The Tipping Point? It’s More Like A Long, Downhill Slide
Jim Geraghty over at TKS, along with Glenn Reynolds, have been the two leading proponents of an idea that’s gaining some traction in the blogosphere: that the port sale represents a tipping point in American politics because for the first time, Americans are no longer willing to trust Muslims. Moreover, oddly enough, they both seem to have come to the conclusion that Bush’s reaction to the Danish cartoon controversy has a lot to do with this, “tipping point.”
I can’t say that I agree.
To begin with, while the main objection that people have to the port deal is that they don’t trust foreign Muslims from the UAE with our security, that’s not something new. There hasn’t been a day that has passed since 9/11 that the American people would have been OK with a company from the UAE taking charge of our port security — it has just never been a political issue until now.
Furthermore, although like Jim and Glenn, I believe that this deal is not a security risk because Dubai Ports World will only be handling stevedoring duties, I don’t think it’s irrational to be concerned about having people from the UAE in a position where they could do great damage to our security.
Granted, the UAE is an ally in the war on terror, but undeniably, a significant percentage of their population is sympathetic to Al-Qaeda. If Dubai Ports World were actually handling security, it seems likely that a number of people who’d like to see us dead would be in a good position to help make that happen whether their government was allied with us not.
Now, that being said, the level of hostility towards Muslims has in my opinion skyrocketed in the United States, especially over the last couple of years. However, that’s not because of George Bush, it’s because nary a day passes without reading about some Muslim committing a horrible atrocity in the name of Allah while screeching Imams demand more bloodbaths in front of packed houses at Mosques around the world. Meanwhile, the reaction from Muslim “moderates” has been muted at best. Maybe that’s because they’re afraid of the radicals. Maybe they are speaking up in great numbers and the media’s ignoring them.
Or — or — maybe a lot of “moderate” Muslim just don’t have that big of a problem with blowing up school buses full of Jews, cutting off the heads of European hostages, or blowing up a train full of Spaniards. Hopefully, that’s not the case, but it’s hard for people to miss the fact that there are huge crowds of Muslims gathering all over the world to protest a cartoon that was published in Denmark, but few Muslims seem interested in demonstrating against the terrorist attacks committed in the name of Islam against “the infidels.”
Again, maybe the media’s ignoring those voices of dissent or the moderates are just afraid, but the fact that the extremists are very loud and heard from frequently while the “moderates” speak softly and seem to be seldom heard is having a real affect on people’s perceptions of Islam.
Does that mean we’re reached a, “tipping point?” Actually, I’d say it’s more like a long, downhill slide, that’s apt to continue unless “moderate” Muslims start loudly and continuously speaking up. There are Muslims out there doing exactly that, but they could use a lot more company. Of course, people have been pointing that out since 9/11 and we haven’t seen much of an improvement in the situation, so it doesn’t seem to be likely that we’re going back up that mountain any time soon — and that’s really too bad for everyone concerned.