Nativists, Get Back In Your Cages!

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During my semi-annual visit to the gym (I do try to get there more often, really), I was watching the execrable Lou Dobbs show. Dobbs was so apoplectic over the Dubai ports deal that he looked like he was about to burst a vein. During his One Hour Hate of all things non-American, Dobbs conducted a lovefest (ah, interview) with an even more loathsome nativist, Rep. Duncan Hunter (R-Calif.) who is vowing to stop the infiltration of our ports by evil foreigners.

The Washington Post reports this delicious exchange between Hunter and the conservative Heritage Foundation's James Carafano at Congressional hearing yesterday.

At yesterday's House hearing, a pair of experts tried to redirect the lawmakers' fury. "This commercial transaction will not qualitatively affect the overall state of global and American maritime transportation security," testified Stephen Flynn of the Council on Foreign Relations. While condemning overall port security, he called the current battle "a political food fight."

The Heritage Foundation's James Carafano cautioned: "I don't find any compelling security concerns here."

Hunter was incredulous. "How can you possibly say that you didn't see in this particular case, in this particular deal, a security problem?" he demanded, calling the United Arab Emirates "accommodators" who "accommodate people that come to them with large amounts of cash."

Carafano pointed out that most shipping operations are foreign-owned anyway.

"Let me stop you at that," Hunter said, again calling the UAE greedy. "Are you sure you can say, from a security standpoint, that the ownership is irrelevant?"

Carafano could. "The system is really ownership-irrelevant," he replied.

Hunter interrupted again, but Carafano was unmoved. "You don't need to buy a $7 billion company to penetrate maritime security," he said. "The Mafia doesn't buy FedEx to smuggle."

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  1. “The Mafia doesn’t buy FedEx to smuggle.”

    And down goes Frazier!

  2. The Mafia doesn’t buy FedEx to smuggle

    ROFL *SNARK*!!

    I don’t know why Hunter is all twitterpated over ownership. Just having a port is a security nightmare. “My God! There’s tons of stuff coming into this country every day. FROM FOREIGN PLACES!” Why doesn’t he just propose closing all US ports? I’m sure Dobbs would lick his sphincter if he did.

  3. So can I assume the previously foaming and frenzied H&R gang has turned the corner on this?

  4. Why can’t more witnesses before Congress be this effective?

  5. Give them time Mr. Wise Ass, I’m sure someone will use the term Islamofacist soon.

  6. One of the knocks on Dubai seems to be its increasingly Hong Kong-like nature. Things happen there. Commerce. Legal and not legal. Naturally the bad guys do things there, for the same reasons the good guys do. Even the issue with them being reticent about giving up al Qaeda-related banking information isn’t that surprising–try getting information on a Caymans or Swiss account. Not that Dubai or the larger UAE doesn’t have its problems from our perspective, but let’s not forget that they are Muslim and have to live with much more powerful Muslim neighbors.

    I heard something today about us giving the UAE 80 F-16s, apparently with all (well, most) of the bells and whistles. Must not be too bad for us to do that. Though I’ve also heard that selling fighters costs us nothing strategically, because these countries usually lack the infrastructure to support an effective air force.

    There’s plenty of navel-gazing going on with this deal now, so if it gets cleared by everyone after it’s all done, I’m not going to spend a lot of time worrying about it. Of course, if any violence ends up happening after all in Tampa, I’m getting my pirate sword and am going to go Sinbad on the Middle East.

  7. It would be way, way too much to ask of a politician to admit that Homeland Security has been a farce from the get-go.
    In view of that, we go out of our way to piss off the UAE?
    Really,really smart.

  8. The gradual transformation of Lou Dobb’s CNN show from a fairly straight-forward business news program to raging nativist bulletin is in large part ratings-related.

    Dobbs basically owned business news on cable in the 1990s until he gave up his CNN gig and tried to run a website, space.com, during the internet gold rush days.

    When that sputtered out he returned to CNN but struggled to regain his old audience, most of which had switched to CNBC in the interim.

    Eventually Dobbs found a whole new audience by railing against immigration, job outsourcing, union decline and free trade. He carved out a special niche for himself by becoming Pat Buchanan, only with less baggage.

    And it works. As far as my paleoconservative friends are concerned, Dobbs can do no wrong.

  9. Kim Jong Il is ineligible for the position; therefore, I nominate Lou Dobbs for president. Perhaps Mr Kim would consent to give him a few pointers.

