Wednesday, March 01, 2006

Plutocracy versus Democracy

It was widely reported in the Associated Press recently that the US Coast Guard raised some red flags when the proposed take-over by Dubai Ports World of certain US ports was brought to their attention. Last December the Coast Guard warned of potential intelligence gaps and, as such, made it difficult for the Guard to evaluate the true security threat before the business deal was approved. We still do not know why their concerns were ignored (or ameliorated) but I have a view, and to me it seems the plutocrats continue to wield power in America.

It’s such a tragedy that so many Americans do not see the irony as this little political brouhaha developed vis-a vis our policy towards Iraq the last four years. Our Splinters team member George Giacoppe wrote a sizzling post a few days ago as he unmasked the realities of life for many living in the UAE, especially foreigners. As Mr. Giacoppe discussed, in the UAE there is no democracy, but the Bush Administration, it seems, can care less.

By contrast, let’s remember than one of the goals (later stated) of invading Iraq was to bring democracy and freedom to a country under the control of a political strongman. Yet, as the Bush Administration cozies up to the UAE regime demonstrably shows it’s not about democracy that concerns Bush when it comes to the conflicts in the Middle East, but, what else, the eternal lucre and getting along with other plutocratic regimes in the area. All the arguments made about the UAE being America’s friend in the “so-called” war on terrorism is just a red herring. We Americans have to keep our eye on the events that are developing without relying on the faux arguments made by the ever-lying White House.

When plutocrats—like the ones in power in Washington DC (mostly the executive branch, but not exclusively) and the UAE—have the same agenda they are all too willing to work together. This is the same throughout the Middle East as we work warmly with the non-democratic regimes such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Jordan, and others. Before the fall of the Shah (1979), America was so nice to Iran, another plutocratic regime. We never criticize these regimes, not even a little bit. I'll say it out loud, “There is a hidden agenda, and it’s about money, oil, and control.”

And I have heard zero about the political background of the UAE that Mr. Giacoppe addressed in his post in the mainstream media, yet the media networks continue to parrot Bush’s democratic goals in Iraq daily. Shameful.

Yet, for Bush, the problem with plutocratic regimes, especially in open societies, is that not everyone with spheres of governmental influence is in adherence with the plans of the leadership in power at any point in time. In this fiasco many Republicans in Congress who worry about re-election next year have determined the Bush Administration is not concerned about their needs, and as expected, they are fighting Bush on this contentious issue. Look at the public opinion polls: 75% of Americans oppose the UAE taking charge of our ports. So it comes to no one’s surprise that Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine), chair of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee said, "I am more convinced than ever that the process was truly flawed. I can only conclude that there was a rush to judgment."

I've mentioned in my posts that the legislative goals of Democrats in Congress lie with moderate Republicans. Now it seems that Republicans concerned about loosing the next election can also help, at least in this instance. I strongly believe that in the end Congress will stop this very strange deal and override Bush’s threatened veto.

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