Regarding American right-wing paranoia over the street protesters in Cairo (Glenn Beck calls them “rioters”), Jonathan Chait of the New Republic nails it:
[W]hat’s fascinating is the emergence [among the right] of a strain of paranoid anti-Islamism that lumps together Iran, Mohammed ElBaradei, and the Obama administration.
And Chait offers Hudson Institute fellow Anne Bayefsky as a nice example. Here she is writing for Fox News:
In the name of democratic reform, Mohammed El Baradei is doing his best to appear as the annointed one to succeed Egyptian President Hosni Mubarek, should the government fall. In reality, El Baradei has more in common with Iranian demagogue Mahmoud Ahmadinejad than anything remotely resembling democracy.
So here’s the narrative the nihilistic and Herderian American right is driving on Egypt:
- drip with cynicism toward a genuinely secular democratic movement leader (Mohamed ElBaradei);
- engage in broad brush stereotypes of Muslims, making Egypt out to be dominated by the Muslim Brotherhood;
- link ElBaradei to our most grievous enemy (Mahmoud Ahmadinejad);
- back a dictator against legitimate popular complaint; and
- link President Obama to the “rioters.”
To return to reality, here’s a brief bit from a New York Times report this weekend that describes the actual politics on the ground in Egypt:
Osama Moustafa Hassan Nasr, a Muslim cleric known as Abu Omar, said that many conservative Muslims would not support a secular politician like Mohamed ElBaradei, the Nobel Prize winner and former head of the International Atomic Energy Agency. “ElBaradei and the others, they have no connection to religion. If Hosni Mubarak goes, they will replace him with someone else like him,” said Abu Omar, . . .
So religious conservatives in Egypt and religious conservatives in America dislike and distrust the secular, highly educated, and internationally travelled Nobel Prize winner, Mohamed ElBaradei.
That’s interesting, isn’t it?