.
By Lydia Georgi
Thursday, January 13, 2005
ABU DHABI: The United States and the United Arab Emirates have held the first meeting of a Joint Military Commission (JMC) aimed at formalizing their growing defense cooperation, a senior Pentagon official said Wednesday. Assistant Secretary of Defense for International Security Affairs Peter Rodman said the U.A.E. would take delivery of the first batch of 80 U.S.-built F-16 Falcon fighters in May and confirmed that an Emirati military air flight training center involving "outside" countries was now operational.
"We have these forums with other friends around the world ... to talk about cooperation, the strategic situation in the neighborhood, sometimes arms sales ... It's a way of formalizing interaction." Rodman said the JMC meeting was the first time Washington and Abu Dhabi had "started this formal institution of cooperation, and it's a good thing because it reflects the growth of our cooperation." Rodman further said the U.S. has "a variety of agreements, informal and formal," with the U.A.E. He would not elaborate on their "good, quiet cooperation" or talk about logistical accords dating back to the 1991 Gulf war during which U.S. aerial refuelling tankers and C-130 transporters used facilities in the Gulf country. "I don't want to get into the specifics, but we are very pleased at the (military) cooperation that we have," said Rodman, who also held talks with Defense Minister and Dubai Crown Prince Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashed al-Maktoum.
posted by: O2_24hrs_a_day on 02.28.06 at 10:23 PM [permalink]
U.S. kicks off free trade talks with U.A.E.
Compiled by Daily Star staff
When the story first hit the MSM it was cast as a security transfer to the UAE. Since then the truth, that it's a commercial operations transfer, has surfaced. The Coast Guard hasn't been sold, it still belongs to the DoHS.posted by: Mike H. on 02.28.06 at 10:23 PM [permalink]
Interesting perspective. I don't think all the facts are in yet, though I'm leaning toward Dan's view.
This is the kind of deep inside baseball that never becomes an issue unless/until politics intervenes. We'll need just a bit of time to know who the players are and what they were up to.posted by: Ted Liazos on 02.28.06 at 10:23 PM [permalink]
You continue to assume that the merits of the sale have any relationship to the fuss over it.
The fuss is really about the American people having gotten close to, if not over, their limit of tolerance of federal and Bush administration failures in the information war, whose failure to fight back at all against the cartoon riot scheme of Islamic radicals seems to have been the triggering factor.
The UAE port sale was just the first vehicle that came along for the American people to vent their feelings once those had finally been ignited.
It may be that you do not believe the American people as an entity exists. You would certainly be in good company on this - the attitude is shared by the Bush administration.
But if you do not admit that a Jacksonian uprising can happen, you will always be caught flat-footed when it happens.posted by: Tom Holsinger on 02.28.06 at 10:23 PM [permalink]
Taken into context, this sounds like it is a case of...
Live by the misleading soundbite.
From the description of Jacksonian, I guess I'm one of them. Hence, I'm all for Jacksonian uprisings. When they are warranted.
And that just doesn't seem to be the case. This issue seems more an attempt to inflame my Jacksonian tendencies by misstating the problem.
"When the story first hit the MSM it was cast as a security transfer to the UAE. Since then the truth, that it's a commercial operations transfer, has surfaced. The Coast Guard hasn't been sold, it still belongs to the DoHS."
The things in the Jackson article highlight a lot of what is right in this country and what has lead us to be the nation that we are. Not that "Jeffersonianism" wasn't a big part as well.posted by: Chad on 02.28.06 at 10:23 PM [permalink]
1) This decision was not made by policy principals, but rather assistant secretarie or deputy assistant secretaries;
2) The CFIUS process worked. Some homeland security agencies, like the Coast Guard, raised concerns -- and those concerns were addressed in negotiations with DPW;
3) Neither Bush nor his cabinet played any role in the decision until the very end of the process.
I don't see the problem. Upper management is supposed to set the policies. Middle management is supposed to enforce the policies. Bush and his cabinet were not involved in the process because there was no overriding concern that needed the attention of the President of the US.
This seems like a straight-forward process that worked as it should in a non-political manner, until people started throwing around politics.posted by: Mark S. on 02.28.06 at 10:23 PM [permalink]
posted by: lending tree television commercial on 02.28.06 at 10:23 PM [permalink]
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