  10. In view of that, we go out of our way to piss off the UAE?

    So what? I think given their history, location, and their lousy human rights record, they deserve extra scrutiny. When are we going to stop pretending Dubai is anything other than a few really, really rich emirs lording it over the imported workforce who have no rights?

  11. Rhywun,
    Hey, I shop at Wal-Mart.
    I’m not at all picky about the morals of the people I choose to do business with.

  12. Bailey once again follows his hero Bush blindly. Just come out as a Republican already. You are already a whore for the Pharmaceutical industry.

  13. Seems the Israeli shipping company, ZIM, has stepped into the fray on the side of DPW. Also seems the UAE boycott of Israel is mostly window-dressing for the fundos and is routinely unobserved by UAE business interests.

  14. Given the fact that Mr. Hunter’s district makes billions of dollars from trade with the world’s largest totalitarian state, this is beyond ironic.

  15. I’m not at all picky about the morals of the people I choose to do business with.

    I said in another thread that I’m not comfortable with all the shady regimes we do business with – but there’s no escaping it, is there?

  16. The mafia doesn’t buy FEDEX. That is great.

  17. Ronald Bailey, have you ever even considered the possibility that at least some of the people who oppose this Dubai deal are not “nativists” or anti-Arab bigots, but people with concerns about letting a dictatorial foreign government with a dismal human rights record any role in our ports?

    Maybe we’re wrong. Maybe there is no reason to worry about said foreign government having a role in our port system. But can’t you address those issues rather than scream “nativist!” and pretend that racism or isolationism is our only possible motivation?

  18. Or to put it another way: Ron Bailey, if you are correct in your opinion about this port deal, why can’t you justify it without resorting to turning your opponents into strawmen?

  19. Lou Dobbs makes me want to vomit. Not only does he engage in the same ignorant bullshit day in and day out, he seriously badgers anyone who dares to try to disagree with him, and basically won’t let them speak.

    His polls are ridiculous. They are totally leading, effectively with things like: “Do you think Satan is bad?” dressed up as if they are legitimate unbiased questions, and they always get 98% of the vote, a similar percentage to what dictators like Castro get in their “elections”.

    Also, someone also needs to teach him that sarcasm is not a form of humor, it is a merely a shameful show of holier-than-thou loathing.

  20. Jennifer,

    Please to come visit. We will change your mind about the UAE. And we promise we will not force you to wear a burqa.

    Sunny days!

  21. All of the free-trade arguments aside, doesn’t a war on terror mean deals like this are suspect? Would the US have entered contracts with any of the Axis nations in WWII?

    Shouldn’t this shine light on the actual threat level?

  22. Jennifer: I hear you. I am NOT saying that everyone who opposes the Dubai port deal is a nativist. Perhaps there are some good arguments against the deal, but I have not encountered them yet.

    In any case, I AM SAYING that Hunter and Dobbs are raving foaming-at-the-mouth lunatic nativists. All you have to do in tune in to CNN this afternoon and you’ll see.

  23. Jennifer,

    Let’s not forget, this is the “Science Correspondant” who managed to forget, in every single piece he writes about alternative engergy, that the concern about wind turbines killing birds is two decades out of date.

    Speaking of which, why haven’t we seen any “second hand smoke has been proven to be harmless” posts in the past few weeks? Har har har.

  24. As somebody who is sort of on the fence about the deal – someone who has concerns about the implications of allowing the government of a moderate but still Islamist dictatorship handle operations that are important for our security, but who isn’t convinced that denying them the deal is the right thing to do (if we don’t grade Middle Eastern dictatorships that are making some progress to liberalization on a curve, we lose an important carrot) – having these nativist right wing loonies nominally “on my side” is a serious bummer.

    With friends like these…

  25. wind turbines killing birds is two decades out of date

    So why hasn’t my mommy come back home?

  26. Hunter interrupted again, but Carafano was unmoved. “You don’t need to buy a $7 billion company to penetrate maritime security,” he said. “The Mafia doesn’t buy FedEx to smuggle.”

    Heh. Rep. Duncan Hunter, PWNED-Calif.

  27. Orphan Eagle:

    Nice.

  28. “I heard something today about us giving the UAE 80 F-16s, apparently with all (well, most) of the bells and whistles.”

    Not so much “gave” as “sold” (but you probably meant that).

    A ridiculous number of countries have bought F-16s. It’s the world’s most “popular” fighter. This variant is pretty damn advanced. There are plenty of articles out there on this sale.

