I’m surprised to find myself caring about this, but I’ve gotten in a debate over the UAE port deal. Some of my thoughts:
The U.A.E has some significant freedoms compared to the U.S., especially in some areas that I find personally important. Whether economic or political freedom is more important to you personally is not the issue.
The issue is that the UAE has an economy that is mostly free, and further trade with the West will encourage the growth of productive values instead of the destructive values prevalent in the Arab world. Isolating a progressive country like the U.A.E will be a racist statement that will discourage the rest of the Islamic world from economic liberalization, and instead encourage their anti-Western sentiment — and in this case, with good reason.
This is not about the safety of our ports, as Binswanger explained, or the totally irrelevant fact that the UAE is not a democracy. The issue is whether we will recognize the virtue of a society that has chosen civilization, or engage in collectivist thinking and refuse to distinguish a potential ally from our enemies.
Update: this article has more info on Dubai Ports of the World, the company taking over the ports..