Mohammed bin Zayed has managed to avoid pushback as he charts an independent course. But that quality may be fraying at the edges.
The United Arab Emirates resembles US ‘Teflon President’ Ronald Reagan.
Congresswoman Pat Schroeder awarded Mr. Reagan the label because nothing stuck to him while he was president in the 1980s — not the recession, not his interventions in Lebanon that cost the lives of 241 US Marines, not his plunging job approval rating.
UAE President Mohammed bin Zayed doesn’t need to worry about performance ratings. His Teflon quality is the lack of pushback he encounters as he charts an independent course that sometimes puts him at odds with the United States, the UAE’s long-standing ally and security guarantor.
The UAE’s Teflon coating has long dampened the effect of allegations of loose money laundering and sanction compliance controls and human rights abuses, and repeated revelations about covert surveillance and monitoring operations beyond the country’s borders.
However, the Teflon shield, the product of one of the Middle East’s most successful nation branding campaigns, may be fraying at the edges.
Recent leaks involving a cache of 78,000 internal documents illustrated how a Swiss company operated by a former intelligence agent sought to destroy the reputations of some 1,000 people, including activists, journalists, and politicians, and 400 organisations in 18 European countries.
Read more at responsiblestatecraft.org