Bush administration prepares to play race card in ports controversy
Frank Gaffney offers some commonsense and face-saving ways to get out of this political blunder, and lists three new factors that have come to light that make this UAE deal an even greater folly. Unfortunately, it appears that the Bush administration is going to follow its earlier Harriet Miers strategy and plans to begin accusing opponents of this policy of being racists and xenophobes.
Townhall.com :: Columns :: A Harriet Miers moment by Frank J. Gaffney, Jr. - Feb 20, 2006
The federal bureaucracy has made a strategic mistake that threatens to cost the President dearly. The question is not whether the ill-advised decision taken last week by the secretive Committee on Foreign Investment in the United States (known by its acronym, CFIUS, pronounced syphius) will be undone. Rather, the question is: By whom -- and at what political cost to Mr. Bush?
In the latest of a series of approvals of questionable foreign takeovers of American interests, CFIUS has given the green light to a company owned by the United Arab Emirates (UAE) to acquire contracts to manage port facilities in New York, Newark, Philadelphia, Baltimore, Miami and New Orleans. The company, Dubai Ports World, would do so by purchasing a British concern, Peninsula and Oriental Steam Navigation Company (“P and O”).
[...] In fact, that seems virtually certain now that talk radio, the blogosphere and the public have become aware of – and white hot about – this transaction. Members of Congress on both sides of the aisle and of Capitol Hill have made known their determination to prevent the transfer of control of U.S. ports to the UAE. In particular, Democrats like Hillary Clinton and Charles Schumer have been quick to seize on this issue as an opportunity to burnish their national security credentials at the expense of President Bush and his party.
[...] Call it a Harriet Meirs moment. Politics being the art of the possible, it is time to recognize that the Dubai Ports World deal is neither strategically sensible nor politically doable. It is time to pull the plug, and to reform the secretive interagency CFIUS process that allowed this fiasco in the first place