James, I agree that by no means should concerns about "message-sending" govern our decisions. But as with any decision making, it's part of the picture. The message is the secondary consequence. The rest of the Post editorial dealt with the primary decision making, but I found that section about the consequences particularly poignant.
The Spectacle Blog
Dave -- I've got to take umbrage with the fear of "sending the wrong message" to the "Arab world." Choosing to do or to not do things based on what presumptive "message" is sent is a reactive, speculative, even irrational policy that I've criticized time and again. Here, I suspect that the UAE will continue to find and take advantage of business opportunities in the United States; that the host of preexisting reasons why the UAE has been a friend in the war on terror will not evaporate; and that the proposal to wipe out our foreign aid to Egypt, for example, if implemented, would be a far greater insult to Arabs than the sinking of the ports deal, which seems merely irritating to a handful of chief dealmakers running a single Arab company.
The Post is rightly miffed by Congress killing the Dubai Ports World deal:
But our brave new Congress has achieved more than the irrational spiking of one business deal. It has also sent a clear message to the Arab world: No matter how far you move along the path of modernization and cooperation, Americans may be unable to distinguish you from al-Qaeda. Dubai welcomes hundreds of ship visits every year from the U.S. Navy and allied ships. It has worked with U.S. agents to stop terrorist financing and nuclear cooperation. But none of that mattered to the craven members of Congress -- neither to the Democrats who first sensed a delicious political opportunity nor to the Republicans who then fled in unseemly panic. As to long-term damage to the United States' security, economy and alliances? Not of concern to the great deliberative body.
About a week ago in this space I came down hard on the NFL players and owners when they looked like they were gonna cut off their noses to spite their faces by failing to reach a new "labor" agreement. Well, in some senses I spoke too soon. The big-market owners did bend a bit on revenue sharing -- which is exactly what they should have done all along -- and both players and owners bent a bit on the distribution of revenues and salary cap issues, which allowed an agreement to be reached that will save the sport. It does seem, however, that the owners bent more than the players did, which I did NOT support... because I have little sympathy for people already making millions to play a game, but mostly because the extra cash for player salaries will end up coming from SOMEwhere, and that somewhere inevitably ends up being from the pockets of the fans. I always support the fans over both the players and the owners.
Anyway, better this deal than no deal -- and better by far. The game will continue on a mostly level playing field, without missing any games, for at least another six years. That's a very good thing, and I congratulate both sides on coming to agreement.
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Blanton over at Redstate has the goods on one of the more shadowy groups that is an offshoot of the 527s Democrats set up. Legally identified as Campaign for a Cleaner Congress, the group is nothing more than one of the subsidiaries of American Family Voices, a 527 financed by labor unions before the 2004 election.
CCC works closely with the DNC on a number of issues (though that is supposedly illegal under McCain/Feingold campaign finance reform), has contracted with a number of former DNC opposition researchers to dig up dirt on Republicans, and then passes that material on to cooperative reporters.
No surprise then, that reporters treat the CCC as a nonpartisan source.
Yale University won't respond to repeated requests for its response to the outcry over its admission of a former Taliban deputy minister, according to a reporter who has been trying to get the ivy league college's statement. Maybe you can. Dr. Richard Levin is Yale's president. His telephone number is 203-432-1345. And remember, no impolite words. Just calm questions.
Security council source reports that this news cycle is critical first round of discussions between five permanent members with regard the Iran confrontation. Britain and France are on course to ask for an IAEA report of noncompliance. China is silent. Russia asks for a report in 18 months.
Iran believes it can split the five with long term oil contracts and back room promises. The US is now the prince of multi-lateralism. Keeping Britain and France together, keeping Russia moving without a "no," keeping China silent, is far-fetched but possible.
There is no visible solution. Those who speak breezily of a diplomatic solution have not read the 1945 UN Charter. Chapter Seven, article 42, looms, a collective action of air, sea, land forces for demonstrations, blockades and interventions to be launched by a vote of the Security Council, with full compliance by five perms. The vote is binding. Getting to the vote will be a struggle, but the vote is the trigger. Jaw jaw leads to war war. Iron tongues followed by iron weapons.
Hugo Chavez continues to stand as the Vanguard of the Revolution in Venezuela and hero to twentysomething American boys in horn-rimmed glasses on college campuses everywhere.
Venezuela's Congress, dominated by allies of socialist President Hugo Chavez, has approved a revamp of the national coat of arms to ensure its white horse gallops left instead of right.
Last year Chavez dismissed the horse image saying "it's not even Venezuelan, it's an imperialist horse" after researching that it was originally designed by a British diplomat. But he cited historical reasons for the change.
"The horse now faces left with its head forward to the future, a white, free, untamed horse, as our nation is free as never before," lawmaker Cilia Flores said late on Tuesday after the law was passed.
This is the talk of Britain's Jack Straw, who, one might fear, is grasping at himself:
If you want to see a nuclear-free Middle East, you've got to remove that threat from Iran, including the rhetorical threat to wipe Israel off the face of the map. Once you've done that, then we can get on to work in respect of Israel.
Is there real fruit filling in this pie-in-the-sky? Consider.