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The Sorrows of Egypt, Revisited

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Samuel Tadros is a Senior Fellow at Hudson Institute’s Center for Religious Freedom, where he researches Middle Eastern politics, Islamist movements and religious freedom. He is also the co-host of “Sam & Ammar,” a television program dedicated to covering Middle Eastern political and social developments from a classical liberal perspective that is broadcast throughout the Middle East by Al Hurra TV.

He asks: Does Egypt still have a place in the US grand strategy? For many pundits in Washington the answer is a resounding no. From every corner of the US foreign policy community frustration abounds with Egypt. If, however, the United States is ever capable of understanding its troublesome ally and salvaging what remains of the US-Egyptian alliance, it must tread carefully, following Fouad Ajami’s steps, and approach the Egypt of reality, and not that of imagination. It must take a voyage to “a jaded country,” as Ajami called it, and visit the land of sorrows.

Tadros is also the Distinguished Visiting Fellow in Middle Eastern Studies at the Hoover Institution, and a Professorial Lecturer at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS) where he teaches Middle Eastern politics.

Prior to joining Hudson in 2011, Tadros was a Senior Partner at the Egyptian Union of Liberal Youth, an organization that aims to spread the ideas of classical liberalism in Egypt. He received his MA in Democracy and Governance from Georgetown University and his BA in Political Science from the American University in Cairo.

He is the author of Motherland Lost: The Egyptian and Coptic Quest for Modernity (2013) and Reflections on the Revolution in Egypt (2014) both by Hoover Press. His numerous articles have been published by the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, Washington Post, The Atlantic, National Review, and World Affairs.

He previously spoke at the Westminster Institute on the subject of: The Future of Islamism in Egypt.


Robert R. Reilly:

It’s a great pleasure to welcome Samuel Tadros back here, who graced us with his presence on a prior occasion, to speak on the subject of Sorrows of Egypt, Revisited.

The first part of that phrase he’s taken from Fouad Ajami, the wonderful Arab-American scholar here at SAIS. But Sam has added on the ‘revisited’ part.

,And since he himself is an Egyptian, he can speak directly about both the place and its sorrows and its future and its relationship to the United States and what that relationship ought to be and how it ought to be pursued by us.

Sam Tadros is Senior Fellow at the Hudson Institute Center for Religious Freedom. Quite notably, he’s the co-host of a very popular television show broadcast into the Middle East by Al Hurra TV, whose director is Alberto Fernandez, who’s also spoken here at Westminster on a couple of occasions.

And the name of the program that Sam co-hosts is Sam & Ammar. Maybe someday we will get Ammar here too. This program is of course dedicated to covering Middle Eastern political and social developments but the interesting twist is it’s from a classical-Liberal perspective broadcast throughout the Middle East.

Sam is also a Distinguished Visiting Fellow in Middle Eastern studies at the Hoover Institution and professional lecturer at Johns Hopkins SAIS. Prior to joining Hudson in 2011, Sam was a senior partner at the Egyptian Union of Liberal Youth, an organization dedicated to spreading classical liberal ideas in Egypt.

He received his MA in democracy and governance in Georgetown University and BA in political science at American University in Cairo. He’s the author of Motherland Lost: The Egyptian and Coptic Quest for Modernity and more recently Reflections on the Revolution in Egypt, both of these published by the Hoover Institution, and of course, many, many articles in the press and journals. Otherwise, please join me in welcoming Sam Tadros.

Samuel Tadros:

Thank you Robert for the kind introduction and for hosting me here again. It’s always a pleasure to come to Westminster Institute, and I see a lot of friends and familiar faces, as well as engage with the people who attend these important discussions.

I guess this is where the pleasant part of this discussion ends for the title of this talk is the Sorrows of Egypt, Revisited, a depressing title one might say. A depressing title of a talk based on a depressing title of an article based on a depressing subject.

In fact, it’s depressing enough that when the article was first published, a colleague of mine at Hudson Institute remarked to me that this was really the most depressing thing he’d ever read and he read accounts of the Cambodian genocide, so it’s not the most pleasant subject to speak about.

Let me begin by a quote from Fouad Ajami, “The Sorrows of Egypt is made of entirely different material, the steady decline of its public life, the inability of an autocratic regime and of the Middle Class from which this regime comes to rid the country of its dependence on foreign handouts, to transmit to the vast underclass the skills needed for the economic competition of nations to take the country beyond its endless alterations between glory and self-pity.” The quote comes from an article that Fouad published in 1995 under the title of “The Sorrows of Egypt”. Fouad had written about Egypt previously.

See the rest of his Westminster talk…

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