Americans should support Dubai!  

redmustang91 57M  
8705 posts
3/16/2006 9:21 am

Last Read:
3/20/2006 7:31 am

Americans should support Dubai!


As this NY Times editorial states the Middle East is feudal and tribal, with few modern moderate states. Dubai is one of them and America's best hope and ally among the Arab countries. So why reject them? The American public and US Congress need to learn more about the world and distinguish between different countries.

Dubai and Dunces
By THOMAS L. FRIEDMAN
When it came to the Dubai ports issue, the facts never really had a chance – not in this political season. Still, it's hard to imagine a more ignorant, bogus, xenophobic, reckless debate than the one indulged in by both Republicans and Democrats around this question of whether an Arab-owned company might oversee loading and unloading services in some U.S. ports. If you had any doubts before, have none now: 9/11 has made us stupid.

We don't need any more pre-9/11 commissions. We need a post-9/11 commission, one that looks at all the big and little things we are doing – from sanctioning torture to warrantless wiretaps to turning our embassies abroad into fortresses – that over time could eat away at the core DNA of America.

What is so crazy about the Dubai ports issue is that Dubai is precisely the sort of decent, modernizing model we should be trying to nurture in the Arab-Muslim world. But we've never really had an honest discussion about either the real problems out there or the real solutions, have we?

The real problem was recently spelled out by an Arab-American psychiatrist, Dr. Wafa Sultan, in a stunning interview with Al Jazeera. Speaking about the Arab-Muslim world, Dr. Sultan said: "The clash we are witnessing ... is not a clash of religions, or a clash of civilizations. It is a clash between two opposites, between two eras. It is a clash between a mentality that belongs to the Middle Ages and another mentality that belongs to the 21st century. It is a clash between civilization and backwardness, between the civilized and the primitive, between barbarity and rationality. It is a clash between freedom and oppression, between democracy and dictatorship. It is a clash between human rights, on the one hand, and the violation of these rights, on the other hand. It is a clash between those who treat women like beasts, and those who treat them like human beings."

The Jazeera host then asked: "I understand from your words that what is happening today is a clash between the culture of the West, and the backwardness and ignorance of the Muslims?"

Dr. Sultan: "Yes, that is what I mean."

Dr. Sultan voiced truths that many Muslims know: their civilization is, in many places, in turmoil, falling further and further behind the world in science, education, industry and innovation, while falling deeper and deeper into the grip of crackpot clerics, tin-pot dictators, violent mobs and madmen like bin Laden and Saddam.

President Bush keeps talking about Iraq and the Arab world as if democracy alone is the cure and all we need to do is get rid of a few bad apples. The problem is much deeper – we're dealing with a civilization that is still highly tribalized and is struggling with modernity. Mr. Bush was right in thinking it is important to help Iraq become a model where Arab Muslims could freely discuss their real problems, the ones identified by Dr. Sultan, and chart new courses. His crime was thinking it would be easy.

I don't know how Iraq will end, but I sure know that we aren't going to repeat the Iraq invasion elsewhere anytime soon. Yet the need for reform in this region still cries out. Is there another way? Yes – nurturing internally generated Arab models for evolutionary reform, and one of the best is Dubai, the Arab Singapore.

Dubai is not a democracy, and it is not without warts. But it is a bridge of decency that leads away from the failing civilization described by Dr. Sultan to a much more optimistic, open and self-confident society. Dubaians are building a future based on butter not guns, private property not caprice, services more than oil, and globally competitive companies, not terror networks. Dubai is about nurturing Arab dignity through success not suicide. As a result, its people want to embrace the future, not blow it up.

What's ironic is that if Democrats who hate the Bush war in Iraq actually had a peaceful alternative policy for promoting transformation in the Arab-Muslim world, it would be called "the Dubai policy": supporting internally driven Arab engines of change.

That's why Arab progressives are stunned by our behavior. As an Arab businessman friend said to me of the Dubai saga: "This deal has left a real bad taste in many mouths. I mean this was Dubai, for God's sake! You could not have a better friend and more of a symbol of globalization and openness. If they are a security danger to the U.S., then who is not?"

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.

LilSquirt_4mfm 67M/67F
3394 posts
3/16/2006 10:51 am


Agree TOTALLY that the Dubai is the best arab friends we have ... and the place that "could" ..."show the way" for other Muslim countries ...... and that Demaocray is NOT the total answer anywhere in the Muslim world

That said,. a form of democracy (their form) ... would help, as the religious leaders, have not done very well by their parishioners, rather have kept old thinking going, and suited their own needs.

Re: Dubai deal .... I agree in principle, .. however, no country can feel good about having another anywhere near security issues .... and especially an arab country .... human nature prevails and we go with "teddy bears" ... that deal was DOA (in public opinion) ... I think what should have happened initially, (and likely did after the fact) was to give them similar or greater value on other, non security things ... anything but what can be construed as "security" oriented. Bet that is what resolved it last week!!!

