Saturday, September 27, 2003

Bush's Public Diplomacy

I've noticed I'm really really bad about actually writing posts I promise. An update on the al-Jazeera side of the story: According to Abu Aardvark, Bremer may be seeking to pressure the Iraqi Governing Council into reversing its decision against the Arab satellite channels. Hopefully he will succeed...removing a free press isn't the best way to convince people you're trying to build an open society.

As far as the "public diplomacy" goes, I see this as another example of how ideologically driven the Bush administration is in some areas. They are completely and totally convinced their policies will make the world a better place, whether in the Middle East or on tax cuts or virtually any other issue. If you share their agenda, then you probably regard them as noble and refusing to back down. However, in terms of the Middle East, there appears to be a fundamental problem in their philosophy: They totally don't understand the region or its problems. Not under that, their ideology calls for countries to act unilaterally in their own best interests. The Bushies undoubtedly see themselves as doing that. Unfortunately, the Arabs in many cases might have different interests, such as keeping OPEC strong or ending the Israeli occupation of the West Bank and Gaza Strip. And if that is the case, what "public diplomacy" is really all about is trying to persuade Arabs that the U.S. is more important than they are.


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