Interaction and integration

America is quick to brand countries as threats to national security.

So Dubai dropped the ports deal. Old news, I know. But let’s pretend, for the sake of argument, that every action taken in the political arena will have repercussions that will change the landscape of the United States forever.

There is a reason this issue was discussed on every news station, by every reporter and in every political science class. In this modern world shaped by globalization, no country can afford to live out desperate acts of isolationism. The attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, were indeed terrible, but the time has come to stop giving the global media reason to perpetuate anti-American sentiments.

Instead of receding into a detached hole, we must enter into agreements and alliances with the international community. Such bonds only can strengthen our country. However, this will prove to be impossible if, for example, we do not allow commercial interests to expand simply because potential investors originate from a country with “Arab” in its name. Yes, the United Arab Emirates – considered one of the most forward-thinking countries of its region.

One would think a union with the rapidly expanding Emirate of Dubai (reckoned to be one of the fastest-growing economies in the world) would be most beneficial for our debt-laden country. Unfortunately, ignorance and general misinformation once again have prevented us from coexisting with rest of the world. The ports issue only became a problem when their potential control shifted from the hands of the British to the hands of Arabs.

Although I realize we continually are bombarded with calls from our presidential administration to be on high alert because we’re at war, our actions indicate the belief that all Arabs are terrorists. Of course, we all know this isn’t true. The United Arabs Emirates is perhaps the strongest ally the United States has in the Middle East, especially concerning the war in Iraq. Yet America is quick to brand the country as a threat to national security, and this seems to be part of an attitude that is based on generalizations and stereotypes.

Opponents of the Dubai ports deal claimed the Emirate had connections to the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks and that the country still easily could be penetrated by terrorists. These arguments should not be the focus of American uproar. The actions of a few should not be the basis for judgment of a country as a whole. Every American certainly cannot be characterized according to a standard set by Timothy McVeigh, and this logic holds true for people of all races, ethnicities, religions and nationalities.

The question remains: How can the government possibly expect to “democratize” the Middle East peacefully and effectively if it refuses to interact with countries that are attempting to develop and progress? Maybe if we conceded a little bit of ourselves to the other inhabitants of this vast planet, they wouldn’t be in such a hurry to hate us. Maybe if we could learn to take down the walls we have built around ourselves, to permit a little bit of the outside world to reach through these supposed barriers of protection, we could actually begin to integrate into the international community.

All that is necessary is for the people of the United States to realize we are not a unitary actor – our actions have consequences. Instead of pointing blame and living in constant fear, we must acquire knowledge and help our country become a part of the world again.

Jessica Gabriel is a University student. Please send comments to [email protected]