Everybody's for Free Trade Until Something Like This Happens

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It is amazing to watch the cognitive dissonance, (or political opportunism, xenophobic hysteria, racist jingoism, or hypocrisy depending on your view), in opinions about a simple business deal.

It begins with a British company that specializes in port management being bought out by a group that includes the royal family of UAE member Dubai . There is no indication or evidence that the British and American employees of this company will do one damn thing differently from what they are doing now, namely, loading and unloading preloaded (off-site, too) containers from ships. That's it! Homeland Security, the Coast Guard, ICE, and the local cops will all still be involved in doing their usual bang-up job of security that we all know they do so well, eh? (Heavy sarcasm here, folks.)

'But Ali, you fookin' idiot, don't you know that there are al-Qaida cells and supporters in Dubai ' you say? 'And didn't the 9/11 terror cell that destroyed the WTC and killed all those people use Dubai banks to move money around?' (I can feel your smirks from here!) So doesn't this prove that those guys are just not trustworthy enough for this task?'

Ah, no. Let me address these issues for the fair-minded amongst you here. (You political opportunists and racist xenophobes go take a pill).

I know from personal experience that if the US government went to Dubai 's government and showed them honest evidence that persons residing in Dubai were involved in terror activities, they'd be arrested, imprisoned, and tortured so fast it could qualify as screenplay for an episode of Fox TV's 24. (Just pencil in a few lines for Jack Bauer.)

Now compare that to the US government's own tepid response to the terror attacks. Other than the rhetoric (which is hot and fiery!) the actual program to, you know, protect the American people from terrorism, has been lame, incompetent and laughable.

Any fookin' body and their brother can enter and stay in America . And stay permanently too, if they keep their hands clean. Not so in Dubai .

When or if the US in fact apprehends an actual terror suspect, the prosecution usually turns into a theatre of the absurd style parody of a bad Comedy Central skit. Witness the Moussaoui show trial that has been dragging on for the last few years or so.

People in Dubai look at all this (see they get CNN, MSNBC, BBC , and the rest of the satellite news channels too) and wonder out loud (at least among themselves) how serious the US government is about its own much ballyhooed War on Terror'?

As to whether there are al-Qaida supporters and cells in Dubai : There almost certainly are. But what of it? There are al-Qaida supporters, operatives, and cells here in America too. I have no doubt about it. I personally know people ( America citizens all) who left their families and jobs back in the early 1980s to go to Pakistan and undergo military training (provided and paid for by the CIA ) and who then infiltrated across the border to fight the Soviet troops occupying Afghanistan . And all with the blessing of the Reagan Administration, too. I cannot imagine that things are any different today, only that the battlefield has changed.

The US government has led the way diplomatically to transform the world's hodge-podge of tariffs, ad hoc trade deals, and protectionist barriers to a regime of free trade in goods, services, and the free flow of capital. So they claim, anyhow. Yet when people and firms from other places try to play by the very rules that the US government says it advocates, the resulting mudfight and rhetorical excesses from the news media are indeed a tawdry spectacle. Go figure that, eh?

The people who say they believe in free trade and the people who say that they accept the Arab and Muslim peoples as equal partners in world affairs should stand up now to the racist xenophobes and political opportunists. Those who are always preaching to the world about the wonders of liberal democracy and free trade should demonstrate that they really believe in them. Not that they only believe in open societies, liberal democracy and free trade until their ox is gored.

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Ali Hassan Massoud's picture
Columns on STR: 43

Ali Massoud is a proud old-school isolationist who writes for the Internet and blogs.