Thus I dont think we did tell them to "go to hell" .... we gave them lots instead of this "ports deal".

You definitely have done your homework .... i just think it would never have "flown" anyhow, and they got "other" things instead.... and ...are likely quite happy about it now.

lil

ironic that those who spout "no profiling" the loudest got themslves into quite a contradiction .. lol


redmustang91 57M  
8576 posts
3/17/2006 8:28 am

Ironically those insisting on ports ownership be American failed to notice that these six ports were owned by a UK company for many years!
The security is ruled by the Coast Guard and security agencies at the ports in any event. Dubai with all its money could pay to upgrade security! Spinning off to american subsidiary should quell the uproar if nothing else. Now maybe people with be interested in upgrading security as Diane Feinstein US Senator from Cal. has been arguing for years!


LilSquirt_4mfm 67M/67F
3394 posts
3/17/2006 7:43 pm

i and i bet all were very aware some ports are run by other countries .. and that is not all that bright i think... but, not the point on dubai .... public will never feel right with arab company near anything close to security is all ....never will.... they made deal for other "goodies" and all is very very well with everyone now..... ally retained and happy.

Ports are deadly source of entry for bad things ... diane isnt only one who says this ..... the admin in US is considered too rough on handling terror .. actually, while rougher than most, they are wimps on it in my view, and ports is only one, though glaring, example.

A country which makes a deal over wiretapping, for example, doesnt know its at war ... will take more and bigger "hits" .. which will come ... then current rhetoric will be gone as self preservation, the strongest instinct (except only when one is sexually aroused, lol) .... it will dominate, but 9/11 alone didnt do it. I live near port of vancouver, know who runs it ... know how close it is not protected ... know what is cumming here, just matter of when .... sad, no matter who runs it and polices it, it cannot ever be enough ... bad things will get through ... bad things will happen ... so long as we have international trade.... so long as we dont take it all more seriously


MissAnnThrope 56F
11488 posts
3/18/2006 3:42 am

I actually wonder if Saudi Arabia wanted take over operations, if it would have been OK with Congress.

Their concerns were, three of the 9/11 hijackers were from the United Arab Emirates. But twelve were from Saudi Arabia. But there were other concerns.

Dubai Ports World is one of the companies involved in a very active boycott and shipping embargo against Israel. That is a major concern for this country. The UAE run bank has been used to funnel funds to terrorists. The country itself was a transfer point in a smuggling operation of nuclear components.

Dubai is neither a theocracy nor a democracy. It is a monarchy. The ruling families have a lot of power, the Emir of Dubai has always been known to be a reasonable man. He's turned the state into a major tourist destination and at the moment, roughly 80% of the people who live there aren't natives, but expatriates and those who went there to find better jobs than what exists in their own country.

At the moment, the way the Port of NY and NJ is run is hideous. There is next to no security. News crews have been able to drive around in what are supposed to be restricted areas without even being questioned. I'd be happy with anyone who can provide better security. However, this is a situation the Bush administration created for themselves. Bush has promoted xenophobia against anyone from the Middle East, or anyone who practices the religion of Islam. He and his pals have been cramming down the throats of the public how it's a religion of terror, a religion of war and the phrase, "Death to the infidels" means anyone who isn't Islamic. That's not true. The phrase refers to those who are supposed to be Islamic, but aren't very good at their religion. The Imam who put together that booklet of cartoons with the extras included should be put to death under that part of religious law. But of course, it isn't going to happen.

Yes, the people of the region can be clannish and boorish. Yes, the zealots are taking over various countries in a big way, misinterpretting Islamic law and using their own personal translations of the Quran as their guides. You know, sort of like how right-wing preachers are trying to take over here. However, the UAE are a secular government. However, as the country as a whole has had ties to terrorism, people wish to be safe than sorry. Yes, it does equate to oh, say if Canada went to war with the United States because some fringe group in Montana decided to commit terror attacks against those damned Liberals there.

Would there be a threat to security? Probably not. However, what of the company's active boycott of Israel? That would be my biggest concern in the deal.


MissAnnThrope 56F
11488 posts
3/19/2006 2:26 am

Something else occurred to me... Perhaps people aren't supporting the Dubai deal because it sounds and looks too much like Dubya?


redmustang91 57M  
8576 posts
3/20/2006 7:31 am

Republicans were opposed to the deal and they like W, supposedly. I am not that thrilled with Dubai, but it is better than many Middle East countries. Improving port security should be a priority and is not. Who owns the company is not the big issue according to the experts quoted in many newspaper stories. I think the port containers are a well understood weak point and needs a lot of resources to upgrade security significantly. Money we should spend! Consider the cost of fixing the levees in New Orleans compared to the cost of rebuilding. Screening for a dirty bomb will cost much less than repairing the contamination and disruption!


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