Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Friedman: Dubai and Dunces

Thomas Friedman, writing of “Dubai and Dunces” says, “Dubai is where we should want the Arab world to go. Unfortunately, we just told Dubai to go to hell.” Excuse me? I thought that where Bush wants the Arab world to go (or so he says) is in the direction of democracy. Economic transparency may be a desirable landmark in that direction, but it is not the final destination. Dubai refers to its head of state as “the ruler” and maintains the world’s largest secret police presence per capita. Or is it the economic success of Dubai and, on a far larger scale, China, that we want, never mind noisy democracy? Indeed, is that now what we want for ourselves? I’m sure it's not what Friedman wants, but when he advances his “flat world” thesis he needs to be more careful of the implications for democracy.