Who did Dubai piss off?
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
So instead of blasting immediately and questioning W and everyone else's sanity about the Port craziness, I chilled. I don't know why, because it had all the elements necessary for a good rip, maybe I was just lazy. Having had a little time to think and read, I'm glad I held my fire. Dubai has vital qualities for an ally, like the hotel all the gods stay in, the Burj al Arab, which means Absolutely no chance of bombing.
I believe the President is correct in not interfering with a private transaction between a British firm and one from Dubai selling freight handling operations at several US ports. He would have every right to, if somehow this transaction endangered our security, but the proper authorities have examined the circumstances and determined it does not. This deal does not involve port security only freight handling and support. Dubai, like every other country in the Middle East, has had terrorists transiting and moving money through it, but they have also been a moderate and helpful ally in an area we have few.
The question before us is who exactly do we trust, obviously the Brits, as they had this gig, but who else? I can think of a few who immediately get crossed off, like Iran, Syria, North Korea, maybe Hugo Chavez' Venezuela. But where is the line, and what are the criteria?
Is it any country with more than 50% Muslims? What about the narco-states in South America? We don't have a coherent policy, but we have been making a whole lot of noise about not punishing the many for the actions of a few. We have said we believe most Muslims are decent folks and now we have a chance to prove it or not. If we have found no sufficient reason to intervene in this, then why does it matter that the country in question is Dubai? Do we now fear all Middle Eastern countries too much to do business with them?
And on a completely pragmatic tip, wouldn't it be nice to have a country there that owed us one for playing straight with them? We have already been told that Dubai has been very helpful in the financial dismantling of Al-Qaeda, and now we will repay them by saying "Yeah, but you're still Arabs and Muslims, thanks for your support." W has taken plenty of heat for diplomatic failings, slapping Dubai in the face for the crime of Operating While Arab would be a major mistake. We need Arab and Muslim partners who have a financial stake in ensuring the bad guys can't use our ports, and we can either gain some good will or help bin Laden's recruiters.
- Uncle J