Friday, August 20, 2004


US Failing in Public Diplomacy

I mean, this isn't really shocking news, but there are definitely some interesting quotes from this article in the Washington Post today.
On its boldest policy ideas, such as the Greater Middle East Democracy Initiative, the administration has limited its follow-through or deferred to the very governments that have most resisted democratic reforms, specialists and some U.S. officials say.

"It's worse than failing. Failing means you tried and didn't get better. But at this point, three years after September 11, you can say there wasn't even much of an attempt, and today Arab and Muslim attitudes toward the U.S. and the degree of distrust in the U.S. are far worse than they were three years ago. Bin Laden is winning by default," said Shibley Telhami, a member of a White House-appointed advisory group on public diplomacy and Brookings Institution scholar.
Worse than failing? Bin Laden is winning by default? These are damning statements.
"This is all feel-good mumbo jumbo," said a State Department official familiar with public diplomacy efforts who spoke on the condition of anonymity. "Particularly in light of [people detained without charges at] Guantanamo Bay, it's unclear how this will make us safe. If this is so important, where's the money?"
Hmmm... where is all that money? Did somebody say Halliburton?
Rice, in a speech yesterday at the U.S. Institute of Peace, conceded that public diplomacy is an area the administration wants to "look harder at" and said, "We are not obviously not very well organized for the side of public diplomacy."
I don't even know where to start with this one. Oy vavoy! What a disaster.

The telling thing about this story is that it shares front page space with a picture of a building being blown up in Najaf. Hearts and minds alllll over the place.
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