Over the weekend, the Bush administration agreed to hold off execution of their contract allowing Dubai Ports World to manage 6 US ports for 45 days so federal investigators could take another look at the deal in light of potential risks to national security. Since then, more damaging information has come to light adding to the pile of existing damaging information which leads one to ask the question – why take 45 days? Everything seems to point to the fact that this deal is not only dead, it’s deader than dead. But that’s where it gets interesting. Even though the matter has been on high boil for more than a week now, President Bush continues to support the transaction.
Bush suggested there was no reason to think the second investigation would produce any different outcome than the first.
“I look forward to a good, consistent review,” he said as he and Berlusconi alternated in taking questions from reporters in the Oval Office.
He urged Congress to “please, look at the facts.”
“What kind of signal does it send throughout the world if its OK for a British company to mange the ports but not a company that has been secured — that has been cleared for security purposes from the Arab world?” he said.
I understand his point about the double standard, even though I think his example is a bit flawed. Wouldn’t we trust Britain quicker than a country with a history of harboring terrorists? But, I digress…
If after 45 days this 2nd investigation shows that the first looksee failed in some way, will Bush backtrack? Will he be forced to? Will this be a case where the political aspirations of a Congress facing mid-term elections get in the way of a President who needs war time cooperation from an Arab country?
I doubt it.
Bush isn’t the type to react to short-term political consequences when compared to long-term national security matters. If you believe that the UAE port deal is a safe one for the US, as the president clearly does, then you’ll stand with him as he bucks all arguments and uses his VETO pen as previously threatened to make sure the deal goes through. No matter the political cost, Bush will put long-term security issues ahead of anyone’s political career, and that includes Republicans.
And you know what? I respect him for that.