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While visiting one of my customers today, we fell into a discussion that touched on the recent ports management fiasco, where UAE-based Dubai Ports World had tried to purchase London-based Peninsular & Oriental, until the U.S. pulled a xenophobic histrionic fit.  

The customer suggested that the ports fiasco had really opened the eyes of the Muslim world to Western attitudes toward Arabs and Muslims, and that a recent state visit to Singapore by Crown Prince Sultan of Saudi Arabia was a repercussion of that fiasco.  He believes that the Middle East will look increasingly toward eastern Asia for trade, investment, and military cooperation and, indeed, all of these issues were discussed in the Sultan's state visit (which included trips to Japan and Pakistan).  

Now state visits between national leaders are quite common, and the Singapore government (through MM Lee Kuan Yew) had made the initial visit.  However, the fact that this was the first visit ever to Singapore by a Saudi official lends a little weight, I think, to my customer's argument.  Even if this state visit was not motivated in any part by the ports fiasco, I do think that the relationship between the Middle East and east Asia will continue to grow stronger (to the detriment of the US and Europe) because of the anti-Muslim/Arab attitudes of Western nations.

Originally posted to JDsg on Thu Apr 13, 2006 at 07:30 AM PDT.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Asia is where the future is. (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mmacdDE, Cedwyn

         We are outsourcing our wealth to the East and squandering our strength in the dessert of Mesopotamia.

    "I am the pitbull on the pantleg of opportunity." G W Bush

    by irate on Thu Apr 13, 2006 at 07:37:09 AM PDT

  •  Gosh, JDsg... (5+ / 0-) you think the Rape of Iraq might have anything to do with shaping Muslim perceptions of western attitudes toward Arabs and Muslims?  Do you really believe that denying wealthy Dubai fat cats a juicy U.S. contract will offend Muslims, but bombing the population centers of Muslim countries on the basis of transparent lies is just A.O.K. as far as they're concerned?

    Really, dude, stop and think before parrotting republican bullshit.

    •  Gosh, Thomas... (0+ / 0-) you think the Rape of Iraq might have anything to do with shaping Muslim perceptions of western attitudes toward Arabs and Muslims?

      Of course Iraq helps to shape our perceptions of Western attitudes toward Arabs and Muslims.  Just like Palestine, Kashmir, Chechnya, etc.  Just like the Islamophobia of Americans and Europeans.  But is this the only thing shaping our perceptions?


      Do you really believe that denying wealthy Dubai fat cats a juicy U.S. contract will offend Muslims...

      Do I think that Muslims were offended by the xenophobic reaction of Americans to the sale of a British company to an Arab company, when Arabs are asked to participate and cooperate in all aspects of the global community?


      I am reminded of a quotation from the movie, Rising Sun:

      "What else could it be?  Remember when Fujitsu tried to buy Fairchild Semiconductor?  The US government blocked the sale, saying it was against national security... sell it to a foreign company.  Then later Fairchild is sold to a French company.  This time there's not a peep from Congress, Senator Morton, or anyone.  Apparently, it was OK to sell to a foreign company.  Just not a Japanese company.

      "I'd say that's racist policy, pure and simple."

      And, yes, both my customer and I are Muslims.

      •  I'm sorry (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        happy camper

        did Dubai or did Dubai not have LOTS of creepy ties to bin laden and his ilk? this is to not even go into all the CORPORATE issues involved in this. i think your whole premise is kinda silly...and excuse me if i fail to feel sorry for a bunch of rich emirs not getting their way...

      •  I'd be interested in your views... (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        macdust, happy camper, salsaMan a Muslim.  You see, I am not a Muslim.  I'm an American whose reaction to the Dubai ports story was more one of bemusement at the Bush admin.'s hypocrisy than one of xenophobia.  But when I try to put myself in a Muslim's shoes and ask myself how I'd react to the Dubai ports imbroglio I come up with the following reaction:

        As a Muslim I think I'd be pretty upset about U.S. policy regarding the occupation of Palestinian territories.

        As a Muslim I think I'd be pretty upset U.S. support for butchers like the Shah of Iran and Saddam Hussein.

        As a Muslim I think I'd be pretty upset at the unalloyed arrogance of the U.S. in meddling in the affairs of middle eastern states, as the U.S. did in 1953 in Iran.

        As a Muslim I think I'd be pretty upset at a U.S. policy that revered cheap and ready oil from the mid-east over the human rights of Muslims who suffered under despotic regimes propped up by the U.S.

        On the other hand, if I were a Muslim who was pretty well off, who was content to play the game and curry favor with the despots for my own financial benefit without any regard for those who are abused by these despots, who see a chance to make a few bucks off of deals like the Dubai ports deals and those that will follow in its wake, then I might be upset about these Dubai fat cats missing out on this juicy contract.

        Are you one of those Muslims?

        •  Quite honestly... (0+ / 0-)

          I don't think you're concerned about my views one way or the other.  Likewise, your gnashing of teeth regarding the so-called "Dubai fat cats" means nothing to me.  As a Muslim and American, I'm concerned about the welfare of the ummah, both with regard to how Muslim are treated by any country (the US, Western or otherwise) and to the material prosperity of all Muslims.  (This is not an either-or situation.  I choose "D, All of the above.")  You say you want a Muslim perspective, but when you got one - but didn't realize it - you dismissed it as "republican bullshit."  But, hey, guess what, I'm a Democrat, not a Republican.  And Muslims don't have a problem with the accumulation of wealth; the Prophet (pbuh) after all was a merchant.  And when I see Muslim countries being asked to be trading partners with the West, then denied the right to invest in Western companies, along with the xenophobic hysteria expressed in the media - including diarists here on Daily Kos - I have to shake my head at the blatant hypocrisy on both the right and the left.

