Clyde Prestowitz: The View From Dubai

-

At a meeting of Middle Eastern, European, Asian, and American strategic analysts in Dubai last week, it quickly became clear that the common American view of the situation in the Persian Gulf region is only about 180 degrees away from that of the rest of the world.
Start with the notion of creating a democracy in Iraq as a way of catalyzing movement to democracy throughout the region. Analysts from the Middle East and elsewhere note that much of the current trouble is rooted in the American overthrow of the democratically elected government of Mohammed Mossadeq in Iran in the early 1950s. In his place the U.S. government installed Shah Reza Pahlevi to whom it tried to outsource hegemony over the Gulf and its vast oil wealth. When the Shah’s dictatorship was overthrown by the Islamic forces of the Ayatollah Khomeini, the U.S. government responded by eventually supporting Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein in his war with Iran. This war, of course, involved the now infamous gassing by Saddam of the Kurds of northern Iraq. Though strongly condemned by the present Bush administration, this action was neither condemned nor even recognized by officials of the Reagan administration at the time. Nor did the United States and United Nations forces attempt to establish a democracy in Iraq at the conclusion of the first Gulf War in 1992. In view of this history, there is great skepticism abroad about U.S. rhetoric on creating democracies.
On top of that, there is the practical question of compatible objectives. On the one hand, the United States is highly dependent on the royal family of Saudi Arabia. On the other, the U.S. government is calling for a democratic movement that would surely be a threat to the continued rule of that family. Few in the Middle East or Europe of the rest of Asia believe the United States really wants to see any quick demise of the House of Saud.


A second major divergence between U.S. and other views is on the question of who is winning in Iraq. The debate in Washington tends to center around whether Al Qaeda and its allies in the Iraqi insurgency have the upper hand or whether it is the government forces backed by America that are gaining ground. In Dubai, the word is that it is the Iranians who are picking up all the marbles. Observers in the region say the Iranians have thoroughly penetrated the key Iraqi government agencies, Shia groups, and militias and that they have far more effective reach and influence on the ground than the U.S. forces. In the view of the region’s experts, it is the Iranians rather than the Americans who will have the decisive influence on how the situation in Iraq evolves. This is particularly the case, because it is clear that the Americans are already beginning to plan a pull out and that they will be largely out of Iraq and region within a fairly short time. By contrast, the Iranians are there to stay, and, in the absence of a strong or even a coherent government in Baghdad, it is they who are likely to dominate the Gulf. On this view, far from demonstrating their power, the American performance in the war so far has demonstrated its weakness and declining influence.
Finally, there is the issue of the dollar and American economic power. In Washington and on Wall Street the picture of a robust and uniquely strong U.S. economy is painted. American GDP growth is high, unemployment is low, interest rates, while rising, are still relatively low and American inventive genius is said to be unparalleled. From Dubai, however, the view is that America’s large and growing trade (technically current account) deficit means that the whole performance has to be financed by a daily inflow of $3 billion of foreign capital, much of it from the Gulf states. Were this to slow up even a little bit, U.S. interest rates would shoot up and/or the dollar would fall, and the economy would take on a very troubled look.
Even more important, is concern in Dubai about the future of the dollar. With the world’s central banks flooded with dollars, many observers are beginning to predict a major dollar devaluation. Indeed, several Gulf countries are already hedging their dollar exposure by holding equivalent amounts of Euros. There is even talk of beginning to price oil in something other than dollars, perhaps a basket of currencies like the dollar, euro, and yen, for example. Indeed, as the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries move toward a common currency in 2010, many observers believe they will increasingly sell their dollar reserves for other reserve currencies, thereby putting constant downward pressure on the value of the dollar and hastening the day when it will cease to be the world’s currency.
This gap between American and foreign perceptions of reality is dangerous and needs to be closed as rapidly as possible. It’s time the U.S. media and think tanks began presenting a picture of reality seen through the eyes of people on the ground rather than through the eyes of Washington officials.
Clyde Prestowitz is President of the Economic Strategy Institute and the author most recently of Three Billion New Capitalists; The Great Shift of Wealth and Power to the East.

Comments

7 comments on “Clyde Prestowitz: The View From Dubai

  1. abby dreet says:

    nottingham escort abliss,no1,escort nottingham nottingham uk escort all level
    the best nottingham escort uk no holes barred nottingham escort [uk escort] nottingham anal escort .uk bb escort nottingham cim nottingham ws
    anal nottingham [cim swollow nottingham escort] midlands escort for you abliss midlands escort number1
    independent,midlands,escorts,uk can be found all over the internet but the best independent midlands uk escort is me i offer a all night nottingham escort service i am a independent escort my fees are very good for the independent escorts of nottingham
    look around my site you will see that notiinghams escort and massage service nottingham the number one lady
    is abliss,midlands,escort and pornstar

    Reply

  2. Hydrocodone says:

    Welcome to Great Blog here!

