Posted by Joseph Knippenberg
For reasons that have altogether too much to do with an elite loss of national self-confidence (and an incapacity on the part of the Bush Administration effectively to answer it), we don’t seem to be very good at public diplomacy.
Memory is short, so it's worth recalling that the United States Information Agency - created by President Eisenhower during the Cold War to "tell America's Story to the World" - was eventually shut down\ in 1999 through the efforts of Jesse Helms, a Republican Senator, over the opposition of that evil-doer Bill Clinton. Nice job! I think the theory was that, after the Cold War, we'd reached the end of history. Funny how "conservatives" didn't come to the defense of public diplomacy when it might have mattered. But, then again, when you hate government, that's kind of hard...
Might be a bit more to it than RVW suggests. Here are three other possibilities: in a hyper media day, it may be that some in the Admin simply take it for granted that "going public" in the broadest (and thus narrowest) sense is the obvious way to go and that all that have ears will hear; the general notion that American entertainment permeates and overshadows all other messages or attempts; and lastly, not having a grip on what it is that American stands for, beyond throwing around the words democracy or freedom, without saying why they are good. I have a tendency to lean a bit on the last one. Both what it is that American stands for or is an example of (see the Dec of Ind for starters) and that mere democracy does not get you there are good places to start. Then knowing what human freedom really means. Good post Joe.
Again, we see an attempt to absolve Bush from this loss of confidence amongst elites.
Newsflash: he shares that loss of confidence as much as anyone.
Why else the attempt to "reform" the UN? Why else then the capitulation on that "reform" to entrenched interests in State and the UN?
When we began our humanitarian response to the Tsunami disaster, and the UN claimed the right to be named "the primary response agency," why did Bush cave? Why didn't he simply laugh off Kofi's foolish pretensions?
Why did Bush seize upon Kerry's remark of "a global test," but then conduct his entire second term foreign policy with a view towards such "a global test?" Why did Bush's State Department hire several high ranking foreign policy ad visors to John Kerry? Why did he do that? Because he was trying to accommodate the establishment?
Bush isn't simply a passive participant to this disaster unfolding. Bush IS the catalyst, he's driving the locomotive, he's the conductor on this train headed towards a crack-up.
Stop sparing Bush!
When you post, we're expecting an intellectual honesty. But when you pull your punches, when you flinch from clear conclusions, you're being intellectual dishonest.
We're Conservatives around here. Not Bush-bots.
He's screwing up. He's screwing up domestically. He's ROYALLY screwing up in the international scene. The situation in Venezuela is becoming ominous. China is weaponing up. Dirtball regimes in the Mideast are making huge windfalls because of the soaring price of crude. Our energy situation hasn't been addressed. We're no closer to energy independence today than when the Department of Energy was created. Everywhere we cast our eyes regarding this administration, we see disasters, or cronies, or incompetence.
George Walker Bush and his staff may not be able to accurately read or describe events, but that doesn't mean the rest of us share their infirmity.
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