Saturday, September 24, 2005

"Report: U.S. Image in Bad Shape"

Full Washington Post article: September 24, 2005

"As Karen Hughes, longtime presidential adviser and new public diplomacy guru at the State Department, prepares to leave this weekend on a 'listening tour' of the Middle East, a congressionally mandated advisory panel to the department warned that 'America's image and reputation abroad could hardly be worse.'

"The panel's report, which has been seen by senior officials but not yet officially released, said a fact-finding mission to the Middle East last year found that 'there is deep and abiding anger toward U.S. policies and actions.' The Advisory Committee on Cultural Diplomacy cited polling that found that large majorities in Egypt, Morocco and Saudi Arabia 'view George W. Bush as a greater threat to the world order than Osama bin Laden.'........

"The committee recommended a series of steps, including increased funding and staffing, to rebuild efforts to promote U.S. culture and ideas -- an essential task that it said has been eroded through bureaucratic shuffling and indifference."

Perhaps multilateral cultural diplomacy, working with UNESCO, should be reconsidered within the State Department's plans.

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