April 13, 2006

First Repercussion from Ports Fiasco?

[I originally posted this over at Daily Kos.]

While visiting one of my customers today, we fell into a discussion that touched on the recent ports management fiasco, where UAE-based Dubai Ports World had tried to purchase London-based Peninsular & Oriental, until the U.S. pulled a xenophobic histrionic fit.

The customer suggested that the ports fiasco had really opened the eyes of the Muslim world to Western attitudes toward Arabs and Muslims, and that a recent state visit to Singapore by Crown Prince Sultan of Saudi Arabia was a repercussion of that fiasco.  He believes that the Middle East will look increasingly toward eastern Asia for trade, investment, and military cooperation and, indeed, all of these issues were discussed in the Sultan's state visit (which included trips to Japan and Pakistan).

Now state visits between national leaders are quite common, and the Singapore government (through MM Lee Kuan Yew) had made the initial visit.  However, the fact that this was the first visit ever to Singapore by a Saudi official lends a little weight, I think, to my customer's argument.  Even if this state visit was not motivated in any part by the ports fiasco, I do think that the relationship between the Middle East and east Asia will continue to grow stronger (to the detriment of the US and Europe) because of the anti-Muslim/Arab attitudes of Western nations.

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