A Lady's Ruminations

"Jane was firm where she felt herself to be right." -Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice


Thursday, February 23, 2006

UK vs. UAE

The other day President Bush asserted that viewing the UAE differently than the UK was discriminatory. This is about the whole UK-owned company that ran the six US Ports being sold to a UAE-owned company, in case you haven't followed. A vast number of people are questioning whether we should allow our ports to be run by a company owned by an Arab Muslim nation . . . since, in all fairness, all the 9/11 hijackers and the vast, vast majority of terrorists are Arab Muslims. (You can find my posts here.)

There is a vast difference between the UK and the UAE. And seeing the difference does not mean discriminating, in the usual sense of the word, in the sense that it is bad. We discriminate every day: which outfit to put on in the morning, which kind of cereal to eat for breakfast, whether to take Division Street or go up Nevada, what to make for dinner, which television program to watch, what time to go to bed. These are all necessary discriminations.

And so is deciding that the UAE is not the UK and we should not treat them the same.

Newsday's Jim Pinkerton has an excellent column detailing just why the UK and the UAE are so different.

Bush won't fight ports deal: President's 'different standard' spin doesn't fly; U.K. looks sterling, UAE looks unfriendly

Here is an excerpt:

George W. Bush is ready to fight for the Dubai-buying-U.S.-ports deal. But a growing bipartisan grouping, in regard to that fight, is saying, "Bring it on."

Defending the proposed sale, Bush said Tuesday, "I want those who are questioning it to step up and explain why all of a sudden a Middle Eastern company is held to a different standard than a great British company."

OK, I will step up. Let's begin by noting that the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates are different countries, with different histories.

For 400 years, England has been America's mother country and English our mother tongue. Yes, we fought a war or two against each other, but they were "cousins' wars," more akin to family feuds than wars of annihilation. And even during wartime, Americans have naturally looked to Britons for inspiration on law and culture; from William Shakespeare to the King James Bible to C.S. Lewis to J.K. Rowling, British letters have been America's letters.

And in the past century the U.S. and U.K. were shoulder to shoulder in two hot wars and one cold war. Few Americans can forget the oratory of Winston Churchill, who rallied English speakers against Nazism. (And who were the Arabs rooting for in World War II? Just asking.)

In the decades since, Washington and London have stayed close. The friendship between Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher is the stuff of legend, but if anything, the bond between President Bush and Prime Minister Tony Blair is even stronger. So strong, in fact, that Blair's critics call him "Bush's Poodle." That's not nice, but it should still be a source of reassurance to Americans.

Now to the United Arab Emirates. First and most obviously, it's Arab. That's not a statement of racism; that's an observation about ethnicity and the culture that comes with it. Virtually all UAE-ers are Arab Muslims, and many probably watch Al-Jazeera TV, which serves up a steady diet of anti-American "newsaganda." That's the reality of multiculturalism on a planetary scale: People in different countries are different, see things differently, react to things differently. That's why consumers in the UAE eagerly joined in the boycott of Danish goods in the wake of the Muhammad cartoon controversy; The Associated Press reports that Denmark's exports to the UAE are down 95 percent.
Do read the rest and find out more about why the UAE is not the same as the UK.

(Curtsy to Mark Levin)

Update:
Michelle Malkin has another detailed and excellent post reiterating what is wrong with the Ports deal here and more of Karl Rove's latest here.