President Bush spoke last night to the National Newspaper Association, noting at the end the ways in which the Congressional reaction to the ports deal could complicate our relationships with strategic allies. Heres what he said:
My administration was satisfied that port security would not have been undermined by the agreement. Nevertheless, Congress was still very much opposed to it. My administration will continue to work with the Congress to provide a greater understanding of how these transactions are approved, in other words the process, and how we can improve that process in the future.
Im concerned about a broader message this issue could send to our friends and allies around the world, particularly in the Middle East. In order to win the war on terror, we have got to strengthen our relationships and friendships with moderate Arab countries in the Middle East. UAE is a committed ally in the war on terror. They are a key partner for our military in a critical region.
And outside of our own country, Dubai services more of our military -- military ships -- than any country in the world. Theyre sharing intelligence so we can hunt down the terrorists. Theyve helped us shutdown a worldwide nuclear proliferation network run by A.Q. Khan. UAE is a valued and strategic partner. Im committed to strengthening our relationship with the UAE and explaining why its important to Congress and the American people.
You can read stories about the speech and related issues
here, here, here, and here. What I find most striking is the demand on the part of some Congressional backbenchers that they still be permitted a vote so that they can go on the record with their disapproval of the deal. Is it really necessary to poke an ally in the eye after youve already kicked him in the groin? While a few members of Congress have displayed some significant leadership on this matter, all too many have simply exploited it for short-term political gain.
Now go re-read Jonah Goldbergs piece.