DP World Makes Concessions, Pledges Cooperation

George Bush has avoided a difficult confrontation with Congress over the sale of port management to Dubai Ports World as the state-owned UAE company volunteered significant concessions to ease concern over the sale. Not only has DP World requested another investigation of its own operations and the sale, it also has offered to restructure its company to please its new American customer:

The Bush administration said Sunday it will accept an extraordinary offer by a United Arab Emirates-based company to submit to a second — and broader — U.S. review of potential security risks in its deal to take over significant operations at six leading American ports. The plan averts an impending political showdown.
The Treasury Department said in a statement it will promptly begin the review once the company formally files a request for one. It said the same government panel that earlier investigated the deal but found no reason for national security concerns will reconsider it. …
The announcement means the White House likely won’t face a revolt by fellow Republicans when lawmakers return Monday from a weeklong break. A united Republican Party can assert that its leaders — both in Congress and at the White House — have taken additional steps to protect national security.

Under the terms of DPW’s offer, the company would wait to take over operations at the American ports now operated by P&O, the company it bought earlier this month. During this period, the company will place a London-based manager in charge of the operations, a person with British citizenship, and leave all the current structures in America alone. After the completion of the deal, DP World also pledged to transform the American operations into a subsidiary that would have American executives at the helm in order to make the operations more palatable for the United States.
This represents the closest to victory that the anti-DPW forces could desire, under the circumstances. It would place Americans in between UAE and the ports as an important buffer. The formation of the subsidiary within the US would make its operations more transparent to law enforcement. In fact, it would be closer to American management of the ports than most others have now.
If the new investigation turns up no significant hurdles, this story will pass into oblivion soon enough. However, these concessions represent a real victory for common sense and stronger security and accountability. It still leaves the question about the lack of foresight by the White House and the Treasury Department about how this deal would look to Congress and the public at large, and why they could not think to require these concessions in the first place.

First Mate Update

A quick note before I run off to the hospital for the day … The FM is doing well this weekend. Her anemia has improved with four transfusions of blood, but the numbers still seem to drift downward. We think this is a side effect of an immunosuppression drug called Campath (sp?), administered monthly until about six weeks ago when they stopped it.
She should be coming home on Monday if all stays well. The hospital needs to set up a regular dialysis regimen for her before she’s released. She’ll have to be dialyzed three times a week until another donor can be found, which won’t happen until the polyoma virus gets cleared from her system.
However, she’s feeling much better, and last night we even had dinner and a movie. I brought “Hitch” on DVD (they have a player in her room), and we both had a blast. Today I’m surprising her with “Bewitched”, which she has wanted to see since it came out last summer. She sends her greetings to all of you and her thanks for your prayers and kind thoughts.

The Religion Of Pieces

Europe, and especially France, is sitting on a time bomb with its growing and insulated Muslim population. We may have already seen the first signs of explosion with the murder of Theo Van Gogh, but his death is not an isolated incident. Mark Steyn notes that anti-Semitic violence is growing, while the news media of Europe remains mostly silent about it:

In five years’ time, how many Jews will be living in France? Two years ago, a 23-year-old Paris disc jockey called Sebastien Selam was heading off to work from his parents’ apartment when he was jumped in the parking garage by his Muslim neighbor Adel. Selam’s throat was slit twice, to the point of near-decapitation; his face was ripped off with a fork; and his eyes were gouged out. Adel climbed the stairs of the apartment house dripping blood and yelling, “I have killed my Jew. I will go to heaven.”
Is that an gripping story? You’d think so. Particularly when, in the same city, on the same night, a Jewish woman was brutally murdered in the presence of her daughter by another Muslim. You’ve got the making of a mini-trend there, and the media love trends.
Yet no major French newspaper carried the story.
This month, there was another murder. Ilan Halimi, also 23, also Jewish, was found by a railway track outside Paris with burns and knife wounds all over his body. He died en route to the hospital, having been held prisoner, hooded and naked, and brutally tortured for almost three weeks by a gang that had demanded half a million dollars from his family. Can you take a wild guess at the particular identity of the gang? During the ransom phone calls, his uncle reported that they were made to listen to Ilan’s screams as he was being burned while his torturers read out verses from the Quran.

