Saturday, February 25, 2006

Dubai Derails Dubya

The Galloping Beaver has a good synopsis detailing how the Dubai Ports controversy is not really a threat to American national security. What is interesting, is how the facts have taken a back seat to paranoid hysteria and placed Bush on the defensive. It is especially noteworthy for the reasons outlined by The Nation:
Bush was the principal author, along with his straight-shooting Vice President, and now he is hoisted by his own fear-mongering propaganda. The basic hysteria was invented from risks of terrorism, enlarged ridiculously by the President's open-ended claim that we are endangered everywhere and anywhere (he decides where). Anyone who resists that proposition is a coward or, worse, a subversive. We are enticed to believe we are fighting a new cold war. But are we? People are entitled to ask. Bush picked at their emotional wounds after 9/11 and encouraged them to imagine endless versions of even-larger danger. What if someone shipped a nuke into New York Harbor? Or poured anthrax in the drinking water? OK, a lot of Americans got scared, even people who ought to know better.

So why is the fearmonger-in-chief being so casual about this Dubai business?

Because at some level of consciousness even George Bush knows the inflated fears are bogus. So do a lot of the politicians merrily throwing spears at him. He taught them how to play this game, invented the tactics and reorganized political competition, as a demagogic dance of hysterical absurdities, endless opportunities to waste public money. Very few dare to challenge the mindset. Thousands have died for it.

Bush, for the first time, is now the victim of his own creation. The Democrats, and Republicans with re-election to consider, have seized on an opportunity to wave the flag in the face of "terrorist" intrusions onto American soil. The facts are meaningless, all that matters is the appearance of protecting the nation, no matter how absurd the claim. Karl Rove must appreciate the irony.

The Dubai Ports episode, wounding Bush aside, is hardly a positive development for the state of American politics. The Democrats have calculated that there best chance to topple the Republicans, is too out flank them on national security. There is already a co-ordinated effort to entice former military personnel to run for the Democrats, under the moniker of "Fighting Dems". Translation, Republicans aren't the only ones who take national security seriously. On the surface, it would appear to be an astute political move, however the fact that Democrats find it necessary to "militarize" their ranks speaks to a society whose paranoia has radicalized its vision. Traditional Democratic issues are now mostly afterthought, as the two parties jockey to see who is best fit to move forward on the war footing. The left is now a vacant void in American politics, to the point of taboo.

The Bush administration has masterfully changed the rules. The fact that critics have learned the playbook and now use it effectively only entrenches the initial faulty premise. Paranoia and hysteria have won the day across the spectrum.


Gothamimage said...

Not knowing enough about this port deal, it's tough to comment, but it does seem that many factors are at work propelling this as a media controversy. The media is well aware, at some level of consciousness, as the Greider says of Bush, that the particular message of this particular deal goes against the adament worldview broadly conveyed by the administration. Brooks knows that he can be a bit high minded, if that's the right phrase, but he too knows, at a certain level that he is party, in general, to what he is criticising in particular. It's debatable whether or not the opposition to the deal is based on a general prejudice. That may play a part, but mostly on Bush's base. For a long time the Admin has been speaking againt a general menace, while continuing to do business with many powerful families in an area of the world that many in the Admin.'s own camp would object to if they knew about it. It's likely that the outcry would have been immense if a Dem did the same deal, even if that Dem had no business ties with the ruling family. The Admin's support is not based on general principles, though D. Brooks may like to think it is. It is based on a personal loyalty to Bush. That's why this is polically harmful to the Admin. It's a chink in the armour of trust that the Pres. has with his supporters. That's just the politics. About the substance, who knows. Meanwhile, the media is driving this issue, as they did with the hunting accident, because they know, at some level, they were lax on many other substantive issues.

Steve V said...


Thanks for the comments. Your point about the media driving the story illustrates how hysteria finds a vehicle in a press that prefers the sensational, at the expense of fact.

lecentre said...

I doubt the Democrats, if they intend to drop out of Iraq, are in any position to win on national security, unless they define national security as pandering to al-Qaeda's demands...

The first edition of the Carnival of Centrism is up. We've got yourself, the Lebanese bloggers, and a number of other interesting things on foreign policy, canadian politics, and economics which might interest you. Centrist carnival.

Steve V said...


I don't think Democrats expect to win on national security, merely close the gap. Interesting to note that a majority of Americans now favor a timetable for withdrawal. It is also quite telling that conservative talking heads like Bill O'Reilly are now openly discussing getting out.

Thanks for the link :)

crusader bunnypants said...

I think the Democrats AND Republicans in the War Party should be tarred and feathered!

crusader bunnypants said...

...along with the whores in the US Corporate State Controlled Media.

Tarred and feathered!

Anonymous said...

Why all the gnashing over this Dubai thing? Whether fear-driven, racist, or politically motivated claptrap, the deal's defeat will be but a blip on the radar. I mean, after Abu Ghraib, Gitmo, and all our other Iraq disasters too numerous to list here - our turning down an "Arab-owned company" is nuttin'

Anonymous said...

Good read.