          There's a Muslim perspective for you.

          •  But in Dubai... (0+ / 0-)

            ...not all Muslims are created equal. They are Arabocentrists. In other words, if you are not descended from a citizen of the emirates, you are second class. If you are a migrant worker, you are treated slightly better than a dog. I would say that the continuing income disparity (propped with western support) within SW Asian countries is a strong contributor to the sense of hopelessness--a hopelessness which causes people to act out.  

            Please read yesterday's Washington Post story about the treatment of Indian, Pakistani and Bangladeshi migrant workers (diaried by Eternal Hope.)

            Also, have you heard about the ongoing troubles with regards to impoverished Muslim children sold into slavery for the purposes of racing camels. The practice was brought to light in western countries only a couple years ago.

          •  Yeah, you're a Muslim democrat... (0+ / 0-)

            ...who is concerned that all of those Muslims who didn't object to U.S. support for the Shah and Saddam and the Saudi Royal Family will suddenly rise up in arms because DPW lost out on a U.S. contract.

            You didn't answer what kind of Muslim you are, but I think we have our answer.  You're the kind that was willing to sell out your people as long as you were getting crumbs from the dictator's table.  Why else would you so absurdly suggest that Muslims don't mind getting slaughtered by U.S. tanks and planes as long as massive Arab corporations get U.S. contracts?


            •  I described... (0+ / 0-)

              ...what type of Muslim I am in my 12:29 comment.  You wanted my views as a Muslim, which you got, but now you've found out that - boo hoo hoo - they don't fall into line with your expectations.  You, who admit you aren't a Muslim, and almost certainly don't know anything about Islam or Muslims.  Your assumptions about me and other Muslims (e.g., the "Dubai fat cats") are so off-base as to be completely asinine.  Your last sentence, in particular, shows that you didn't read what I wrote.


              "To us our deeds, and to you yours; peace be to you: we seek not the ignorant." (Al-Qur'an, 28:55)

  •  let's see you are basing your whole diary on (0+ / 0-)

    the comments of one person. if they know they get us on a guilt trip, hell yeah they are going to spin it. and the business that other countries have with each other would go on no matter what. so that is a false assumption that it is all our fault. these other countries aren't giving the farm away to each other and neither should we. these countries are more active with each other because we have such a shitty, lying government.

    •  On one customer's comments (0+ / 0-)

      The guilt trip line is pure trash. It is business, simple and straight. If they can't invest here with fair assurance that their money will be safe and the capital market will treat all parties as equal, then they'll take there money somewhere else. US is not the only market any more, in fact the current US fiscal and military policies make US a fairly risky market. Singapore on the other hand has no known enemies, a fair system and eager to please. Try borrowing a few billion dollars from your local banker while you continue to hit him over the head. We were basically robbing the Arabs at gun point with our military might and assurances of protecting there regiems, our ability to do that is now seriousely in question. They don't want our protection any more.


      •  we are far from 'shitting on their heads' (0+ / 0-)

        as you put it. one thing is true, and that is it is just business. we don't have protection to give them anymore. bushie broke the army. these countries started moving away long before iraq, after bush started screwing with treaties and acting the ass. i am sure you have noticed that putin has made a number of important alliances in order to offset bush.

        and the reaction of most americans had to do with not wanting anymore of our country sold to foreign governments. they are getting way tired of this crap and that includes the timid dem critters in congress. there is some racial bias, but it is not the end all this diary states.

  •  Don't yoiu think this shift is inevitable? (0+ / 0-)

    It seems rational for all the countries around the world to re-evaluate their allegiances, trade relationships, and security interests because of the actions by the United States.  The way our country has set about pursuing its own interests should alarm everyone with a brain and the responsibility for their country's security.  Moves to counter balance US power, economically and militarily are to be expected and are only natural.

  •  please understand (0+ / 0-)

    Dubai Ports World acquisition of P&O was strategically guided by the P&O holdings in Asia, not the USA. So there's nothing new here. DPW and other Arab wealthy people are looking East for growing their wealth.

  •  The ME will strengthen ties with Asia regardless (0+ / 0-)

    of their perceptions about the U.S.  It is inevitable that they look to the developing economic juggernaut in the east, a vertiable motherlode of new consumers clamoring for the same product we are.

    However, China turns a blind eye to any human rights violations or manner of governance making them very easy bedfellows for any regime to do business with.  Our ridiculous and disasterous attempts to export democracy to the ME by way of bombs and hellfire have far more ramifications than any perceptions of xenophobia.  

    A little ports deal tain't nuttin' in the big scheme of things.

  •  excellent post (0+ / 0-)

    and the election of Prodi in Italy seems to herald a rethinking of such close ties with the US (though not everything can be reduced to the US).  I wonder how much of our trade imbalance is also do to an informal boycott or disgust of things American.  Bush's recently revealed plotting to nuke Iran should also have any allies streaming for the exits.  

  •  the real FIRST reprocussion.... (0+ / 0-)

    was when the Carlyle Group sent their a number 1 consigliari , James Baker, into the white house to take over control of the entire situation so as NOT to lose the carlyle groups carefully planned port deal project....

    "if all the world's a stage, who is sitting in the audience?"

    by KnotIookin on Thu Apr 13, 2006 at 08:55:13 AM PDT

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