Building the world’s tallest building is a sign of confidence and optimism. Throughout the 20th century, the United States kept building the biggest skyscrapers in the world. Stalin planned one that would have been the biggest, on the site of the Cathedral of Christ the Saviour in Moscow, but he never got around to building it. In the last decade, the push to build the world’s tallest building shifted to the happening east coast of Asia: Kuala Lumpur, Taipei, Shanghai. I saw the site for the next one after Shanghai in June last year. It’s in Dubai. They are building big stuff because they have big dreams. They are confident about their future in a globalised economy. They are not going to shut themselves off in some islamic autarchy.
That was the vote in the United States senate to stop a company owned by the government of Dubai from operating ports in the United States. That means that 98% of the United States Senate are more clueless than Dubya about how to engage with moderate Muslims. This is either really really scary, if you think that Dubya is a principled and intelligent statesman, or almost unbelievably terrifyingly apocalyptically scary, if you still think he is a knuckle-dragging redneck.