America Speaks Loudly — Paranoid, Uninformed Anti-Arabism

There is no doubt that George W. Bush and his administration handled the UAE port deal poorly and with ultimate selfishness for the welfare of close associates in the corporate world. This has long been standard operating procedure for this administration, but never has the Administration been thwarted as occurred today. The American people spoke loudly, and their Congress listened. Both parties listened to the loud outcry and the Republicans stood up to the President and said, "This deal will not stand. We have the votes to override your veto, Mr. President. No Arabs are going to run our ports."

All of this occurred without a genuine security assessment before decision-making by the American people or the Congress. The American people were not interested in an objective security assessment –” they do not want Arabs running the ports. Arabs are presumed to be an intolerable security risk because they are Arabs, even from friendly, moderate Arab states.

If there was a good, objective security analysis to drive public outrage, this action by the American people and the Congress would be laudable. But, sadly, the only basis for this intense concern was generic fear of Arabs — anti-Arabism.

In contrast, Americans have not stood up and loudly rejected illegal, immoral, obscene treatment of Arabs by the American government. Americans have not stood up loudly and told the government to stop detaining Arabs without cause, to stop torturing them, to stop waging war on them, stealing their resources and dividing Arabs by thinly disguised schemes such as the U.S.-influenced Iraqi Constitution.

Americans have not shown moral fiber in their dealings with Arabs. Americans have shown the opposite, and this is a rare case where the President was probably correct in assessing that the control of American ports by Arab enterprise from the United Arab Emirates was not a real threat to American security.

Americans are paranoid. Perhaps it is because of a guilty conscience or subconscious mindset. Perhaps Americans know that Arabs owe payback or blowback and thus want to deprive any Arabs from using Arab control of American port management to facilitate reprisals. But the fact is that if any terrorist act occurred at an Arab-managed U.S. port, the government of U.A.E would be in severe jeopardy from U.S. reprisals, and everyone knows this. The likelihood is that professional management of U.A.E.-managed U.S. ports would be safer than most, if all alternatives because of the stakes involved for the port operators and their desire to maintain their profitable relationship with the U.S. government and U.S. corporations.

No, the U.S. public missed the boat on this one. The boat will have to dock elsewhere and now Arabs around the world see further evidence of American anti-Arabism. It is bad karma and cannot benefit, but could ultimately lead to harm for paranoid, anti-Arabist Americans.