AmericaEgypt

by Patrick Appel

Reihan emphasizes that America's government and America are not the same thing:

In the contemporary United States, the entire population does not feel as though the national security apparatus speaks for them. This was always true, of course. But now the dissenting minority can actually exercise “soft power” of its own, through the deployment of philanthropic resources, knowledge capital, etc. Americans aren’t just embedded in diaspora-based “brain circulation” networks. They are embedded in free software “brain circulation” networks, the WikiLeaks movement,  social enterprise networks, increasingly cosmopolitan evangelical religious networks, and many other networks that are based on shared affinities, ideologies, etc., and not on shared ethnolinguistic background or nationalist loyalties.

He goes on:

So when idiots on the Internet tell me that America is to blame for Hosni Mubarak, I have to ask, which America and which Americans? The America that Egyptian authorities are blaming for sponsoring and protecting a handful of young Egyptian democracy activists who may well be at the center of the disturbance? U.S. think tanks like the American Enterprise Institute that publish books like Reuel Marc Gerecht’s The Islamic Paradox that make the explicit case that (a) democratization in the Arab Middle East will lead to anti-U.S. and anti-Israel governments and that (b) this is nevertheless a crucial first step to more decent, humane societies in the region that the United States government should support?

(Photo: People demonstrate in support of the Egyptian people's protests against the regime of President Hosni Mubarak in front of the Egyptian embassy in Washington on January 29, 2011. By Nicholas Kamm/AFP/Getty Images)

We want to hear what you think about this article. Submit a letter to the editor or write to letters@theatlantic.com.