Read the entire essay; Steyn is, as always, priceless. He connects the dots between Danish cartoons and the silence of the Euromedia over these new, aggressive moves by Islamists within their midst. The Islamists got the press on the defensive, demanding “respect” for their radical notions, and now they have them silenced so that the world will only belatedly discover their terrorist kidnappings and murders. The Euro-Islamists intend on cleansing the continent of Jews, picking up where Hitler left off — and like the early days of the Nazis, the media either doesn’t care enough or is too intimidated to report it.
The West cannot negotiate with Radical Islam, either for “respect” or for peaceful co-existence. They do not want our respect — they want our submission. And the price for our survival, on their terms, is the Jews.

Well, Let’s Not Have That

The Palestinians might hate Jews, but they have a firm grasp on the concept of chutzpah. The Washington Post notes that the Palestinian Authority has now decided that American aid is an entitlement despite the rise of Islamist terrorists to power in the territories, and they warn of a “backlash” if that money doesn’t show up on time and in full:

A senior U.S. diplomat told Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas on Saturday that the Bush administration would provide humanitarian assistance to the Palestinians even after the radical Islamic group Hamas forms a cabinet in the coming weeks. …
But Palestinian officials who met with Welch, the most senior U.S. official to visit the West Bank since Hamas’s victory in parliamentary elections last month, said the pledge did not guarantee the continuation of U.S. development funds. The United States provided more than $400 million in development aid to the Palestinian territories last year, all of it channeled through nongovernmental organizations and U.N. agencies rather than the governing Palestinian Authority.
Saeb Erekat, the chief Palestinian negotiator and a legislator from Abbas’s defeated Fatah movement, said Welch did not define what he meant by humanitarian assistance nor specify what funding would be maintained.
“They can continue doing this in exactly the same way,” Erekat said. “But we did not get a commitment from them to do so. We urged them to continue sending money through these same channels for projects like schools, water infrastructure and other projects. Otherwise there will be a huge backlash.”

Oh, a backlash? Perhaps they will elect terrorists to government — er, wait, they’ve already done that. Maybe they’ll start bombing Israeli citizens — never mind, they’re still doing that. They might start cheering when terrorists attack us — oh, never mind, they’ve covered that as well.
If the Palestinians want our money, then perhaps they should have considered that when the elected Hamas to power. In fact, they should consider that when they strap bombs to their teenagers and young adults and send them into Israeli pizzerias and buses. It’s disappointing that the US will not treat those elections as an informed choice by the Palestinians to support terrorism, even though a separate poll from last week clearly shows that the majority of Palestinians support terrorist attacks against Israel:

And bear in mind, this same poll shows that 79.8% of all Palestinians are optimistic about their future. Their support of terrorism isn’t a desperate measure of a people with no other choices — they want war and the murder of civilians.
In a Newsweek interview published today, the new Hamas prime minister, Ismail Haniyeh, tries to say that the Palestinians are not “lovers of blood”, but then skirts any question of negotiated peace with Israel:

