Dubai always appeared to be smoke and mirrors and, sadly, that’s what it may turn out to be.
The city-state backs debts totalling $80 billion with another few billion still on the architect’s table.
Dubai seemed to be trying to buy the Olympic ideals of ‘Swifter, Higher, Stronger’ with cheap foreign labour and ever more garish projects. It was fascinating to watch … and weird, the very epitome of the nouveau riche run amuck.
$80 billion probably won’t be all that hard for the Sheiks to come up with but the colossal debt will tarnish a little of the lustre of a place that always seemed way too opulent to be real.
We don’t wish any ill will on Dub-ians but while they enjoyed the joy of the get-rich thrill of a Neverland, so we can take a slight satisfaction in the inevitable victory of common sense.
It’s a shame that the antic of a few are threatening financial markets around the world but there is even a neat symmetry to that. Smoke and mirrors can cover a lot of sins.