Michael Totten

Not so soft bigotry

Anne Applebaum had a slightly sarcastic column in yesterday’s Washington Post about the hysterical reaction to Dubai Ports World’s attempt to invest, through acquiring a British firm, in U.S. ports. She observes that:

Britain, also like Dubai, has harbored terrorists: the London bombers, the shoe bomber, the IRA.

One could add the United States to such a list. As Britons and Irish know all too well, the United States for many years did remarkably little to prevent the financing and supply of Irish Republican terrorism, terrorism that cost many innocent British and Irish lives. Few question American investment in either Ireland or the United Kingdom, indeed in both countries the United States is one of the largest investors.
Applebaum’s sarcasm is more than justified and the column was all the more effective because of her restraint and because of the credibility she has gained from her principled opposition to torture.
The ports controversy has involved a display of not terribly soft bigotry by supposedly moderate American politicians, the sort of posturing pols who often tell us that the Bush Administration has needlessly offended foreigners and burned bridges with the rest of the world. The United States, the world’s largest recipient of foreign direct investment and the world’s largest foreign direct investor, has a self-evident interest in not sending out the message that globalization is a one-way street–or at least self-evident if you are neither Lou Dobbs nor a cut-price demagogue.
Andrew Apostolou (yes, we have no pyjamas).