Since Engel's point was that things must stay as they are, it's not likely that the NBC reporter's words will cause much controversy–certainly things would be different if he'd have given an equally impassioned rationale for cutting off aid to Egypt's military government.
"Islamists…lack the mental equipment to govern," New York Times columnist David Brooks writes today (7/5/13). "Incompetence is built into the intellectual DNA of radical Islam." Now, Brooks has been known to cite eugenicist Steve Sailer on "white fertility rates" (12/7/04; Extra!, 4/05). But let's give him the benefit of the doubt and assume that rather than making a racist argument, he's simply appearing to be racist as a metaphor (as when he wrote recently that interracial marriage was producing a "nation of mutts"–6/27/13). So he's saying, then, that Islamists govern as if they were biologically inferior. And his evidence for […]
Fareed Zakaria in his latest Washington Post column argues that pro-democracy movements would be better off with less democracy. To Zakaria, Egypt tried too much democracy too soon. "In Jordan, by contrast, the king did not rush to hold elections"– shocking!–but instead "appointed a council to propose changes to the constitution."
Surveying international reaction to Barack Obama's re-election, NBC Nightly News correspondent Richard Engel declared (11/7/12): In the Middle East, there is hope that President Obama will embrace the Israeli/Palestinian peace process in second term the way he embraced the Arab Spring in his first. This would be a surprising reaction to find among people in the Middle East, given that Obama did not really "embrace" the Arab Spring. Consider Egypt, arguably the most high-profile uprising; the original White House response was to stand by dictator Hosni Mubarak. The White House continues to support the regime in Bahrain. And it's likely […]
Fareed Zakaria wrote in Time magazine (4/16/12) that "the Arab Spring is looking less appealing by the week." The problem is a "messier reality," and he zeroes in on Egypt: And now, as Egypt's presidential election approaches, we see the rise of two candidates from Islamic parties, Khairat al-Shater and Hazem Salah Abu Ismail. The former is often described as a moderate, the latter as a radical. Much of what we're seeing might well be the tumult that accompanies the end of decades of tyranny and the rise of long-suppressed forces, but it raises the question, Why does it seem […]
A cover that declares a "War on Christians" is bound to get some attention. Writing in the February 12 issue of Newsweek, author Ayaan Hirsi Ali's argument is just as blunt. Enough with all this talk "about Muslims as victims of abuse," because really it's the other way around: A wholly different kind of war is underway–an unrecognized battle costing thousands of lives. Christians are being killed in the Islamic world because of their religion. It is a rising genocide that ought to provoke global alarm. To suggest that a genocide is underway is, of course, a serious charge. And […]
The coverage of the Israeli attacks on Gaza is following some predictable patterns. The New York Times has a headline today (8/26/11), "Israeli Strikes in Retaliation Kill Nine Gazans." Readers should ask: Retaliation for what? It's widely understood that this violence stems from the attack last week in the southern Israeli town of Eilat. As the Times puts it: "The recent round of violence started a week ago, with a terrorist attack on southern Israel in which eight Israelis were killed." The real question, though, is who committed these acts. The Times says: Israeli officials said the perpetrators and planners […]
Here's the headline and subhead in a Newsweek piece (7/10/11) about the Egyptian presidential election: Egypt's Rising Power Player Amr Moussa is on track to succeed Mubarak. And that spells danger for Israel. Reporter Dan Ephron characterizes Moussa like this: "long and vocal history of anti-Israel diatribes" "his anger against Israel" "one of Israel's most relentless detractors in Egypt" "He confronted Israelis at conferences and attacked them in television interviews" "His tirades even made him the subject of a hit song" "his longstanding dislike of Israel" "anger at Israel is genuine" This would be a lot more convincing if there […]
If you feel like there hasn't been enough attention paid to the fact that the democratic movements in the Arab world are undermining the power of U.S. elites to have troublemakers tortured and/or killed, rest assured that Newsweek's Christopher Dickey has you covered this week (6/12/11): Among American spies there's more than a little nostalgia for the bad old days. You know, back before dictators started toppling in the Middle East; back when suspected bad guys could be snatched off a street somewhere and delivered to the not-so-tender mercies of interrogators in their home countries; back when thuggish tyrants, however […]
The New York Times' David Kirkpatrick filed a report today (4/29/11) on one apparent problem with the move towards democracy in Egypt–the country might pursue policies more in line with what the Egyptian public supports. The most important news here is that Egyptdoesn't want to maintain a blockade on its border with Gaza. In the Times,this newsis filtered through the perspective of Israel– thusthe headline: In Shift, Egypt Warms to Iran and Hamas, Israel's Foes And then there is this description of the crippling economic blockade that was enforced with the help of the Mubarak regime: Israel had relied on […]
The Washington Post yesterday (2/13/11): Mubarak Resignation Throws Into Question U.S./Egyptian Counterterrorism Work By Mary Beth Sheridan and Joby Warrick Washington Post Staff Writers Sunday, February 13, 2011; A01 For decades, Egypt's government has been a critical partner for U.S. intelligence agencies, sharing information on extremist groups such as al-Qaeda and working hand in glove on counterterrorism operations. Now the future of that cooperation is in question. That "work" and "cooperation" includes, among other things, rendition and torture. It'd be more helpful if this were made clear from the outset, instead of being mentioned in the 11th paragraph of the […]
It might be hard for you to imagine covering the democratic uprising in Egypt as a way to reflect upon all the wise things you've written in the past. But you're not Tom Friedman. He wrote today (New York Times, 2/11/11): I spent part of the morning in the square watching and photographing a group of young Egyptian students wearing plastic gloves taking garbage in both hands and neatly scooping it into black plastic bags to keep the area clean. This touched me in particular because more than once in this column I have quoted the aphorism that "in the […]