    “…these countries usually lack the infrastructure to support an effective air force.”
    Boy, you ain’t kiddin’. Infrastructure, motivated military (UAE nationals aren’t known for their work ethic), etc…

  29. the concern about wind turbines killing birds is two decades out of date.

    Which would explain yesterday’s article at CBS news on how concerns about wind turbines killing birds and bats is a barrier to its development.

    “It is now recognized that wind power facilities can have adverse impacts, particularly on wildlife, and most significantly on birds and bats,” the General Accountability Office (GAO) reported in September.

    http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2006/03/02/tech/main1363950.shtml

  30. Orphan Eagle, your Mommy is dead because she wasn’t a Democrat.

  31. Hey joe: Got any arguments that aren’t ad hominem?

  32. Oops, anon, I thought I fixed the gave/sold thing. I guess I only fixed it once. Now if we gave away F-16s to a rich country, that really would be a scandal!!

  33. Call me dense, but I fail to see how a UAE-owned company that buys out a British-owned company that uses almost exclusively American employees to run six American ports is somehow a grave threat to our national security.

    (Seems to me that if the UAE is such a grave threat to our national security, then we can start by forbidding our Navy from using Dubai as a base.)

    It’s like someone claiming Toyotas that are assembled in America by American workers using American-made parts are still somehow “imports”.

    Oh, wait. GM, Ford, and the UAW say that all the time, don’t they?

  34. Hey Ron, did Jack Abramoff buy you any of those little umbrella drinks when he took you to the South Pacific?

    *cough cough* Sorry, it’s smokey here.

  35. Did I just get accused of making personal attacks by someone who keeps writing posts calling people who have problems with this deal “nativists” and “racists?”

  36. joe, just to clarify, was your use of “nativist right wing loonies” not ad hominem? 🙂

  37. Actually, Pro L, it was not. An ad hominem is an argument that “Statement X by Speaker Y is untrue, because Speaker Y is Z.” Z being a bad thing.

    Where I was saying that the “right wing loonies” may be right in their argument, my characterization of them was not an ad hominem, just a personal insult.

  38. joe: First, I didn’t call anyone a “racist.” Secondly, it is a fact that they are nativists so calling them that is not an ad homimen attack.

    Thirdly, let’s parse how your formula for an ad hominen attack might apply to your comments about me.

    “Statement X by Speaker Y is untrue, because Speaker Y is Z.” Z being a bad thing.”

    “Dobbs and Hunter are nativists” is untrue, because “Ron Bailey” went on “a trip paid for my clients of Jack Abramoff.” “Going on trips paid for by clients of Jack Abramoff” is a “bad thing.”

    Why yes, joe, it is clearly the case that foreigner bashing by nativists is OK since Ron Bailey is against it.

    (And never mind that Bailey disclosed that his trip was paid for in the story and that the story was hardly uncritical of Abramoff’s client.)

  39. Only an idiot would engage in ad hominem attacks.

  40. Getting sloppy, Ron.

    ‘”Dobbs and Hunter are nativists” is untrue, because…”

    I never made any such statement. In fact, I agreed with you that Dobbs and Hunter are nativists, and condemned them for it. See joe 1:12.

    The only ad homenim here is the implication you make, that concerns about this deal must be illegitimate, because some of its critics are nativists.

  41. Jennifer,
    Then why aren’t you complaining about Chinese owned and Singapore owned ports? I know you’re not an Arab hater, but why the sudden interest?

  42. In other words, Mr. Science Editor, stop blowing smoke, because it’s making me sick.

    The Fume(ntos) are getting to me.

    Perhaps you should stop Band(ow)ying about these sloppy arguments.

  43. “See joe 1:12.”

    Truly the most moving verse of the Gospel According to Joe

  44. Then why aren’t you complaining about Chinese owned and Singapore owned ports? I know you’re not an Arab hater, but why the sudden interest?

    Because for all the faults of China and Singapore (and I am NOT sticking up for either one), they are not followers of an ideology we’re supposedly “at war” with.

    I put “at war” in quotes because I don’t think this war on terror is a true war. Nonetheless, the people we’re fighting now are fanatics who want to do things like impose Sharia law wherever they can, so I don’t see how turning any port operations over to a Sharia government is a smart idea.

    It’s worth repeating that this isn’t a privately owned company out of Dubai, but a government-owned company. And given the current world situation, I have an inherent distrust of a government that was one of only three to give diplomatic recognition to the Taliban, a government whom our own Treasury Department condemned after 9-11 for not helping track Bin Laden’s bank account, and a government who has some members who are such great friends with Bin Laden that they all went out on a falcon party back in 1999 or thereabouts. Not to mention a government that might be friendly to tourists but denies significant human rights to its own people, especially the female ones.

    THAT is why I oppose this deal. Not because of nativism, isolationism, or inherent distrust of people who are darker than me.

  45. Ronald Bailey, have you ever even considered the possibility that at least some of the people who oppose this Dubai deal are not “nativists” or anti-Arab bigots, but people with concerns about letting a dictatorial foreign government with a dismal human rights record any role in our ports?

    Thats right, we must stop our ports from being taken over by dictatorial foreign governments with disimal human rights records!!! We want our ports run by a dictitorial domestic government with dismal human rights records, dammit!! 🙂 God bless the U.S.A., and Pat Bucannan!

    Seriously though, it is possible there might be some legit concern about the port deal, however anyone with any legit concerns has decided to remain absolutly silent on the issue. Every single person I have heard speak out against the deal has been a nativist anti-Arab bigot. Well, perhaps there are a few people who say “I am not racist or bigoted, I have logical and reasonable reasons for wanted TO KEEP THEM MUSLIM TOWELHEAD BASTARDS FROM RUINING OUR COUNTRY!”.

    If there is anyone that has legit reason’s for being against this deal, why are they absolutly forbidden from saying them?!?! I mean, can’t anyone give me 1 good reason to be sceptical about the deal, that doesn’t involve name calling or inflamitory judgements about entire countries and groups of people? Or the occasional “Bush Supports It – So It MUST Be Bad!”.

  46. joe: You’re fine one to call me “sloppy” when you’re the one falsely asserting that I called someone else a “racist” in this discussion.

  47. Every single person I have heard speak out against the deal has been a nativist anti-Arab bigot. Well, perhaps there are a few people who say “I am not racist or bigoted, I have logical and reasonable reasons for wanted TO KEEP THEM MUSLIM TOWELHEAD BASTARDS FROM RUINING OUR COUNTRY!”.

    Every single person minus one, maybe–me. I do not use phrases like towelhead or raghead and have nothing but contempt for those who do, but I have reasons for not wanting a dictatorial government with a miserable human rights record and fairly recent ties to Bin Laden to have anything to do with our port security.

  48. I continue to be amazed by this whole thing. No matter who owns the ports, black, brown, yellow, red, white and/or blue – the people responsible for its security are Federal agencies such as the coast guard.

    I don’t see how their ownership of the port would be any different than having the UAE buy a building in Manhattan or invest in GM stock.

    But this whole thing sure does serve as a good litmus test to see who is outwardly or inwardly suspicious of brown folk for any and all reasons..

  49. this whole thing sure does serve as a good litmus test to see who is outwardly or inwardly suspicious of brown folk for any and all reasons.

    Do you find it comforting to live in such a two-sided world? “You either agree with me on this issue or you are a racist.”

  50. Jennifer,
    Well China is nice and buddy, buddy with N. Korea, who would knock our block off if given the opportunity. And while we are not at war with communism anymore, we were for decades. If there is another state that can potentially go toe to toe with the US, it’s China. I have a lot more reasons to fear the big bad Chinese, than the rinky dink UAE, who have a lot to lose if they f– this up.

    The Chinese port company is also state owned and operate in the largest international port in the US.

  51. Oh well, this will be small potatoes if the rumor that a UAE firm is aquiring a British firm that has US defense contracts manufacturing aircraft parts and instrumentation is true.

  52. Mo, if I had my druthers I’d refuse to allow any government who’s not an official ally with Western-style human rights standards to own any port facilities or have anything to do with port security in this country.

  53. I remain against allowing any foreign government any degree of involvement in managing US ports.

    However, I find it interesting that the unique reason given for opposing Dubai’s involvement is that the country is run by sharia law. Presumably, it doesn’t matter that Dubai is an exceedingly liberal sharia and friendly nation (and the most liberal of the UAE), the mere fact it uses sharia should require we treat it with the same hostility and opprobrium Iraq or Taliban Afghanistan deserves and deserved.

    Why tell moderate and friendly Muslim governments (and their citizens) that we equate them with the most hostile, radical nations? Is there a cunning strategem here I’m not seeing?

