Thursday, March 02, 2006

The Failure of the DPW Deal Will Be Good for the Middle East--And the White House

The DPW deal gets deeper, and for the White House, much worse. For an Administration whose hallmark was national security, they seemed to have ignored a huge vulnerability by having a UAE owned company working the place.

And based upon a report last night on Fox News, the folks at the Port of Baltimore don't see this as the nightmare that Congress does. It's just about taking cargo containers off of ships, and really not much more. Customs and the Coast Guard ensure security. From what I gathered from the report, the two have nothing to do with one another.

And if that's true, which the people who work there say it is, then why didn't the White House blitz us with these facts and dispel this whole unbelievably stupid thing? Read the post below for my thoughts on that.

But that aside, killing the deal has two effects: It will put the story on the back pages, which will spare the White House more embarrassment. But it will also send a powerful message to the UAE and other Arab nations: we aren't comfortable yet with nations that don't have clean records in the terror department. Coziness with Iran, recognition of the Taliban, and failure to recognize Israel among other things are the very things that make this deal unacceptable to the American people. Those aren't peaceful positions, nor are they responsible, and each of them is directly opposed to stated U.S. positions. And until the UAE can bring themselves a little more in line with the world community, we can't entrust them with such a huge responsibility. Nothing personal, just business. And that's the point.

The argument that this will turn off the UAE and that they will throw a tantrum with serious consequences to our relationship is ridiculous. If they do, then it was just the right decision not to award the contract and they were not an ally at all. But if they behave responsibly, they will discover that there is a relationship between politics and commerce and that certain policies carry expensive consequences.

Let's face it, hating Jews as a state policy is simply barbaric. Let's keep repeating that line again and again and again until we believe it. Once more: "It's not ok to hate Jews, and it's not ok for that to be state policy." So why give a gift contract to someone who does?

Killing this contract will send a message that Jew-hating and commerce don't go together. Likewise for keeping company with terrorists and the nations that support them. The lesson being that they need to have grown-up state policies if they want to do business with the United States. With money comes responsibility.

And if the deal goes through, it remains a viable issue for the 2006 elections, allowing the Democrats an opportunity they have heretofore not yet had--an opportunity to finally score a credible hit on Bush in the area of national security. The result would be a tragedy for conservatives.

So what is more important, preserving a very unpopular deal with the UAE that confers no benefit on the Administration but because of its lack of communication now appears to be one of the most ill advised decisions possible, or to cut some losses, admit a mistake and teach an "ally" that it's time to grow up?

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