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Prejudice has economic consequences
Posted by: mcq on Wednesday, March 22, 2006

It is getting a little harder to deny the "prejudice" label and we're darn near close to "xenophobia":
A person familiar with the thinking of both the US and United Arab Emirates said officials were concerned that the pending investigation of Dubai International Capital’s £700m ($1.2m) purchase of Doncasters, a privately-held British aerospace manufacturer that works on sensitive US weapons programmes, including the Joint Strike Fighter, could provoke a similar backlash and further damage the relationship between the two countries.
Note that I used "prejudice" first as "xenophobia" would encompass all things foreign. That doesn't appear to be the case, yet, as it is apparent that certain foreign entities are still acceptable over others.

The question remains, however, is the emerging official prejudice against all things arab valid? Take the Doncaster purchase as an example:
Although the proposed transaction has not yet drawn much attention in Congress, the first signs of unease emerged on Tuesday when John Barrow, a Democratic lawmaker, released a letter demanding a tour of Doncasters’ Georgia facility.

“It is reported that your facility produces turbine engine parts critical to tanks and military aircraft...one must assume [it] plays a necessary and substantial role in the nation’s ongoing military efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan,” Mr Barrow wrote.

The Treasury has said the deal will be subject to an extensive 45-day investigation, pushing back the completion to as late as May.
If we are concerned with threats to "critical infrastructure" and components thereof, why is it only arabs that constitute the threat? They may constitute the most obvious threat, but there are many militiant ideologies out there hostile to the US and certainly many of them can be found in "friendly" foreign nations. So why is it necessarily safer, given the London bombings for instance, if a British company owns Doncaster instead of an Arab country?

The point here isn't to downplay threats, it's to rationally consider real threats as opposed to imagined threats. While one could fashion an imagined threat from a UAE company owning an aerospace company engaged in making sensitive parts for US military systems, the threat isn't very likely. There are, for instance, easy ways to ensure the parts are made properly (not sabotoged) and there are also ways to ensure the technology stays here and doesn't find its way into the wrong hands. And if we can't satisfy ourselves that security is everything we want and demand, we can find another manufacturer to make those parts.

However, we certainly have no right to block such a sale ... not if we are indeed true believers in free trade and the benefits of a global economy.

As I point out, if security is the concern, there are ways to deal with it. We need to avoid this creeping official prejudice which seems to be rising and nip it before it blooms into outright xenophobia. Both are driven by irrational fear. We need to examine those fears and confront them rationally.

If, however, we allow the irrational to rule the day, as in this case, we'll find foreign investors looking elsewhere for a more stable and reliable investment opportunities. China and India would be most happy to accomodate them.
 
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Comments
I think that opposition to the UAE purchase of US terminals was misguided, but it’s grossly misguided to characterize that opposition a "xenophobia" or "prejudice" against Arabs. The objection to the deal was not that the UAE company was Arab-owned, but that (1) they were State-owned, (2) that particular State was dictatorial, and (3) that particular dictatorial State had a relationship with Al Qaeda.

There’s nothing at all "xenophobic" or specific to "Arabs" in such an objection.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
While those may be the stated reasons, the best that can then be said is they’ve been very selectively applied. I’ll stick with my analysis.
 
Written By: McQ
URL: http://qando.net
They have? How? Can you give me one example of a state owned company from a non-Arab dictatorship with ties to Al Qaeda whose purchase has been overlooked?

If you cannot, then you’re just drawing conclusions from a set where N=1.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
It has nothing to do with the Arab race. Persians, Pashtoons, Pakistanis, whatever. "fundamentalist Muslim" is more appropriate when discussing American distrust of said foreigners.
 
Written By: Jimmy the Dhimmi
URL: http://mooreisfatduhimstoopidilikeanncoulterandchickenfries.ytmnd.com/
Jon,

In fairness I think you are being a bit over-the-top with your assertion of "that particular dictatorial State had a relationship with Al Qaeda."

