Much Ado About Dubai

Global markets sank sharply at the end of last week on fears that Dubai World, a subsidiary of the government of Dubai, was on the verge of defaulting on approximately $60 billion of the emirate's $80 billion in total debt held by creditors world-wide. The rush of news stories added to the wildfire of panicky speculation, with headlines ranging from "Dubai Default Risk May be Big US Bank Problem," to "Dubai Shows Limits of Government Rescues."

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Ports Post-Mortem

The Dubai deal is dead, and few are sorry to see it end this way. In fact, there hasn’t been this much bipartisanship since the Era of Good Feelings nearly two hundred years ago. The Republicans in the Senate and the House, led by the likes of Rep. Peter King (R- New York), have asserted their independence from an increasingly unpopular president, and the Democrats have managed simultaneously to reconnect with their populist base and seem more stringent on national security. Polls show that upwards of 70% of the American public either strongly opposed or somewhat opposed the takeover, and with the capitulation of the company, there has been no dearth of back-patting, from Capitol Hill to the blogsphere.

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Beyond the Riots

As hard as it is to divert attention from the Cheney train-wreck this week, compared to his misuse of buckshot, the worldwide riots over the now-infmamous Danish cartoons is surely the more important story. Forget for a moment that much like the uproar over “The Satanic Verses” more than fifteen years ago, many of those protesting did not actually see the cartoons. Their publication was astutely used by extremists and by the governments of Syria and Iran to fan anti-Western flames and distract attention from their own manifold failings.

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