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March 08, 2006

BAD MOVE: The House Appropriations Committee just voted to block the Dubai ports deal by a whopping 62-2 margin. I've come to believe that the deal isn't a threat, though I grant that reasonable people disagree with me. But I can't help but think that this vote isn't driven by reasonable concerns as much as political panic.

That also makes me wonder -- as discussed in this podcast interview with Homeland Security Assistant Secretary Stewart Baker -- whether (1) This isn't really backlash stemming from the Cartoon Wars "tipping point" effect; and (2) Whether that wasn't the intent all along, to divide us from Arab/Muslim allies.

Perhaps it won't matter, and the UAE will just suck it up, attribute it to politics, and move on. Perhaps they'll still cut a reasonable deal. But just possibly, we're being had. The White House, whose handling of this whole matter has been deeply bumbling and inept, deserves its (sizable) share of the blame, but I wish that everyone else would take a deep breath and think harder. At least, if it's really port security they're worried about, there's a lot more reason for concern than the Dubai deal.

I don't know, but I'm very unhappy with how this is going, and this lopsided vote has made me unhappier.