Cairo Review No. 7
Cairo was dark when U.S. Representative Patricia Schroeder stepped off the plane in Egypt. Very dark. It was the beginning of the 1973 Middle East war, Israeli forces had reached Kilometer 101, and the capital was under a blackout.
Dispense with the notion that archives are endless rows of cabinets where bespectacled historians pour over dusty, yellowed records.
Two hours beforehand, a crowd was already pressing the gate outside Ewart Hall on the Tahrir Square campus of the American University in Cairo. When American linguist and author Noam Chomsky arrived on stage, the packed audience of twelve hundred rose in a thunderous standing ovation.
The wake from a larger vessel rocked the felucca, a traditional Egyptian sailboat, heaving it against the pontoon it was docked beside. As water entered the hull, the two Americans aboard pictured their mission of personal diplomacy sinking along with their second-hand boat.
I had the good fortune to work with a man of great skill and quality of character who was an exemplary diplomat: Medhat Haroun, American University in Cairo's provost, who passed away on October 18.
Q & A
Ambassador Ryan Crocker spent a four-decade diplomatic career in the Islamic World, serving as U.S. envoy in Kabul, Baghdad, Islamabad, Damascus, Kuwait City, and Beirut and receiving honors such as the Presidential Medal of Freedom. He speaks with Managing Editor Scott MacLeod about America’s wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, handling the crises over Syria and Iran, and Washington’s foreign policy failings.
The crisis of values in the land of opportunity.
Reporting on President Obama’s War on Terror.
Examining the rise and fall of Bashar Al-Assad.
Pondering the problem of Orientalism in Washington.
How can the U.S. can catch up with China?