What the heck is a United Emirate?

In either the issue of Mental Floss that is on the stands right now, or the issue that is being removed from the stands right now to make way for a brand new issue…

… there’s an answer to the question of What the heck is a United Arab Emirate? It’s a good question, and one I doubt you’ve thought much about whenever the UAE has floated itself into the news cycle (as it has right now).

The United Arab Emirates are a confederacy of seven emir-controlled nations. The boundaries on which emir controls what part of the UAE are loose and fudged: when the British tried to map out the boundaries, they failed and threw up their hands. Simply put, one person throws their allegiance to one emir; his neighbor throws his allegiance to a different emir, and his neighbor throws his allegiance to the emir that the first person throws his allegiance to. If 2 out of 3 people in the region obeys the one emir, that still leaves that 1 out of 3 who obesys that other emir, right? So, what emir controls that stretch of the UAE?

Sigh.

Any way, I’m thinking that George W Bush is a crypto-isolationist. He’s working to make “Isolationism” look good with compared to the current way of working with the world. The selling of bases to the UAE is part of that strategy. There’s a bit of a revolt spewing, and frankly this would be a no-brainer for Republican politicians to stand against — it does indeed dove-tail into the party’s stated principles and the principles of their (xenophobic) constituency… as well as being the right stand, naturally. (Do you trust the United Arab Emirates?)

What stands is the Congress’s way, and the reason that they will in the end crumble and give way to Bush, is that they are an exceedingly lame bunch. That being said, I do wonder about something on how this is unfolding. Bush threatens to veto any bill designed to stop the sale of these ports to the UAE. Shouldn’t the scale of power be that the Congress is the branch of government that allows for the sale? Imperial Presidency, indeed!

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