    Reply

  3. free sex site says:

    Hi, very interesting site. I really like it.
    http://junky.phpnet.us/pittsburgh_adult_dating.html pittsburgh adult dating http://junky.phpnet.us/xxx_picture_of_indian_actress.html xxx picture of indian actress http://junky.phpnet.us/sex_movie_download.html sex movie download http://junky.phpnet.us/disney_jasmine_xxx.html disney jasmine xxx http://junky.phpnet.us/adult_friend_finding.html adult friend finding http://junky.phpnet.us/free_avi_porn_movie.html free avi porn movie http://junky.phpnet.us/teen_gay_cum.html teen gay cum http://junky.phpnet.us/disney_free_walt_xxx.html disney free walt xxx http://junky.phpnet.us/gay_military_cock.html gay military cock http://junky.phpnet.us/first_lesbian_sex_time.html first lesbian sex time http://junky.phpnet.us/adult_videos.html adult videos http://junky.phpnet.us/adult_diaper.html adult diaper http://junky.phpnet.us/anal_cum_shot_gallery.html anal cum shot gallery http://junky.phpnet.us/movie_shark_porn.html movie shark porn http://junky.phpnet.us/black_monique_porn_star_xxx_xxx.html black monique porn star xxx xxx http://junky.phpnet.us/free_adult_story_hot.html free adult story hot http://junky.phpnet.us/free_interracial_lesbian_video.html free interracial lesbian video http://junky.phpnet.us/anal_com_free_gay_hardcore_porn_sex_twinks_xxx.html anal com free gay hardcore porn sex twinks xxx http://junky.phpnet.us/adult_flash_game.html adult flash game http://junky.phpnet.us/teen_lesbian_pic.html teen lesbian pic http://junky.phpnet.us/telugu_sex_story.html telugu sex story http://junky.phpnet.us/free_xxx_teen_picture.html free xxx teen picture http://junky.phpnet.us/gay_cum_bath.html gay cum bath http://junky.phpnet.us/adult_sex_swinger.html adult sex swinger http://junky.phpnet.us/anal_lesbian_video.html anal lesbian video

    Reply

  4. popup blocker says:

    Hi, very interesting site. I really like it.
    http://stop-popups.awardspace.com/blocker_pop_stop_up/ blocker pop stop up http://stop-popups.awardspace.com/viking_pop_up_camper/ viking pop up camper http://stop-popups.awardspace.com/ads_microsoft_pop_stop_up/ ads microsoft pop stop up http://stop-popups.awardspace.com/popup_stopping/ popup stopping http://stop-popups.awardspace.com/free_pop_up_blocker_software/ free pop up blocker software http://stop-popups.awardspace.com/replacement_canvas_for_popup_camper/ replacement canvas for popup camper http://stop-popups.awardspace.com/block_free_popup/ block free popup http://stop-popups.awardspace.com/pop_up_camper_part/ pop up camper part http://stop-popups.awardspace.com/internet_explorer_pop_up_blocker/ internet explorer pop up blocker http://stop-popups.awardspace.com/pop_up_game/ pop up game http://stop-popups.awardspace.com/popup_trafficsolution/ popup trafficsolution http://stop-popups.awardspace.com/spyware_popup/ spyware popup http://stop-popups.awardspace.com/pop_up_window/ pop up window http://stop-popups.awardspace.com/best_killer_popup/ best killer popup http://stop-popups.awardspace.com/blocker_pop_sbc_up/ blocker pop sbc up http://stop-popups.awardspace.com/pop_up_blocker_setting/ pop up blocker setting http://stop-popups.awardspace.com/free_msn_popup_stopper/ free msn popup stopper http://stop-popups.awardspace.com/blocker_explorer_pop_up/ blocker explorer pop up http://stop-popups.awardspace.com/blocker_popup_pro_super/ blocker popup pro super http://stop-popups.awardspace.com/popup_download/ popup download

    Reply

  5. Mythbuster says:

    Has anyone analyzed how economically dependent our country is becoming on war making? That might be the best predictor of future policy.

    Reply

  6. susan says:

    the elephant in the room, of course, is the manifest unfairness of the US position vis a vis Israel/Palestine. as long as we are sen supporting Israel’s might against the plight of the Palestinian people and their national aspirations, there is no credibility for the notion of “American democracy.” we are simply serving our own interests whie perpetuating an injustice against an entire people.

    Reply

  7. weldon berger says:

    Mr. Prestowitz, I’m curious as to what makes it clear that the Bush administration are already planning a pullout from Iraq, or perhaps more accurately, that they’ll execute one even if they have a plan to do so. From here, the continuing investment in large permanent bases and the maintenance of troop levels at more or less what they’ve been for three years now seems to speak against that view.

    Reply

Add your comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *