Justin Raimondo attacks the motivations of hysterical Republican and Democratic lawmakers braying for a pound of Arab flesh in the Dubai ports controversy in Hating Arabs: Arab-haters target Dubai port company at Antiwar.com.
Anyone who’s read my posts here in which I’ve featured blogs and MSM pieces supportive of the deal has read most of the arguments in favor. But Raimondo does add a new emphasis and perspective on the issue:
Phony reason number one: Two of the hijackers were born in Dubai. This is completely bonkers: Dubai is a city of over one million, a major financial and industrial center, and an increasingly popular international tourist attraction. Because two Islamist nutballs were born there hardly makes it a terrorist hive. Culturally, Dubai is the freest country in the Arab world. That doesn’t matter to the Arab-haters who are driving this campaign, however: in fact, it probably just emboldens them.
The reality is that there are U.S. troops in Dubai, over 1,000 of them, and the United Arab Emirates (of which Dubai is a part) is one of our staunchest allies in the region. Indeed, Dubai is the one city in the Middle East that is the most like America in that it is a symbol – the symbol – of the Arab world’s entry into modernity…
Dubai a hotbed of radical Islamist agitation? One would hardly think so, yet demagogues in both parties are now touting the factoid that the U.A.E. was one of three countries to grant diplomatic recognition to Afghanistan’s Taliban government. What they don’t mention is that the other two were Pakistan and Saudi Arabia, the two pillars of U.S. military and economic interests in the region. Should we stop doing business with them, too?
Phony reason number two is that the 9/11 conspirators funneled money through Dubai-based banks. But Dubai is the major financial nexus of the Arab world, and, indeed, is right up there with any city in the West in that regard: funds traveling from sources in the Middle East are more than likely to have come through the U.A.E. in some shape, form, or manner. Targeting DP World on account of this is like embargoing Wal-Mart because the 9/11 hijackers bought their box-cutters there.
This smear campaign against an entire country – indeed, against an entire region of the world – has nothing to do with the facts. The State Department reports: “In 2004, the UAE continued to provide staunch assistance and cooperation against terrorism” and “the UAE Central Bank continued to enforce anti-money-laundering regulations aggressively.” Furthermore, the U.S. and Dubai have signed something called a Container Security Initiative Statement of Principles, the purpose of which is to do what we don’t do here in the U.S., but ought to: all U.S.-bound cargo transiting Dubai ports is carefully screened. We have also signed a defense pact with Abu Dhabi, and the emirate has been used as a base from which to pre-position U.S. troops bound for Iraq. Our planes refueled at Dubai’s al-Dhafra air base on their way to patrol Iraq’s no-fly zone during the run-up to the invasion. Dubai has borne the costs in fuel and facilities maintenance of these U.S. military operations, and receives not a dime in “foreign aid.” In addition to hosting over 1,000 U.S. troops at various air and naval facilities, the U.A.E. is contributing to the maintenance of U.S. military bases in Germany.
…U.A.E. has cozied up to the U.S. like no other country in the Middle East, except, perhaps, Kuwait. What’s more, they have developed into precisely the model free market, modernized, relatively tolerant country, culturally if not politically, that we in the West have been urging on the region. In rejecting a Dubai-based company as unworthy, and raising the specter of terrorist-related activities or allegiances on the part of an internationally respected company with many Americans in top positions, the U.S. is saying that it doesn’t matter how much the Arabs may kowtow to the West, adopt our ways, and try to enter the world of international capitalist finance and embrace globalization – we still don’t want them because the whole region is poisoned by hate and therefore untouchable.
And to inform you of just how misinformed and bad-tempered progressives have become in this controversy, I’ve been pilloried at Daily Kos for the two diary entries I published on this. One comment called me an obvious [Republican] “troll.” Another said “then you’re not a Democrat if you don’t see what a political opportunity this is.” Interesting how, when your erstwhile allies diverge from their liberal values and you stay true to yours, they read you out of the tribe. Another commenter pooh-poohed my diary entry about Daniel Schorr’s commentary on NPR yesterday saying he’d given up on the network because it had turned “corporatist.” In part, that’s why I’m quoting Raimondo here since you’d be hard pressed to call him or Antiwar.com “corporatist.”
I do though have one serious problem with Raimondo’s column. He takes Schumer to task not just for his bellicose statements about the deal–in which he dredges up the canard of outsourcing jobs–but for not opposing an Israeli company’s contract to provide Congress with new cellular phone facilities:
…It seems as if the security-conscious senator isn’t against outsourcing when Israel is the beneficiary: Israeli companies, as well as direct input from the Israeli government, practically dominate the burgeoning homeland security industry. And the newly installed congressional phone system is franchised to an Israeli company, yet no one is making much of a stink about the security concerns raised…
And of course, he’s got to drag Jack Abramoff into the fun too. This is my problem with progressives who go in a little too much conspiratorial notions about politics. Besides, dragging Fox Telecom and Jack Abramoff into the debate on this issue distracts from the immediate and specific issue at hand. There’s more than enough to talk about Abramoff in other contexts. But must he come up in every discussion of the misdeeds of the Republicans and Bush Administration? Even when he’s not directly involved? Lucky for Abramoff he never lobbied on behalf of DPW or UAE (of course he wouldn’t have touched them with a 10 foot pole since they’re ‘nasty A-rabs’). Then their gooses would’ve been cooked.
Bruce Stokes, a columnist with the National Journal points out on today’s Marketplace (audio stream) that UAE signed a November, 2005 $10-billion deal to purchase Boeing commercial aircraft. Stokes reports concerns in Washington (and I’m sure at Boeing) that if the DPW deal is torpedoed, then the Boeing deal could be toast as well. And this directly hurts Boeing’s 40,000 employees (a good portion of whom are here in Seattle). And this will seriously impact the Pacific NW economy. Not to mention that the UAE will next turn to the European Airbus, Boeing’s fierce competitor, to complete the deal. Talk about outsourcing jobs, Senator Schumer. Those are American working families you’re potentially hurting with your irresponsible and erroneous statements.
What people who oppose this deal must realize that it doesn’t happen in a vacuum. If we stiff DPW, then we’ll be stiffed in return.