Thursday, November 08, 2007

Karen Hughes' impossible mission

Here's a link to the Register's editorial on the resignation of longtime Bush consigliere Karen Hughes from her State Department post in charge of improving the U.S. (is that GWB's?) image abroad. Oh, yes. Public diplomacy they call it. Whatever it is, she didn't do it very well, but in fairness to her the U.S. image abroad is inextricably tied to policies most people in the world resent, and until U.S. policies become more "humble" and less interventionist we'll be alienating a good deal of the world. I don't doubt that many interventionists sincerely believe they are bringing enlightenment and democracy, but military force is not only not a shortcut to the hard slogging of education, setting an example, and understanding other cultures, but it flat-out doesn't work, except in circumstances in which a semblance of civil society is already present, even if battered by war, economic hard times or whatever.

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