Much rhetorical ink has been spilled on this topic. It seems to be linked to this assertion, so far uncorroborated, by AQ itself. Was it a warning or just playground trash talk? At best, you can call it an assertion, not an established fact.

Perhaps a more thorough discussion of the UAE/AQ "relationship", if it could really be called that is addressed here. The troubling points mentioned are that "United Arab Emirates officials in 2003 allowed 66 switches used in nuclear weapons to be sent to a Pakistani man.", that "20 UAE firms suspected of having acted as intermediaries or front companies for Saddam Hussein’s Iraq" and that the country "was a transit area for prohibited goods, such as rocket fuel ingredients, with companies using deceptive trade practices".

So, lessee. Two of these assertions are linked to "companies", not the UAE government. Unless one of the companies involved can be decisevely identified as PDI you cannot impute bad motives to the UAE government from their conduct. That is, unless you are willing to impute economic fraud and exploitation to the US government because of Enron. That leaves us with the first assertion concerning the switch sale to the "Pakistani man". Who was that man? Did he have demonstrable links to AQ or any affiliated groups/individuals? And were the switches examples of a "dual use" technology" that could have been applied to civilian projects? In sum, the assertion that the UAE "had a relationship with Al Qaeda" is an assertion that can be charitably called factually challenged.

As far as your other assertions of "they were State-owned" and "that particular State was dictatorial" go those have been addressed here by others.
 
Written By: D
URL: http://
In fairness I think you are being a bit over-the-top with your assertion of "that particular dictatorial State had a relationship with Al Qaeda."
On the contrary...
Lawmakers from both parties say the United Arab Emirates has helped shuttle weapons components around the Middle East, has ties to al Qaeda and shouldn’t be trusted to operate terminals in U.S. ports.
And more specifically...

The Central Intelligence Agency did not target Al Qaeda chief Osama bin laden once as he had the royal family of the United Arab Emirates with him in Afghanistan, the agency’s director, George Tenet, told the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks on the United States on Thursday.

Had the CIA targeted bin Laden, half the royal family would have been wiped out as well, he said.
It was detailed in the 9/11 report.

Still waiting to learn of an equivalent non-Arab company.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
They have? How? Can you give me one example of a state owned company from a non-Arab dictatorship with ties to Al Qaeda whose purchase has been overlooked?
It’s not a "purchase" per se, but CITGO certainly qualifies as a non-Arab dictatorship.
 
Written By: MichaelW
URL: http://
Jon,
On the contrary...
Lawmakers from both parties say the United Arab Emirates has helped shuttle weapons components around the Middle East, has ties to al Qaeda and shouldn’t be trusted to operate terminals in U.S. ports.
Read further down in the article, below the "Lawmakers...say" part and you will find the actual facts they cite. I pointed them out above and suggested they blunt the assertions against the UAE government.

As regards this the article provides no details of when or how events transpired. However, I’ll allow that you probably mean this incident
The report states U.S. intelligence believed that bin Laden was visiting an area in the Afghan desert in February 1999 near a hunting camp used by U.A.E. officials, and that the U.S. military planned a missile strike.
...
“National technical intelligence confirmed the location and description of the larger camp and showed the nearby presence of an official aircraft of the United Arab Emirates. But the location of bin Laden’s quarters could not be pinned down so precisely,” the report said.
That does not sound terribly sanguine about royal family proximity to OBL unlike the over-summarized account in the rediff article you cite. No big surprise though; that account relied on the now-discredited precision of George "Slam Dunk" Tenet’s utterances.

Still waiting to learn about how "that particular dictatorial State had a relationship with Al Qaeda".

 
Written By: D
URL: http://
Interesting to note the part you cut out from that story...
Intelligence from local tribal sources indicated “bin Laden regularly went from his adjacent camp to the larger camp where he visited the Emirates,” the report said.
As well as Clarke’s call to the UAE to express concern about those possible associations, and the sudden dismantling of the Al Qaeda camp immediately after the call. And the 9/11 Commissions description of the UAE as "both a valued counterterrorism ally of the United States and a persistent counterterrorism problem".

