Thursday, February 16, 2012
By Barry Rubin
What's so terrible about the ideological/agenda-based domination of the mass media and academia is that people don't ask critical questions that undermine their political positions. Here's one:
The Egyptian government says it will put on criminal trial 16 people who distributed funds to Egyptian moderates from pro-democracy forces. One of them is the son of U.S. Labor Secretary Ray LaHood. The prosecutions are going forward despite Obama Administration threats to cut off all aid to Egypt, which mostly goes to the Egyptian military which happens to run the country at present.
So here's the question: If Egypt's government is ready for a confrontation risking its U.S. aid over this tiny and insignificant issue then why should we believe that the fear of losing U.S. aid will keep it from imposing Islamization on its people, sponsoring anti-Israel terrorism, becoming entangled in a war with Israel, and doing all sorts of much more important stuff?
Haven't seen that anywhere else, right? But doesn't this incident undercut all of the soothing words about how Egypt (or Libya or other countries taken over by Islamists) will be constrained by such things?
And here's a bonus question: Does anyone in those Islamist circles take Obama seriously as someone to fear?
Now if you are a real moderate in the Arabic-speaking world, Turkey, or Iran, you know that your future looks very dim. You don't draw your interpretations from the Western media. You don't tremble at being thought an Islamophobe because you probably are a Muslim yourself. So what do you do?
Another email arrives in my box. Things are getting too tough for a secular-oriented person like me, the writr says. Can you help find me a job in a place that still has academic freedom?
I already have a collection of such messages and stories. There’s the engineer who found a teaching job in China; the journalist who is now in sub-Saharan Africa after being threatened with death; and the newly arrived Turkish Jews I’ve met in England, Canada, and the United States who have no illusions about the nature of the Ankara regime.
Suddenly, there are communities of thousands of Egyptian Christians in Europe, the United States, and Canada who weren’t there a little while ago. There is the well-known blogger who is now in the New World and the democracy activist who has jumped out of the fire and into Washington DC.
And then there are the people who are talking about getting out....