Q. Do you accept the Oslo agreement, which was signed by Yasir Arafat?
A. Israel has stopped completely committing itself to Oslo.
Q. I am not asking about Israel. Are you, as the new Palestinian prime minister, committed to Oslo?
A. How do you want me not to pay attention or care about what Israel says? Israel is the other side of the conflict.
Q. So you will not abide by past agreements made by the Palestinians and Israel?
A. I have not said that. I have said that Israel…
Q. But you are not the prime minister of Israel. Will you abide by past agreements made by the Palestinian governments?
A. We will review all agreements and abide by those that are in the interest of the Palestinian people.
Q. Do you recognize Israel’s right to exist?
A. The answer is, let Israel say they will recognize a Palestinian state along the 1967 borders, release the prisoners and recognize the rights of the refugees to return to Israel. Hamas will have a position if this occurs.
Q. So, would Hamas recognize Israel if it were to withdraw to the ’67 borders?
A. If Israel withdraws to the ’67 borders, then we will establish a peace in stages.
Q. Does a peace in stages mean the ultimate obliteration of the Jewish [state]?
A. We do not have any feelings of animosity toward Jews. We do not wish to throw them into the sea. All we seek is to be given our land back, not to harm anybody.

So they will not commit to a two-state solution, will not commit to a cease-fire, will not commit to negotiations — but if they don’t get American money, we’ll see a “backlash”.
I’d say they have nothing left with which to bargain. Cut them off, and let them see the American backlash instead.

Perhaps We Could Harness Teddy’s Hot Air Instead

It looks like the windmills proposed for Nantucket Sound have run into a hurricane of regulation, thanks to the efforts of Ted Kennedy and his pals in the (exclusive) neighborhood. Apparently, clean energy only takes priority when it only inconveniences the hoi polloi:

A proposal before Congress that would limit the construction of wind turbines near shipping lanes could effectively doom plans to build the country’s first offshore wind farm near Massachusetts, the project’s supporters say.
Officials at Cape Wind Associates LLC say that the rule, being considered as an amendment to a bill in a House-Senate conference committee, would rule out so many crucial sections of Nantucket Sound that there would not be enough space for their 130-windmill complex.
“This is a dire moment for us,” said Mark Rodgers, a Cape Wind spokesman. He said the rule “would be totally fatal” for the project.

Congressional opponents claim that the massive turbines would present navigational hazards due to interference with radar systems, based on British research. However, the Army Corps of Engineers has already researched the issue and three years ago determined that no safety issue exists. In effect, Congress is implying that the Army either did incompetent research or is lying. If that is the case, why is Congress not demanding an explanation from the ACE?
They know that the issue has never been navigational safety; the issue has always been that the rich and famous who live and/or play on Martha’s Vineyard and the surrounding areas don’t want the turbines to block their spectacular views of the coast and ocean. They don’t want to have grubby windmills in sight that replace all of the electricity that they eat up on their vacations. They don’t want to sacrifice anything for clean energy, but they want the rest of the country to pay through the nose for it.
At some point, American politicians need to grow up. In order to maintain our economy and our innovation, we need a hell of a lot of energy. Either it will come from fossil fuels, or it will come from places like Cape Wind and the San Onofre nuclear faciliity. If it’s oil, then either we will continue to make sheikhs rich or we have to start drilling it ourselves from our own reserves and start refining it more effectively. Those are the only two choices for oil. If we want clean and renewable sources of energy on the massive scale required, then we need to build Cape Wind projects where the wind is, or start building nuclear plants right now.
So what will it be, Teddy? Make the sheikhs richer, drill our own oil, start building nukes, or get used to seeing windmills on the horizon? Make a choice, for crying out loud, but stop crying out loud until you do.

CFACT Interview On CQ Podcast

The NARN interview with Bll Gilles from CFACT is now on my podcast RSS feed and can be also downloaded from this link. Duane Patterson and Mitch Berg ask some great questions about the funding controversy at the University of Minnesota. You can also come up to speed on this issue at my two posts on the subject:
Does The University Of Minnesota Discriminate Against Conservatives?
UMTC Cuts Conservative Group Funding Even Further

Cancel The Hysteria

I guess we can cancel the civil war — Moqtada al-Sadr has reached a truce with Sunni leaders to stop the attacks on the mosques:

THE movement of Shiite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr, alleged to have played a role in the anti-Sunni violence over the last few days, publicly made peace with political and religious Sunni leaders overnight.
Four sheikhs from the Sadr movement made a “pact of honour” with the conservative Sunni Muslim Scholars Association, and called for an end to attacks on places of worship, the shedding of blood and condemning any act leading to sedition.
The agreement was made in the particularly symbolic setting of Baghdad’s premier Sunni mosque Abu Hanifa where the Shiite sheikhs prayed under the guidance of Sunni imam Abdel Salam al-Qubaissi.
The meeting was broadcast on television and the religious leaders all “condemned the blowing up of the Shiite mausoleum of Samarra as much as the acts of sabotage against the houses of God as well as the assassinations and terrorisation of Muslims”.

