This morning on ABC’s This Week, Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) argued that concern over the Dubai port sale is misplaced since the UAE is freer than that beacon of liberty, China.
I think our priorities are misplaced. We’ve got a tremendous crisis in Iraq, that I’m happy to say the religious clerics have stood up against this violence. We’ve got the Iranian threat. We have got Nigerian oil at stake. We had an attack on a Saudi oil installation. We’ve got some very, very big issues that I think are perhaps more important than whether a country that’s freer than China should have control of some of our terminals.
According to the Freedom House’s 2006 Global Survey of Political Rights and Civil Liberties, China scores the worst rating (7) for political rights and a 6 for civil liberties. Overall, it receives a rating of “Not Free.” It’s actually a feat to be less free than China — only 7 countries of 192 do it.
The UAE is also rated “Not Free,” scoring a 6 for both political rights and civil liberties. Some other human rights bastions who are “freer than China”: Iran, the Congo, Cote d’Iviore, and Rwanda.
Bottom line: There are reasonable arguments for why the ports sale should go through. Freedom in the United Arab Emirates is not one of them.