I think The Economist had the right take on the recent controversy in the US about the takeover of American ports by UAE-owned DP World.
It has nothing to do, the magazine argues, with American national security. “What is affected” in foreign ownership, “… is the ability of governments and of individual politicians to use patronage at favoured firms to help their friends, to get favours in return, to support special interests such as trade unions, and, in broad political terms, to paint themselves as patriots. … The nation as a whole is not better off [by blocking foreign ownership]. But the political and corporate elite may well be.”
Just so. And Canada take note, for we are a serious offender in this regard.
As the controversy blew up, one of my students asked me, “why do people in the West hate Arabs?”
I assured him we did not.
But on reflection, of course, he was perfectly right. Racism against Arabs is intense in the West, and the DP World controversy is a clear example.
As with all racism, is it a matter of finding a convenient scapegoat. Europe as a whole, and North America, have transferred their guilt over the treatment of the Jews in the first half of this century to the Arabs. They carved a new Jewish State out of Arab land, at no cost to themselves, and pride themselves on their supposed moral superiority over the Arabs when they, quite naturally, object.
The UAE, along with Oman, Qatar, Kuwait, and Bahrain, have been exemplary international citizens for some time, and staunch allies in the war on terror.
It’s about time they were shown some respect in the West.