In Congress’s rejection of the deal that would have turned ownership of many of the nation’s ports over to a company owned by the government of Dubai, the Bush administration reaped what it had sown.
Having stoked people’s fears since 9/11, the president and his advisers were nonetheless unprepared for the sudden, searing blowback from across the country (and especially from members of their own party) at the prospect of placing the ports in the hands of a Persian Gulf state.
Predictably, however, the administration ignored its critics and failed to learn its lesson. At the same time that the ports deal was falling apart, the president was in India announcing yet another misguided agreement. In New Delhi, Bush told his delighted hosts that he was not going to hold India accountable for clandestinely developing nuclear weapons and for refusing to sign the nuclear nonproliferation treaty (NPT). Instead, he endorsed India’s plan to increase its civilian and military nuclear-production capacities-the latter without international oversight or the imposition of sanctions. (U.S. cooperation will enable India to produce up to fifty additional nuclear weapons a year.) Bush’s offer to India was a stunning reversal of decades of U.S. nuclear-containment policy. In return, the president hopes to encourage trade with India while curtailing its thirst for oil.