Why Dubai is about to win the Expo 2020 bid
The countdown has begun in earnest for the final vote on determining the host city for Expo 2020. In November, the Paris-based Bureau of International Expositions will decide whether Dubai, the Turkish city of Izmir, the Brazilian city of Sao Paulo or the Russian city of Yekaterinburg will host the 2020 Expo.
The case for Dubai received a significant boost last week with the New York Times suggesting that the emirate was the frontrunner — and deservedly so. If the delegates who will ultimately decide the destination city need any more convincing, let them look no further than the political events of the past six months.
Turkey has been wrenched asunder by anti-government rioting over the construction of a shopping mall in central Istanbul — admittedly on a historically significant site. But let us not forget — and the delegates should recall too — the protest turning into weeks of anti-administration rioting. The footage of the riot police employing high handed tactics against protestors, many of them women, in Istanbul will not be easily forgotten. Imagine, if you will for one minute, how Turkish police would react to the slightest protest in Izmir. And with events in Syria unfolding at an hourly rate, is Turkey really a viable host?
In Russia, political tensions are also running high. With Russia playing host to the next winter Olympics and the football World Cup in 2018, awarding it the Expo will certainly seem unfair — and dangerous, given the government’s efforts to stamp out voices opposed to Vladimir Putin.
The voting delegates need also keep in mind that preparations for the recent Confederations Cup in Brazil — a precursor to the 2014 World Cup — resulted in widespread rioting, social unrest and a renewed commitment from the government there that it would do more to alleviate social and political grievances vented by the demonstrators.
Let the delegates remember this: The UAE is a safe haven, unruffled by social, economic and political turbulence. Dubai is the only safe choice.