I'd have no problem with building a high-tech nation within a few years, if I'd actually be seeing some real progress, but I don't. I'm seriously sceptical of Dubai and its likes gaining critical mass and actually building sustainable societies
The prince of Dubai would be well advised to use all that money of his of building universities, implementing basic human rights and getting a modern society going and perhaps building a modern armed force to defend it. Since it doesn't look that way, I'm not placing my bets to high on this whole Dubai thing.
Eh? Dubai's leadership has been doing exactly the things you say you would like to see. Well, except militarizing their economy - and this is arguably a good thing. Progress since independence from the British in 1971 has been astounding: when the British left in 1971, illiteracy was >70%, life expectancy a bit over 50 years, and there were no universities. Illiteracy is now 7.5%, life expectancy is 76.7 years, and Dubai has between 50 and 60 colleges and universities. Oil revenues now contribute less than 7% of GDP, and the country has become a huge international financial and transshipping center. Development of luxury (and non-luxury) skyscrapers, hotels, and vast artificial islands, etc., is almost unbelievable. There are about 25 free trade "innovation zones", where the government is working to get critical masses of private companies - they are in fact highly capitalistic - to work together to create the same magic that we saw in the US in Silicon Valley and the Route 128 areas. The government is one of the most stable in the region, and it is showing remarkable and sustained insight in how to drive progress. Plus there is a lot of tolerance for Western ideas - in fact, Western civil law is used in the innovation zones, not Sharia law. There are, I am sure, things to criticize about Dubai, just as there are about many other countries. But they are getting far more things right, and in a big way, than most other places. The best reason to visit is that it will blow away your preconceptions; I recommend this highly.