Hmmmm … seems like treating the Iraqis like adults capable of acting in their own self-interest may be working.

Northern Alliance Radio Network Today

The Northern Alliance Radio Network will broadcast today, as always, from 11 am – 3 pm Central time, and we have a great show lined up today. John, Chad, and Brian will have Jeremy Zilber, author of the children’s book “Why Mommy Is A Democrat”, on the line today at noon. You can check out a few sample pages of the book while listening to Zilber explain this rather sad attempt at political indoctrination.
At 1 pm, Mitch and I welcome Duane Patterson, the producer of Hugh Hewitt’s show, as our co-host while King goes on assignment. We will have Bill Gilles of CFACT on at 2 pm to discuss the defunding attempt of the University of Minnesota against conservative student groups, as I’ve covered this week.
At 2:30, we welcome Karen Efrem from Edwatch — that’s not an oversight group dedicated to CQ surveillance, but a group which keeps a close eye on education issues in Minnesota. Today we’ll discuss the effort to mandate psychological profiling of all Minnesota three-year-olds.
You can catch the show on AM 1280 The Patriot in the Twin Cities, or on the station’s Internet stream around the world. Join the conversation by calling us at 651-289-4488 or sending an e-mail to the NARN. We hope to hear from you!
UPDATE: Duane’s last name is Patterson, not Peterson — but at least I got closer than Mitch’s attempt … Hanson.

The Difference Between Bush And Conservatives

Today’s opinion piece by William F. Buckley, the father of American conservatism, highlights the difference between traditional conservatives and the Bush Administration’s efforts in foreign policy, along with a host of other arenas. While the Left has railed about conservatives — especially the dreaded neocons, a term that has an accusatory hint of “Zionist” to it — they have missed the true historical parallels between the post-9/11 policy and that of an American president of almost a century earlier.
Buckley puts pen to paper to declare the American intervention in Iraq a failure, a position which undoubtedly many leftists will hail as a new schism on the right:

One can’t doubt that the American objective in Iraq has failed. The same edition of the paper quotes a fellow of the American Enterprise Institute. Mr. Reuel Marc Gerecht backed the American intervention. He now speaks of the bombing of the especially sacred Shiite mosque in Samara and what that has precipitated in the way of revenge. He concludes that “The bombing has completely demolished” what was being attempted — to bring Sunnis into the defense and interior ministries.
Our mission has failed because Iraqi animosities have proved uncontainable by an invading army of 130,000 Americans. The great human reserves that call for civil life haven’t proved strong enough. No doubt they are latently there, but they have not been able to contend against the ice men who move about in the shadows with bombs and grenades and pistols.
The Iraqis we hear about are first indignant, and then infuriated, that Americans aren’t on the scene to protect them and to punish the aggressors.

One hesitates to get into an argument with the icon of conservative philosophy, but in this case, Buckley isn’t reversing course; he’s expounding an argument that conservatives (paleoconservatives, if you will) have always made in terms of foreign engagement. His argument appears sound on a superficial level because it only addresses the actions of the moment. The insurgents won an important but momentary victory when they successfully collapsed the shrine of Askariya, but what Buckley wants to do is to grant them the war by default.
Buckley also erects somewhat of a strawman in this passage, one that exposes the real intent of his essay:

It would not be surprising to learn from an anonymously cited American soldier that he can understand why Saddam Hussein was needed to keep the Sunnis and the Shiites from each others’ throats.

