Want to understand the real Middle East? Then pay attention to the following. Let’s say an important and outspoken Gulf Arab gave a frank and thoughtful assessment of the region’s security problems. What would he say and what would that tell you? And how would that differ from the stereotypes of what Arabs—especially non-Islamist Arab leaders—think as presented by the Western media and academia?
In fact, Dahi Khalfan Tamim recently gave such a speech. He is the respected police chief of Dubai. I don’t agree that everything he says reflects reality but I believe—and there is plenty of other evidence for this assertion–that everything he says reflects what the Gulf Arab elite thinks.
First, let’s quote President Barack Obama’s State of the Union message:
“The United States [is] safer and more respected around the world.”
Is America seen as weak and unreliable? No, says Obama:
“That’s not the message we get from leaders around the world, all of whom are eager to work with us. That’s not how people feel from Tokyo to Berlin; from Capetown to Rio; where opinions of America are higher than they’ve been in years.”
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