This is a sad story. Egypt is in chaos, and American citizens are being prevented from leaving the country on the pretext of their activities constituting triable foreign interference.
By that, authorities mean non-jihadist interference. Such is the Muslim Brotherhood's dedication to democratic politics that favors only it.
One of the Americans who has been blocked from leaving Egypt and may be charged is Sam LaHood—the son of U.S. Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood—who works for the Republican Institute in Cairo.
The sad irony is that these groups are the good guys—people trying to encourage a free press, freedom to worship and political tolerance. Yet the military government can't seem to understand its own interest in allowing the development of political voices other than the Muslim Brotherhood and Salafists.
Sadly, the current Administration can't seem to understand either that these bulwarks of democratic capitalism need to be nourished, protected and defended with a friendly but strong arm if need be. They don't survive on their own, and didn't, even in America.
I am disappointed, but not surprised, that this foreign policy debacle, which exposes American citizens abroad to the specter of detention and arrest, is not more critically commented upon by the mainstream media. It's not as if we didn't help bring it about by our flaccid posture to events occurring in Egypt and throughout the Arab world.
Am I the only person that this incident reminds of the American Embassy in Tehran? Or, do we need to see pictures of blindfolded and hand-tied Americans before getting worried?
The Egyptian investigation into the work of the nonprofit groups is closely linked to the political turmoil that has engulfed the nation since the ouster a year ago of President Hosni Mubarak, a U.S. ally who ruled Egypt for nearly 30 years.
The military rulers, who have tried to deflect criticism by claiming that "foreign hands" are behind protests against their rule, frequently depict the protesters as receiving funds from abroad in a plot to destabilize the country.
One might think that these claims were drawn from the communist playbook, given their echo of Vladimir Putin's demagoguery. Perhaps it's more than a coincidence that tyrants the world over are buoyed and emboldened by American weakness.
If this had happened while President Bush was in office--which didn't because of his strength, and resolve to keep America strong--we would have been hearing of these groundings daily, minutely. They would have been proffered as evidence of American impotence in the middle east.
But, President Obama gets a free pass. The media is too fixated on his foreign policy triumph--allowing the Seals to kill Osama Bin Laden--and is too busy preparing for the election-eve release of a Hollywood movie glorifying the event (starring Sean Penn and Alec Baldwin?) to distract the public with the din of downbeat news.
After all, chaos in the Arab world, and American incompetence abroad, is not his fault. It's George Bush's, and the evil Republicans'.
Moreover, President Obama has the all-important business of running for re-election to tend to. His vision of the country's interest is more lofty, and his Statist program too important, to let little things like citizens detained abroad or cuts in the nation's credit rating blur his focus.
Saul Alinsky didn't write any chapters on how to run a country. It's a pity for the American electorate that the great revolutionary's single-minded obsession was to taking power by any means necessary.
What's a poor community organizer to do? President Obama will have to write a third autobiography to tell us what he learned on the job at the nation's expense (and with Michelle's vacations, I mean expense in more ways than one): "Rules for Radical's II: Liberal Intolerance At Home, Liberal Indulgence Abroad.
If the press made noise, he might not be around to preside over another four years of self-induced American decline. Even worse, Hilary Clinton's incompetence might be exposed.
We can't have that. The media is too invested in the illusion of President Obama and Secretary Clinton's all-knowing, all-feeling wisdom, brilliance and goodness to jeopardize things now.
Yet, this is a very grave offense by the Egyptian regime, and they seem to be relishing in it.
Egypt's decision to push ahead on the case despite weeks of U.S. entreaties for the release of the Americans represents what is certain to be seen in Washington as an aggressive expression of anti-Americanism.Actually, it will be seen that way everywhere, not only in Washington, as that is the way it is intended.
Secretary Clinton is threatening to cut off $1.5 billion in aid annually. But, an unfriendly and vindictive anti-American regime might be able to replace that amount, or garner a larger one, directly from the Chinese instead of indirectly through our borrowing from them.
How has it come to this?
Egyptian prosectors have accused the entities, which are financed by Congress, of operating in Egypt without a license.
But the country heads of both IRI and NDI said that the government has ignored their repeated applications for official accreditation. NDI, for its part, has operated openly, working with the ministry of foreign affairs and even helping to monitor parliamentary elections late last year.
Egypt's government has gradually tightened the screws on U.S.-based NGOs over the past few months.
In late December, prosecutors ordered raids on the offices of at least 10 NGOs. Attorneys backed by police and military special forces searched the offices, confiscated computers and cash and sealed them shut.
Last month, Mr. LaHood was told that Egyptian prosecutors put him on a no-fly list when he attempted to board a flight to Doha, Qatar. Subsequent government statements revealed that at least six Americans are now forbidden to leave Egypt.
Rising fear that the Egyptian government would arrest the foreign NGO workers led at least three American workers to seek refuge in the U.S. Embassy in Cairo last week.It's a good thing that the Obama Administration threw Hosni Mubarak's government under the bus. Just think, if we hadn't turned our backs on an albeit imperfect ally, and allowed the Muslim Brotherhood take control of the situation, the Egyptian people might never have tasted such glorious freedom.