But no, objections to a State like that controlling a US terminal can only be prejudice against Arabs. Because, I guess, Al Qaeda-connected dictators = Arabs.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Fine Jon, let’s accept that some Emiratis and some AQ hotshots were on good enough terms to share a hunting camp in 1999.

OTOH, if everyone was so lovey-dovey and peachy keen then why did AQ have to mau-mau the Emiratis into behaving during 2002? Sounds to me like things were going really sour between these good friends by that time. The UAE folks, now that the US was ripping things up in Afghanistan and AQ on the run, moved to the strong horse.

So, yeah, they had a relationship...which became quite vicious and internicine subsequently.
 
Written By: D
URL: http://
BTW, Jon, your family life should never be like theirs...;-)
 
Written By: D
URL: http://
Hey, I didn’t say I agreed with the argument that their relationship with Al Qaeda constituted sufficient problem to derail the deal. I just noted that it’s a legitimate concern.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Also, there is an even more glaring contrast between the Tenet quote in the rediff article and the 9/11 Comission report.

Tenet, in the rediff article, claims that members of the UAE royal family was present in the camp and that "half the royal family would have been wiped out". However, the page in the 9/11 report you link makes no such assertion; only that intel found an "official aircraft of the United Arab Emirates" in the vicinity and that OBL "regularly went from his adjacent camp to the larger camp where he visited the Emiratis". Now "policymakers were concerned about the danger that a strike would kill an Emirati prince...who might be with Bin Ladin or close by" but it is nowhere substantiated that this was, in fact, the case. In truth, nobody really knew the identity of any Emiratis in the area, whether royal family or not. At best, we have an example of the overcautious nature of US military operations in the late 1990s.

Again, your assertion of a direct UAE Government-AQ relationship is somewhat overblown. And "Slam Dunk"’s reliability is further shown to be laughable.
 
Written By: D
URL: http://
I think I cited enough from the 9/11 report to make your opinion of Mr Tenet irrelevant. The link was clearly established. What you make of that link is a separate matter.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
Jon Henke wrote:

"But no, objections to a State like that controlling a US terminal can only be prejudice against Arabs."

Since they wouldn’t be controlling anything to do with security at the port, I can only think ignorance or at best slightly informed racist (nationalist? ethnicist? religionist?) bias led you to say that.

"Hey, I didn’t say I agreed with the argument that their relationship with Al Qaeda constituted sufficient problem to derail the deal. I just noted that it’s a legitimate concern."

Then you didn’t say anything worth the saying at all did you?

As you have for the last several months, you mostly fling feces and obscure with smoke and mirrors.

Attempts to be evenhanded are wrong headed at best when one side is consistently wrong.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
"If, however, we allow the irrational to rule the day, as in this case, we’ll find foreign investors looking elsewhere for a more stable and reliable investment opportunities. China and India would be most happy to accomodate them."

That was rational to say. Claiming there were real concerns with the ports deal was not.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Since they wouldn’t be controlling anything to do with security at the port, I can only think ignorance or at best slightly informed racist (nationalist? ethnicist? religionist?) bias led you to say that.
Tom, you are a fool. What "led [me] to say that" was the posts assertion that the reaction to this deal revealed an "only arabs...constitute the threat" prejudice. Perhaps you missed it, but "objections to a State like that controlling a US terminal can only be prejudice against Arabs." was sarcasm.
Then you didn’t say anything worth the saying at all did you?
When you show up at the very end and can’t figure out what’s going on, the confusion is your own fault. Not mine.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
"I just noted that it’s a legitimate concern."
No, it wasn’t a legitmate concern. It was a racist, religionist, ethnicist concern—which you just endorsed.
"Tom, you are a fool."
I can be foolish, I don’t think I lately have you beat in that area though.
"a State like that controlling a US terminal"
That is simply a lie, since they would not control the terminal in any way that dealt with legitimate security concerns, and I think you’re smart enough to know it. I think you’re just unashamed of your misrepresentation.
"Perhaps you missed it, but "objections to a State like that controlling a US terminal can only be prejudice against Arabs." was sarcasm."
And in case you missed it, thinking the sarcasm was justified is evidence in you of the bias I think you’d like to claim that you decry.

