Tuesday, February 21, 2006

More opposition to UAE takeover of US port operations :: UAE community blog

Fahad Al Mahmood, posting at UAE community blog, provides a round up including Senator Lindsay Graham's by now widely-quoted statement that the Bush administration is "tone deaf" on the issue of the ports acquisition.

Lindsay is speaking of domestic-politics tone deafness.

Sometimes you have to turn a deaf ear. It can be a useful leadership practice.

Senators Lindsay (R-SC) and Clinton (D-NY), among others, are displaying a truly dangerous tone-deafness.

It will speak volumes to the rest of the world if the US reverses on the ports acquisition.

First, there is the rule of law including the spirit of the rule of law. The acquisition was approved by processes and procedures in place. Those who oppose the outcome want to change the rules and treat different people differently.

Second, this is a vital teaching moment. What are Americans who oppose the acquisition teaching the world? Do you really want to see principles of democracy and free markets spread in the Middle East or not? To quote myself:
This isn't about homeland security; it's about being open to foreign investment. It's about unfettered markets. It's about the American institutions that make the U.S. the economic dynamo of the world. Americans are not especially smart or virtuous compared to other peoples. It's their institutions that make Americans exceptional. Some Arabs come along and want to invest in the U.S., and you want to change the rules so they can't? Nonsense. You're ditching the very principles you're trying to transfer.
For a similar point of view, see this post by Starling Hunter over at Wizbang.

Maybe Starling and I have similar views because we're Americans teaching business to undergraduates in the Middle East. We're part of the enterprise that Lindsay Graham and Hillary Clinton are committed to undercutting.

UPDATE: US Under-Secretary for Public Diplomacy Karen Hughes spoke with the press in Dubai yesterday:
"Perhaps, it is important to understand that in my country, there's a very open environment for debate and members of the congress are always questioning, debating, discussing. Secretary Rice said the administration would be happy to share with them additional information about the inter-agency security review," Hughes added.

The Under-Secretary also mentioned that the US had long-standing alliance with the UAE and that both governments had been partners in the war against terror. "So I hope the people and the government of the UAE will understand that in a democracy, there is indeed a process of debate," Hughes said.
Yes. And the fact that "discussing, debating, discussing" is part of the process of democracy is an important point to underscore in a region where the virtues of such an open process are seldom enjoyed.

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7 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

It's not about liberalism vs. protectionism, or "free markets" or "institutional" excellence...

It's just an old and profitable story of trading national security to the enemies for profit... And those whose security is traded out are not the same people sharing the profit ;)

So you can take your "free markets" demagogery somewhere where our country national intersts are auctioned off every day for a profit - to White House. "Free markets" during wars is not the most ethical - or patriotic concept. In fact it is in a very definition of a "treason" in a Constitution. And if you're wondering "what war" - ask tens of thousands of maimed and dead americans...

I, for once, just want my represenatives to do what I want them to do - and put the national security above their cronies profits.....

9:00 AM  
Blogger John B. Chilton said...

anon, I removed your dual posting above. Blogger was experiencing problems at the time of your comment.

I understand your concern. I don't understand what this has to do with cronies. Where is that coming from?

I care about dead and maimed Americans, too. Let's not forget the strategy for victory in the war on terror - vigilance and values. Build as high a wall as you want. It won't protect you if the world stays the same.

9:15 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

If UAE had spoken out against the stupid riots over cartoons then maybe Americans wouldn't be so against them. All they do is insult us. Some ally UAE turned out to be. Take your oil and your $ and shove it.

10:46 AM  
Blogger John B. Chilton said...

The UAE has spoken out about the riots. The government said it. The imams said it. You are misinformed. And that's not your fault - the UAE is not on the radar screen of most Americans.

How loudly do you want them to say it? Easy to say when you're not a tiny country within easy reach from the big guys.

10:53 AM  
Blogger Papadose said...

DP World has gone through neccessary security checks from a responsible US Gov't agency and they came out fine. I think the argument ends there. In todays time of globalization, its ridiculous to argue against such a meger as treason even after all this has been done. There's a lot of Arab money - a lot - invested in the US. Grow up, you're in a new century.

3:09 PM  
Blogger John B. Chilton said...

...within easy reach of the _bad_ guys...

4:31 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

When you know nothing you no everything. I have little specific knowledge of the UAE, however when 200,000,000 american citizens share the same uneasy feelings about an issue, I believe there is something that needs to be addressed.
The question that is being explored here is, is the US still a government of the people, and by the people.

5:19 AM  

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