  54. And still no thread on the US/India nuke deal.

    http://abcnews.go.com/International/wireStory?id=1684264

  55. (Or is “sharia” one of those foreign-language words we use enough to not have to italicize anymore? I forget.)

  56. Presumably, it doesn’t matter that Dubai is an exceedingly liberal sharia and friendly nation (and the most liberal of the UAE), the mere fact it uses sharia should require we treat it with the same hostility and opprobrium Iraq or Taliban Afghanistan deserves and deserved.

    Maybe it’s liberal if you’re a man. I understand women are still basically property there. From my perspective, the fact that they’re pretty nice to almost half of their population isn’t quite good enough.

  57. Let me go on record as saying that India, not China, is the future of Asia. China has intrinsic flaws that will unravel some of what it has accomplished so far. India, on the other hand, could just explode in growth, especially with a strong relationship with the U.S. Not a bad move by Bush, I have to admit.

  58. And still no thread on the US/India nuke deal.

    I don’t see anything objectionable about it, aside from the government involved in brokering military planes (should be between friendly governments and manufacturers). Something there that concerns you?

  59. Maybe it’s liberal if you’re a man. I understand women are still basically property there.

    I understand that to be rather less so than other sharia nations, so that makes rather more than half the population that Dubai treats better.

    But again, is there a foreign policy benefit to the government telling moderate countries that we don’t view them as any different from the radical ones?

  60. Jennifer, the Minister for the Economy is a woman.

    http://www.zu.ac.ae/leadership2006/sheikhalubna.aspx

  61. On second thought since corruption is also rife in China, the connection to liberty is doubtful. Maybe it’s the residual oppression that persists that promotes corruption.

  62. Corruption is corruption, man. 🙂

  63. the Minister for the Economy is a woman.

    Pakistan once had a female head of state but that doesn’t mean the country has a good record insofar as women’s rights are concerned.

  64. It is my understanding, from ACTUALLY TALKING WITH UAE nationals that sharia applies to Muslims only and is not particularly strictly enforced. You’ll note that a huge portion of the population of the UAE is ex-pats, and a big portion of them are not Muslim.

    Additionally, adherence to the covering of one’s face/body is pretty much strictly voluntary in the UAE for Muslim women and largely depends on one’s level of devoutness and (interestingly) monetary/social status. UAE nationals with money tend to wear the full abaya, and sometimes get pretty fancy with it (as fancy as one can get with black). There are several stores per mall devoted to abaya fashion (and accessories).

    You’ll often see National women wearing the abaya, with face covering, but only have the top button fastened so that when they walk, the rest of the garment flows open and shows the ridiculously flashy dress and high-heels beneath.

    In any case, the majority of Muslim women in that country (including ex-pats) wear little more than simple head covering, face in full view.

    It’s nothing like you suppose. It’s still a bit surreal the first few times you wander through the malls and see a gaggle of abaya-clad women in a place all about fashion and Western modernity, but you get used to it and eventually find that most of the women you see are dressed more or less how they like (especially Western ex-pats, who can wear just about whatever they want).

  65. I completely believe RexRhino when he says that he hasn’t seen any reasonable, nonracist arguments against Dubai Ports taking over management of 21 American ports, including providing security, doing checks on hires, and complying with security regulations.

    I know for a fact that those arguments have been made on threads in which he’s commented, because I have made them, and have seen other people make them, on threads in which he’s appeared.

    But I have no doubt whatsoever that he has never, not once, read and understood one of those arguments. Why would you, when you can get that warm fuzzy feeling of calling people ractists AND ignore inconvenient facts that complicate your political posture?

  66. I thought some of you might be interested in a review of Lou Dobbs’ book Exporting America I have written for Amazon:

    http://www.amazon.com/gp/cdp/member-reviews/A23664PX3VILKS/ref=cm_cr_auth/103-5626492-0754242?%5Fencoding=UTF8

  67. Jon,

    That was a great review!

  68. Hola!

    On behalf of Vicente Fox, I’d like to invite Ronald Bailey, Nick Gillespie, and the gang to help our country get the word out! We’re already paying R0b Allen $720,000 a year to spread our “message” inside Mexico del Norte, and since you’re doing our work for us and since our records show you’re doing it for free, I’d like to offer some money to help us even more!

    What do you say, Ronald and Nick? What’s your price?

  69. Jennifer:

    While I’m not inclined to defend the UAE government, I just need to say that your relentless use of the pejorative term “dictator” and its variations is either misguided or deliberately disingenuous. And the “recent connections” to bin Laden are 7 years old.

