Phi Beta Cons

Georgetown: In Defense of Petrodollars

Rep. Frank Wolf wrote to DeGioia February 14, expressing concern about the effect on scholarship of a Saudi prince’s $20 million gift to Georgetown University’s Center for Muslim-Christian Understanding.

Since receiving the gift several years ago, there’s been “no outside interference [with the Center’s work] of any kind,” Georgetown President John J. DeGioia wrote.
DeGioia glosses over the real point, commented Middle East scholar Martin Kramer. At issue is how impartial and intrepid academics will be in confronting governments and academic institutions indebted to beneficent donors. On the Center’s vaunted influence on various federal agencies concerned with foreign policy and national security, Kramer warned:

The faculty of the Center have consistently underestimated and downplayed the threat posed by radical Islamism. Prior to 9/11 and since then, they have played a considerable role in obfuscating the dangers facing the United States–something our officials can ill afford now and in the future.

IPT News now presents more compelling evidence that Georgetown is begging Wolf’s vital questions. Has the center criticized Saudi Arabia where criticism is due? Has it asked whether Saudi petrodollars fan anti-Americanism and extremism?
No, because Georgetown is reckoning that lofty assertions of its “integrity” will suffice. Wolf, who has not yet commented on DeGioia’s letter, should demand a more critical response.

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