Thursday, May 4, 2006

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New bipartisan foreign policy blog

I'm very, very, very close to finishing some time-consuming copyediting, so posting will be light in the next 24 hours.

In the meantime, go check out the Partnership for a Secure America's new foreign policy blog, Across the Aisle. I don't know all of the contributors, but I know enough of them to have confidence in the quality of output.

I particularly like this post by Chip Andreae that carefully delimits the kind of bipartisanship the Partnership is talking about:

[I]n spite of the growing need for true and uniting leadership to emerge from Capitol Hill, we must be conscious enough of why we demand bipartisan efforts to reject the recent political phenomenon that occurred during the DP World deal: bipartisanship for its own sake.

The events surrounding the attempt of Dubai Ports World to obtain ownership of several major US ports need no review. From a political perspective, the only point I want to raise is how quickly and seamlessly Democrats and Republicans banned together to strike down an otherwise legitimate business deal. Contrary to what some believe, this movement did nothing to indicate that Washington is still capable of interjecting a thoughtful, factual debate on foreign policy or any other issue. Rather, it only served to reflect the very worst in bipartisan consensus in that it lowered the threshold of leadership to the point that both parties sought merely to respond to a base protectionist view.

Back, now, to the why. With bipartisanship – I mean true bipartisanship – our country has an unlimited, unfiltered source of ideas from which to choose the best and brightest. But if we get too caught up in party lines, the number of ideas and opinions starts to diminish until we’re back down to two: Dems vs Reps. The problem with bipartisanship for its own sake is that it results in a scenario much closer to the latter than the former. In the paradigm of Dubai ports, the party lines were less visible, but not to facilitate meaningful debate (excepting the efforts of the Administration and a few senators) and diverse opinions. Rather, so many of the politicos used bipartisan efforts as a bandwagon to carry them as far from the President as possible. In other words, they only wanted to be bipartisan because that looked better to the American public than what was really happening. This preempted much of the discussion on important related issues like Dubai’s potential role in the War on Terror, or the US’s military presence in the Middle East (including countries other than Iraq).

Washington politicians now find themselves with something they may never see again…a second chance. A UAE company named Dubai International Capital is in the process of purchasing a British Defense group with US security connections. Sound familiar? It should. The deal went through a 45-day review by CFIUS, after which President Bush signed off on it. Thus far, there has been little outcry from either side of the aisle. My hope is that this reflects the true bipartisan spirit – one that sets a stage for Democrats and Republicans to discuss the important issues of foreign investment in the US, and the inevitable repercussions manifested in US investment abroad.

posted by Dan on 05.04.06 at 02:27 PM


Perhaps Chip Andreae should use the term "non-partisan" instead of "bi-partisan" since he seems to be arguing for views that are not driven by party philosophies, but by a search for the best alternatives.

posted by: RAZ on 05.04.06 at 02:27 PM [permalink]

If you want this deal to stand, by all means talk it up so people who haven't heard of it get to think it over and decide whether to object.

posted by: J Thomas on 05.04.06 at 02:27 PM [permalink]

It's fairly difficult to make a case that would convince Joe Sixpack that foreign-owned company that makes turbines, fuel pumps, and other assorted parts for jet engines will make it easier for jihadis to smuggle a nuke into the US.

I don't think this is going to be a problem.

posted by: rosignol on 05.04.06 at 02:27 PM [permalink]

I mean true bipartisanship
Sorry aint gonna happen. The well has been poisoned.

posted by: dilbert dogbert on 05.04.06 at 02:27 PM [permalink]

If we're talking Joe Sixpack then the details will slip right on by.

If we're talking people who think a little, it doesn't matter much if they get the profits -- that's just another brick in the wall. But if they're the only company that can make critical components for the "aerospace" industry, it would be critical that they not get managed by anybody who might arrange that those components not get made or sold.

A little more thought -- Dubai financiers wouldn't seem to have any more connection with america's enemies than a New York stockbroker with misssissippi Ku Klux Klanners.

posted by: J Thomas on 05.04.06 at 02:27 PM [permalink]

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