Dubai does DC

Youssef Ibrahim writes a highly useful assessment of the Dubai Ports World imbroglio in the New York Sun. He is identified as a resident of Dubai and a business consultant, though I remember his work as a journalist for the Wall Street Journal, and New York Times. He is honest, both wry and pointed. But I want to restate some of his lessons in my own terms.

Dubai and the Arab world have had an education in the ways of the Beltway. They had been trying to buy influence the old way, by paying off politicians and many others. For example, the millions of dollars they gave to Bill Clinton over the years, to fly over via private jet a couple of times a year and give a twenty minute stand—up talk. Oh, and talk to the sheik and give advice.

But the Beltway has many egos to soothe, interests to placate, and palms to grease. Democracy means tha many have to be bought.

Bush, too,  really blew it by not seeing this decision as requiring spadework. I think he was lulled to sleep by the acceptance of many other foreign—owned terminals in US ports. He didn't reckon on the politicially—incorrect but potent fears most Americans have about Muslims.

But basically both sides of the aisle have behaved like demagogues on the issue, pandering to fears and trading in sound bytes.

So we are left with damaged relations with the U.A.E., whose bases and cooperation are essential to our military position in the Middle East East, particularly Iraq and Iran.

Thomas Lifson   3 08 06

Youssef Ibrahim writes a highly useful assessment of the Dubai Ports World imbroglio in the New York Sun. He is identified as a resident of Dubai and a business consultant, though I remember his work as a journalist for the Wall Street Journal, and New York Times. He is honest, both wry and pointed. But I want to restate some of his lessons in my own terms.

Dubai and the Arab world have had an education in the ways of the Beltway. They had been trying to buy influence the old way, by paying off politicians and many others. For example, the millions of dollars they gave to Bill Clinton over the years, to fly over via private jet a couple of times a year and give a twenty minute stand—up talk. Oh, and talk to the sheik and give advice.

But the Beltway has many egos to soothe, interests to placate, and palms to grease. Democracy means tha many have to be bought.

Bush, too,  really blew it by not seeing this decision as requiring spadework. I think he was lulled to sleep by the acceptance of many other foreign—owned terminals in US ports. He didn't reckon on the politicially—incorrect but potent fears most Americans have about Muslims.

But basically both sides of the aisle have behaved like demagogues on the issue, pandering to fears and trading in sound bytes.

So we are left with damaged relations with the U.A.E., whose bases and cooperation are essential to our military position in the Middle East East, particularly Iraq and Iran.

Thomas Lifson   3 08 06