Q. Can a Harvard Phi Beta Kappa and Rhodes Scholar, who has traveled to 150 countries and speaks Arabic, Chinese and Japanese, be hopelessly naive about foreign policy?
A. Ever read one of Nicholas Kristof's columns?
For the trendy liberals of the New York Times, most any big event becomes fodder for that favorite progressive parlor game: putting America down. Take Egypt. Yesterday, we noted how Bob Herbert compared American democracy unfavorably with that supposedly flourishing on the banks of the Nile.
Today brings us Kristof's "What Egypt Can Teach America." Naturally, we have a lot to learn, starting with Kristof's command that America must "stop treating Islamic fundamentalism as a bogyman and allowing it to drive American foreign policy." Kristof accuses Americans of "paranoia about Islamism." Excellent point, Mr. K. I mean, it's not as if a bunch of lunatic Islamists hijacked planes and flew them into . . . oh, wait.
Kristof wasn't finished criticizing his compatriots, claiming that "too many Americans bought into a lazy stereotype that Arab countries were inhospitable for democracy, or that the beneficiaries of popular rule would be extremists like Osama bin Laden. Tunisians and Egyptians have shattered that stereotype."
Sterotype, really? Guess that's one way to describe a thousand-plus years of inalterably authoritarian rule in Arab lands. A stereotype that Tunisians and Egyptians have "shattered"? Oh. So tell us, dear Nicholas, ten years from now, will democracy in North Africa more closely resemble that in Switzerland, or Sweden? Just wondering.
Note: Kristof seems to suffer an acute case of oikophobia, an affliction that the Wall Street Journal's James Taranto has described.