In the words of one of my colleagues, Ken Wise, the inability of Congress to put aside “short-sighted mid-term election grandstanding” in the case of the Dubai ports deal is tragic. Congress’s avoidance of such antics in pursuit of the greater good (to wit, the national security) which was so much in evidence with the reauthorization of the Patriotic Act (at least at the end), unfortunately was not in evidence in this case.
It appears that democracy has failed us this time around. Students of Plato would argue that when we let the average person vote, we are left with the average person’s ideas ruling the country. The founding fathers had hoped that those elected by the average person would not themselves fall sway to the passions of those same average persons. It seems that they can and they did.
I fear I must agree with Thomas Friedman of The New York Times on this one. He writes, “So whatever happens with the Iraq experiment – but especially if it fails – we need Dubai to succeed. Dubai is where we should want the Arab world to go. Unfortunately, we just told Dubai to go to hell” (The New York Times, 15 March 2006).