Home | News & Opinion | Looking for a model for peace and prosperity in the Arab Middle East? Look no further than UAE.

Looking for a model for peace and prosperity in the Arab Middle East? Look no further than UAE.

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Looking for a model for peace and prosperity in the Arab Middle East?  Look no further than UAE.

Abu Dhabi and Dubai show what moderation looks like.

It’s always interesting, and sometimes exasperating, to read journalistic commentary on a subject you know fairly well.  Most middle market executives have experienced this in the context of how business and the economy works.  Tell the truth:  How many times have you had violently homicidal urges when reading or listening to so-called “experts” on business or the economy in the media?  The superficiality and often downright ignorance of these “experts” is sometimes painfully obvious to people who actually make the economy run – i.e., those who run businesses. 

However, in this case, I must applaud Middle East expert Daniel Pipes for his excellent article on the success of the United Arab Emirates, in particular the emirates of Dubai and Abu Dhabi, and its potential to act as a role model for other Arab states in dealing with the challenges of modernity.

At a time of civil war, anarchy, extremism, and impoverishment in the Middle East, the city-states of Dubai and Abu Dhabi stand out as the places where Arabic speakers are flourishing, innovating, and offering a model for moving forward.


The country has been doubly blessed: oil and gas abundance along with a smart and commercially minded group of leaders. The former gives the country immense resources; the latter keeps it out of harm’s way, free of ideological extremism, with a focus on the economy. The result looks and feels like a basically happy place, especially as the lot of immigrant laborers is improving.

To me, perhaps the UAE’s most noteworthy feature is the entrepôt quality of Dubai, which resembles a Middle Eastern version of Hong Kong. I was also impressed by the innovative religious spirit (where else does one find prayer rooms separated by gender?) and the cultural playfulness (building condos that resemble Yemeni-style high-rises, wearing traditional clothing one day and Western style the next).

As someone who has had business interests in Dubai for over a decade, I was impressed by Pipes’ comparison of Dubai to Hong Kong, as it’s something I’ve been conveying to friends and colleagues for years.  While I am less familiar with Abu Dhabi, I can say with some confidence that his depiction of Dubai is spot on.

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Angus DuBois
Angus DuBois
Angus DuBois is the nom de plume of an entrepreneur of 20 years who, in cowardly fashion, prefers to keep his/her business identity a secret. Comments can be forwarded to angus@nexxuspublishing.com.

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