  70. your relentless use of the pejorative term “dictator” and its variations is either misguided or deliberately disingenuous

    So is the UAE governed by elected officials accountable to the people, then?

    Sometimes, terms like “dictatorial” or “Islamic” or even (in other contexts) “Communist” are not meant as pejoratives, but as simple descriptions.

  71. Why do we care what the UAE does within it’s own borders? That should never be a reason to refuse to do business with them. Every country, including the U.S., grossly violates human rights in certain cases. If we decide to only do business with countries that have a perfect human rights record, then we won’t do any business at all. The only time we should impose any sort of embargo is when a country does something that causes harm outside of its borders, such as dumping toxins into the ocean, supporting international terrorist groups, etc. We should view commerce between nations in the same way that we view commerce between individuals. For example, Person A should not refuse to do business with person B just because person B engages in some activity which causes self-harm (drug abuse, cutting, etc). Person A should refuse to do business with person B if Person B does something which causes harm to Person A, C, or D.

  72. But again, is there a foreign policy benefit to the government telling moderate countries that we don’t view them as any different from the radical ones?

    *crickets*

    OK, I’m guessing no one is willing to claim there’s a benefit to doing that.

  73. For example, Person A should not refuse to do business with person B just because person B engages in some activity which causes self-harm (drug abuse, cutting, etc). Person A should refuse to do business with person B if Person B does something which causes harm to Person A, C, or D.

    This analogy only works if you take the “people are mere cells in the greater body of the state” view of nations. When Person B does something “which causes self-harm”, Person B is the one actually harmed, by his direct personal actions.

    When the UAE commits what you’d call acts of self-harm, it’s individual men and women, not an entity called the UAE, who are harmed, and these people are harmed not through their own direct actions, but by forces outside themselves.

  74. Jennifer: the “dictator or democracy” argument is a false dichotomy. The government in the UAE is not elected, but it is consultative – this is an attribute of the tribal governance system that has existed in the region for a couple of millennia.

    Your absolutist statements only serve to make it clear that you don’t know anything of the culture and history of the region. Secondly, your desire to impose made-in-America forms of governance on people who don’t necessarily want tham can only be called what they are: arrogant western cultural imperialism.

    The locals are a little reluctant to immediately jettison their traditional form of governance in its entirety because it has served them pretty well for a long time. There have been massive changes in this society over the past 40 years, and holding onto some of their traditions makes it a little easier to accept the changes that are happening. Try to imagine, if you can, a country that has transitioned from a pre-industrial (perhaps even pre-agrarian) nomadic tribal society to a modern, cosmopolitan, technological society in only 40 years – they have done what took 500 years in the West. It’s my honest opinion that they have handled this massive dislocation better than a lot of other societies have – other societies that were able to take things a lot slower. Rest assured that the rulers understand that in a modern world it will be necessary to transition to a democracy, and first steps in that transitionary process are under way.

    I will only reiterate that your argument to date on this manner has been simplistic and uninformed. We all know that you’re humorous, quick-witted and reasonably intelligent, but sometimes there’s no excuse for actually knowing what you’re talking about. Democracy will come abut in the UAE when the locals want it. And hard as it may be for you to believe, they have not been clamoring for it to date. There has been no repression of pro-democratic thought, perhaps for the reason that there is so little pro-democratic agitation. Read a few local blogs, and you’ll understand that the locals want to go very slowly down this path – they have seen what the hasty and premature application of democratic systems have done in other countries in the region that were not ready for them.

    Secondly, “the UAE” doesn’t commit acts, people commit acts. A country is either (a) a patch of inanimate earth or (b) an abstract association of individuals. In either case, a “country” lacks the ability to undertake actions. Only people can do things. And the people of every country can make domestic policy without consulting you first.

  75. your desire to impose made-in-America forms of governance on people who don’t necessarily want tham can only be called what they are: arrogant western cultural imperialism.

    Who said I want to impose our government on them? I just said I don’t want a country with their form of government to have anything to do with our ports.

  76. So exactly what about their form of government is such a deal-breaker for you? Barry’s description of the political attitudes of the UAE square with my experience. The government itself is certainly NOT dictatorial and it is certainly NOT democratic, though Skeikh Khalifa and co. have taken some pretty serious steps in that direction just in the last couple of months. It’s something between the two extremes.

    And I have yet to hear a serious address of the complete LACK of clamor over China taking over operations at some of our ports when it was happening.

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