And here we have the essential Buckley, revealed. The traditional conservative position reached its most potent expression in the policies of Brent Scowcroft, the last bastion of realpolitik in government. Conservatives for decades fought against foreign entanglements and the liberation of people from tyranny for its own sake, only espousing military intervention when clear and short-term American economic or strategic interests came under threat. Buckley and Scowcroft would never have suggested that the US depose Saddam Hussein, mostly because they would not have thought that the oppression and genocide of Iraqis was worth the expense and headache of liberation. That thought kept the US from pushing through to Baghdad in 1991, when Scowcroft had Bush 41’s ear, and when Saddam could have easily been toppled.
Bush 43 is not a conservative in foreign policy, at least since 9/11 taught him that genocidal tyrannies in Southwest Asia could produce immediate and existential threats to the American homeland. He has been much closer to Woodrow Wilson than his father or even Ronald Reagan in his reaction to the world.
The parallels with Wilson are rather striking. Originally elected due to a schism in the powerful GOP between an interventionist Teddy Roosevelt and an isolationist Republican establishment, Wilson believed in foreign interventions only to expand the role of liberty and democracy. He refused to ally with the West in World War I because he (correctly) believed that the entire conflict was little more than a land dispute between a number of empires and would-be imperialists. He got re-elected in 1916 primarily because he kept America out of the war, despite the sinking of the Lusitania over a year earlier. It wasn’t until the Zimmerman note — a clumsy and stupid German diplomatic effort to get Mexico to declare war on the US to keep America out of Europe — that Wilson finally agreed to join the war effort.
Even then, Wilson made plain that America did not side with imperialists. He declared the US as “associates” of Britain and France, not allies, and publicly declared that US interests in the war focused on liberation and not acquisition. Much to the surprise of the British, Wilson meant what he said, and it caused severe problems at the end of the war — problems that find their echoes in the current conflict.
When the Western forces broke the German/Austrian effort, Wilson wanted to dictate the terms of the peace along the same philosophy as when he entered the war. The British and French had other ideas. Most famously, they destoyed the German economy by imposing impossible reparations demands and forced the abdication of the monarchy in favor of a republic. They then undermined the republic’s credibility by forcing it to agree to the Versailles codicils that led to the economic collapse.
Less famously, the British and the French rushed to carve up the Middle East as fast as possible, and attempted to force the US to assist them. The Sykes-Picot Agreement led to even less coherent arrangements, creating Iraq out of whole cloth and establishing “mandates” which became a new form of colonialism. Wilson opposed these efforts to cash in from the war, wanting to establish democracy and self-determination as the guiding principle for the areas that formerly comprised the Ottoman Empire. He tried to use the new League of Nations to enforce this, but the isolationist and conservative Senate (in control of the GOP) refused to ratify the American entry into the League — which allowed the British and the French to create the Mandates as a dictate of the League itself.
Why did the British and the French install these petty despots as hereditary rulers? It was the lowest-cost solution in immediate terms. It didn’t require any lasting commitment to establish a new rule of law. They relied on strongman rule instead of self-determination because self-determination would have taken too long.
Wilson, like George Bush, saw democracy and self-determination as the only strategy that would deradicalize and modernize the Middle East. Instead, the isolationists and conservatives left the area to the imperialists, who quickly set up petty monarchs that in many cases had no historical connection to the regions they ruled. Those decisions have resulted in the morass that we have seen in the Middle East ever since.
Now, almost a century later, Bush has launched a second Wilsonian effort to use democracy as a transformative agent to reduce or eliminate the radicalism borne of oppression and the terrorism borne of radicalism in the region. This is true liberalism, not the leftist/socialist tripe that hijacked its name — the effort to spread liberty and individual freedom as a forward strategy against the evils that oppression breeds. Buckley may be proven correct in the long run, but given that the traditional conservative impulse in this region led us to the century of war and conflict that culminated in the 9/11 attacks, we can afford to spend more time and effort to see if Wilsonian impulses fare any better.
UPDATE: Mark Coffey notes that Glenn Greenwald attacks me for attacking Bill Buckley. Huh? I called him a conservative. That’s not an attack, it’s an accurate description. I’m not “preparing a noose” for Buckley, nor am I patting him on the noggin and pushing him over a cliff. I’m just disagreeing with him, that’s all. Nor does Greenwald actually bother to deal with my argument, but instead gets himself in a tizzy because I dared to post my opinion on Buckley’s assessment.
Apparently Greenwald cannot conceive of free thinking among conservatives. First he assumes we all act in lockstep, then he screeches when we disagree. That’s what passes for analysis on the Left, I suppose — namecalling and hyperbole.

