01 February 2007

Data point

Steven C. Clemons at The Washington Note has made a field trip to the United Arab Emirates, where he observes that there are some smart, scared people trying to think about the future of the Middle East.
One of the things that most impressed me when I was in the UAE this past week was the sensible, informed perspective that every single government official I met had. There was no anti-Israel jingoism among government elites, though i can't say the same about people in the private sector. UAE elites are very shrewd realists about their situation—and they are clearly becoming the Hong Kong or Singapore of the Middle East.

There was instead a belief that the entire region was at a cross-roads where either an incredible stormy and politically convulsive future faced them or alternatively, that a new “equilibrium of interests” could be reached that would take guts and brilliant statecraft.

That said, there is something to keep in mind when Americans pontificate about what Arab regimes should or should not do.

They have a much more serious terrorism problem than we do.


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