No, there was no rational basis for the outcry over the UAE administering the stevedoring of the ships coming into the port.
"I think that opposition to the UAE purchase of US terminals was misguided, but it’s grossly misguided to characterize that opposition a "xenophobia" or "prejudice" against Arabs."
Not when the concerns weren’t rational. There is prejudice as an explanation, however.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
"I just noted that it’s a legitimate concern."
No, it wasn’t a legitmate concern. It was a racist, religionist, ethnicist concern—which you just endorsed.
"Tom, you are a fool."
I can be foolish, I don’t think I lately have you beat in that area though.
"a State like that controlling a US terminal"
That is simply a lie, since they would not control the terminal in any way that dealt with legitimate security concerns, and I think you’re smart enough to know it. I think you’re just unashamed of your misrepresentation.
"Perhaps you missed it, but "objections to a State like that controlling a US terminal can only be prejudice against Arabs." was sarcasm."
And in case you missed it, thinking the sarcasm was justified is evidence in you of the bias I think you’d like to claim that you decry.

No, there was no rational basis for the outcry over the UAE administering the stevedoring of the ships coming into the port.
"I think that opposition to the UAE purchase of US terminals was misguided, but it’s grossly misguided to characterize that opposition a "xenophobia" or "prejudice" against Arabs."
Not when the concerns weren’t rational. There is prejudice as an explanation, however.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
Say, anyone notice that the VP for European Operations of DPW was nominated to head the US Maritime Administration? Probably knot, in maritime terms. Quite qualified, and likely confirmed. But assumed a subversive when employed by DPW.

Anyone here ever work for a ’foreign’ company? DPW would likely have kept every employee, and simply changed the reporting from P&O to DPW. In the next year or so a few senior positions would have moved around between the US and Europe, likely filled with US or Europe nationals. Any guesses how many Dubai or Emirates nationals work for DPW and in what positions? Time for a cluebat?

The port operator pays the longshoremen. Customs gets the import declarations. Ignorance is pervasive and leads to silly assertions. But what are politicians for if not to make silly assertions.
 
Written By: Tee Jay
URL: http://
No, it wasn’t a legitmate concern. It was a racist, religionist, ethnicist concern—which you just endorsed.
Please tell me what part of "dictatorship that has a relationship with Al Qeada" refers to either race, religion or ethnicity.
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net
"Please tell me what part of "dictatorship that has a relationship with Al Qeada" refers to either race, religion or ethnicity."
Tha part that assumes it is true enough to be worth saying. It is not a unitary dictatorship, it is an association of several noble families who share authority over different geographical aspects of the UAE, and they certainly do not have identical foreign policy goals or agreed on means.

I’m sure the level of complexity in the real world escapes you, but please take note that after fraternization with BinLaden was indicated to be objectionable to the US, said fraterniazation came to an abrupt and total halt.

Not the act of state intent on doing us harm as a matter of policy, more the act of one relative telling another to clean up their act, they’re embarassing the family.

I think the "nuance" of the situation would not escape you if this were not the United "Arab" Emirates.

Yours, TDP, ml, msl, & pfpp
 
Written By: Tom Perkins
URL: http://
I’m sure the level of complexity in the real world escapes you, but please take note that after fraternization with BinLaden was indicated to be objectionable to the US, said fraterniazation came to an abrupt and total halt.
Please produce evidence of this. The 9/11 Commission called them "a persistent counterterrorism problem".

In fact, you don’t even seem to be making an argument here. You’re merely asserting that I must be motivated by racism to argue that concerns about the UAE relationship with Al Qaeda is arguably reasonable. That’s not argument; it’s mere contradiction.

Meanwhile, nobody (ahem) has produced evidence of a similarly situated non-Arab country to who we’ve not applied this so-called "prejudice".
 
Written By: Jon Henke
URL: http://www.QandO.net

 
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