Oops … Wrong Civil War. Pardon Me.

Sectarian violence broke out today, with crowds swept by religious and historical fervor clashing openly with each other and the overwhelmed security forces that attempted to separate them. Firebombs and hand-to-hand fighting occurred in front of one of the historical shrines of the city as an unprecedented level of dissension threatened to open up old wounds and begin an unravelling of civil accord.
Iraq, you say? Not quite:

Hundreds of republican demonstrators have clashed with riot police in central Dublin as they attempted to block a parade by the Loyalist Orange Order.
About a dozen fireworks, metal barricades, bottles and stones were thrown at Gardai as loyalist marchers gathered 100 yards away.
Dozens of extra Gardai in full riot gear were called in in a bid to quell the disturbances, and two Gardai sustained head injuries as fireworks exploded.
A line of about 40 riot police blocked the entrance to O’Connell Street as hundreds of youths pelted them with rocks, bottles and sticks. The officers slowly moved in in a bid to disperse the rioting crowds. …
At the front of the GPO, the headquarters of the 1916 Easter Rising, rioters charged police and fought hand-to-hand battles with around 100 officers. Mounted police were also drafted in to prevent more protesters joining.

When our family visited Ireland in June-July 2001, we stayed a few days in Dublin, around the corner from the GPO and just off O’Connell Street. Of all the sites in the city, this post office — which still functions as a post office to this day — is probably the most revered shrine of Irish independence in Dublin. The bullet holes in the facade remain to this day as they did when police fired on Padraic Pearse and his doomed band of holdouts. The 1916 rebellion failed, as so many had before, but the brutal British reaction to this wartime insurrection fired up the Irish and eventually led to their independence a few years later.
History in Dublin is palpable; it’s in the streets, in the buildings, and in the water.
The curious part of this story isn’t so much the clash as the fact that it occurred in Dublin. The Republic has mostly avoided these sectarian demonstrations, leaving the politics of the Boyne to the factions in Northern Ireland, where that battle still has political relevancy after more than 300 years. Dublin itself, while steeped in history, is the most cosmopolitan of Irish cities, with a bustling trade and a diversity of population that would impress any visitor. Dubliners know their history but have usually placed it in the proper perspective, which leads me to believe that the provocation came from outsiders intent on scoring a few points in the media.
That also points me back to Iraq. Despite the best attempt so far by outside provocateurs, the bombing of the Askariya shrine in Samarra has not resulted in a civil war. Iraqi bloggers such as Iraq the Model and Healing Iraq report that violence continues, but that the Sunnis have not risen up at all; they have not taken advantage of this supposed opening by launching their anticipated attack on the central government. Imams of both sects have called for a stop to the violence and unity in the face of foreign attacks by Zarqawi terrorists.
Civil war remains a distinct possibility, but it has not yet happened. It hasn’t happened in Ireland or in Northern Ireland, despite the kind of hatreds that have existed for centuries in those places as well. Not all violence is war, and not all violence means defeat. Insurgents and provocateurs sometimes succeed in their aims, but it is still too early to declare them the victors in Iraq as it is in Dublin.