THE PRESIDENT MISSED THIS GOING IN, and he continues to miss it going out: Bush concerned about message to Mideast over ports.
"I'm concerned about a broader message this issue could send to our friends and allies around the world, particularly in the Middle East," Bush said.
I, for one, am not concerned about the message. Bluntly put, the message is that Americans -- through their elected representatives -- are, for once, united. They are united around the fact that, when you get right down to the nub of it, they simply do not trust Arabs and Muslims. We are, after all, at war with the culture and the religion.
Is it an irrational and emotional position? Of course it is. Wars bring out the irrational and emotional. Is it any the less true? No.
Strip away all the blather and spew and that's what this issue comes down to. Canny and craven politicians would be wise to take note of this. Indeed, I have no doubt they took note of it going in. What was the deal-killer here? Three simple words: "United Arab Emirates." I submit that a deal that handed over control of American ports to the "United Swiss Cantons" would have gone through like a downhill racer above Gstaad.
One major theme already starting up is that "the American people did not get what they needed from the ports deal because they didn't understand it. If they had only understood it, they would have welcomed it." The American people understood the word "Arab," and since a lot of politics moves on basic things and not on subtle things, that was quite enough. That's neither good nor bad but the simple plain rock-bottom human fact of the matter. While all policy wonks are people, very few people are policy wonks. If they were, elections would be decided on issues and not personalities.
Prepare for the spin and counter spin from both Democrats and Republicans. The Democrats will point to the "obsession" of George W. Bush that is responsible for heightening the xenophobia against Arabs and Muslims due to his ill-conceived and faulty execution of the "War on Terror." The Republicans will note that the Democrats played the xenophobia card for craven political gain and have revealed their latent xenophobia at last. As usual, both groups will be wading hip-deep in liquid manure wearing only their Speedos.
Neither side will point to the obvious cause of the slip-sliding away of the ports deal: Muslim and Arab behavior over the last six decades peaking at 9/11 and rolling on since then quite nicely, thank you.
The question is not "Do Americans distrust Arabs and Muslims?" They do. They distrust them all across the political spectrum -- with the exception of the Left side of what now passes for the Democratic Party, and the members of the Republican Party and assorted plutocrats that have profit in their plans.
The question is "Should Americans distrust Arabs and Muslims?"
Well, when you have a rag-tag collection of cultures and a global religion that regularly turns out to burn down embassies, drive Airplanes into skyscrapers, plants bombs along roadsides on a daily basis, has its "representatives" run into crowds, buses, and subway tunnels and self-detonate, beheads random innocent individuals, and promises to conquer the world and put all unbelievers to the sword or into slavery, you don't exactly feel good about those folks. While it is true that their actions get a lot of ink and air-time, you can't say that their PR creates a lot of mellow, positive feelings. What it creates is fear, suspicion and distrust.
Is discrimination wrong?
Is it wrong in this case?
Can this discrimination, distrust and suspicion be reversed?
Not in this decade.
Did Bush lead us into this realm of discrimination?
Did some sort of innate xenophobia within many Americans lead us here?
What led Americans into this frame of mind, expressed in a rare show of political unity, is the repeated behavior of a culture and a religion over a long period of time.
If a lot of members of your family spend a lot of time killing and threatening members of my family, I might be willing not to condemn every member of your family, but that doesn't mean we're going to be doing a lot of business deals over lunch.Posted by Vanderleun at March 12, 2006 9:02 AM | TrackBack