Dubai and Demagoguery

Americans are going to regret going into one of their periodic fits of xenophobic hysteria – this time over the Dubai port management issue – as the Islamists chalk up an important propaganda victory in their campaign to alienate the Muslim world from the West. But not to worry: as long as Arianna Huffington is happy, and Hillary Clinton, too, it’s all worth it – right?

In her latest anti-Arab rant, Arianna – who is fast becoming the Daniel Pipes of the Bush-haters – takes on Jack Kemp, who knows too much about economics to be fooled by the protectionist blather of the Dubai-bashers. Kemp, it seems, is connected to a think tank (or is it a company?), Free Market Global, that is connected to an investor in Dubai. Therefore, according to this McCarthyite "logic," Kemp has been "bought off." "It’s all about money," she blithers – and why not? After all, if we’re trading with Arab peoples, then we have less incentive to slaughter them, as we are doing in Iraq. But Arianna seems to have forgotten what free-market economics she ever knew: she has taken on her new leftie coloration as easily as she changes her evening dress. I particularly like her comment that the old categories of "Left" and "Right" are "irrelevant" because disparate groups of ideologues are "getting together" on the Dubai issue.

Yes, Arianna, dah-link, brought together in an orgy of hatred directed at the favorite target of every warmongering demagogue – foreigners. Especially dark-skinned foreigners, who worship at strange altars and against whom we happen to be fighting a war for the oil-rich [.pdf] Middle East.

The threat of economic retaliation from Dubai hasn’t hit home yet, but when it does, their threat to do business with Airbus instead of Boeing is sure to provoke howls of outrage from the same crowd. We’re kicking them out of the American port business – and also out of any defense-related industries, it seems – but, heck, why do they have to go and reciprocate in kind? That’s positively anti-American, and yet more proof that those emirs are terrorist-loving Ay-rabs (is there any other kind?).

America does a lot of business with Dubai – a fact that La Huffington considers evidence of "corruption." Apparently she’d much rather we just bombed them. After all, if the UAE is the hotbed of terrorism she and her allies in the War Party make it out to be, then why not invade, occupy the country, and root out the bad guys? Huffington will never address these issues, because it would expose her utter hypocrisy and spoil her fun: now that Bush shows signs of wanting to wind down the war in Iraq, and the neocons have turned on him, Arianna and the Weekly Standard can share in the joys of Bush-bashing.

The economic consequences of severing ties with Dubai – which is what legislation now being pushed in Congress would effectively accomplish – could be substantial. As The Hill reports:

"Retaliation from the emirate could come against lucrative deals with aircraft maker Boeing and by curtailing the docking of hundreds of American ships, including U.S. Navy ships, each year at its port in the [UAE]."

There is also Dubai Aerospace Enterprise, backed by $15 billion, which plans to buy a whole fleet of aircraft from either Boeing or Airbus in the near future. Can anybody doubt which company they’ll choose in the wake of the hate campaign directed against them in the United States?

The irony is that the Democrats and their enablers in the punditocracy, who pine for the good old days when American workers stood at the pinnacle of the world market, will be the first to whine about how "foreign" labor is "stealing" American jobs. Being economic ignoramuses, however, as well as horses’ asses in general, this crowd would rather not let reality get in the way of a bout of self-righteous fear-mongering.

Let Arianna blabber on about how Left and Right are being "brought together" – she ought to break with precedent and examine a little more closely just who she’s getting in bed with. "We want to protect the American people,” declares House Speaker Dennis Hastert (R-Ill.):

“We’ve been doing it the last four and a half years. We fought a war in Iraq, fought a war in Afghanistan, stood up to the Homeland Security Department. We will continue to do that. We will maybe have our differences, but we think we’re going to continue to oppose the Dubai deal."

Hastert is right to put the nixing of the Dubai deal in there with the various wars we’re fighting (or in the process of starting) in the Middle East: it’s all part of the Western campaign to denigrate and subjugate the Arab-Muslim world. The disgusting spectacle of the "antiwar" Democrats – like Sen. Barbara Boxer – jumping on this war-wagon recalls H. L. Mencken‘s definition of a demagogue:

"One who preaches doctrines he knows to be untrue to men he knows to be idiots."

The idea that Dubai represents a "security threat" to the West in any way, shape, or form has the pro-Western elements of the Arab world shaking their heads in stunned disbelief. Targeting as "terrorist" the UAE – which lets Uncle Sam use it as a lily pad to transport troops to Iraq and throughout the Middle East, and which has cooperated in efforts to root out terrorist networks, including the nuclear black market ring centered around A. Q. Khan – is just not credible. There must, insist our beleaguered allies in the region, be some other reason for this curt repudiation of all things Arabic, this open display of contempt and hostility even to America’s loyal friends in the Gulf emirates.

The sanctions against Dubai, if carried to their logical conclusion, would rule out any and all Middle Eastern companies from doing business in the U.S. After all, one of their terrorist-loving employees could possibly be an al-Qaeda "sleeper" whose clever plan to smuggle a suitcase nuke onto American shores could conceivably be pulled off under cover of a shield of corporate invisibility.

The exclusion of an Arab company from an important sector of the U.S. economy strikes a significant victory for the War Party. Even if the Bush administration succeeds in partially defusing the issue, the brouhaha is in itself a great victory for the advocates of "World War IV." It draws a line in the sand, as it were, between the U.S. and the Arabic-speaking and Muslim world, and legitimizes the idea of a "war of civilizations" – the meme that motivates our militaristic foreign policy.

The revolting display now taking place before our eyes – of pro-war Republicans and phony "antiwar" Democrats uniting in hatred and fear of a tiny emirate on the Persian Gulf that has been abjectly loyal to the U.S. – is almost enough to make one retire to the sidelines and forget about the follies of humankind: because if this is a taste of what the future has in store for us, then we are doomed anyway, and the few sane people who still care about such things would just as soon retire to a beach somewhere and live out their days contemplating the sunset of reason.

Author: Justin Raimondo

Justin Raimondo passed away on June 27, 2019. He was the co-founder and editorial director of, and was a senior fellow at the Randolph Bourne Institute. He was a contributing editor at The American Conservative, and wrote a monthly column for Chronicles. He was the author of Reclaiming the American Right: The Lost Legacy of the Conservative Movement [Center for Libertarian Studies, 1993; Intercollegiate Studies Institute, 2000], and An Enemy of the State: The Life of Murray N. Rothbard [Prometheus Books, 2000].