I suspect America will pay a steep price for Congress's rejection of this deal. It sent a message that for all the U.S. rhetoric about free trade and partnerships with allies, America is basically hostile to Arab investment....If anything, Iraq has deepened the country's anxiety, introspection and foreboding....This is one of the few places in the Arab world where things have been going in the right direction -- away from terrorism and Islamic fundamentalism and toward an open, modern economy. That's why congressional opposition came as such a surprise here. People in the UAE think they're America's friends.The irony never seems to stop with these guys in office. To a large extent, BushCo have only themselves to blame for this recent push-back defeat.
Karl Rove's insistence on regularly -- and in the most politically calculating way -- alerting the public to the continued threat of terrorism has worked to not only keep the WAR ON TERROR front and center (as BushCo desires) but has also managed to keep public opinion hostile towards anything Arab, Islamic, or anything else that even remotely hints of "terrorism." In fact, a recent poll shows that nearly half of all Americans have a negative view towards Islam.
Regarding UAE and the ports, both political parties were simply doing what was politically expedient: jumping on board with polls that showed overwhelming fervor against this deal AND allowing them to look tough via standing up 1) for America!! (sigh), and 2) against a lame duck president with piss-poor popularity. It was a no-brainer, seemingly gift-wrapped by Rove.
If post-9/11 they had spent less time fanning the flames of hate, fear, and ignorance concerning anything terrorist-like, and instead adopted a more sober and reasonable approach to the problem(s), then they likely wouldn't have had a fanatical public to contend with that would ultimately drive this deal into the ground. Once you set the hysteric, hate-mongering train in motion, it's very difficult to manage. BushCo made their (soiled) bed....