Today we learn that Karen Hughes is leaving her position in the State Department. The Bush Administration has long felt that their policies should be popular in the Arab and Muslim worlds. It was just a matter of explaining them, of providing the right advertising. So they put one of their most trusted players in charge of informing the rest of the world what good things they were doing.
Polls show no improvement in the world’s view of the U.S. since Hughes took over. A Pew Research Center survey earlier said the unpopular Iraq war is a persistent drag on the U.S. image and has helped push favorable opinion of the United States in Muslim Indonesia, for instance, from 75 percent in 2000 to 30 percent last year.
On the other hand, actually contributing to peace rather than empty PR would have had more appeal:
Hughes said the Iraq war was usually the second issue that Muslims and Arabs raised with her, after the long-standing conflict between Israel and the Palestinians. Hughes said she advised Bush and Rice two years ago that U.S. help in ending the six-decade old fight over Israel would probably do more than anything else to improve the U.S. standing worldwide.
Unfortunately for Ms. Hughes’ suggestions, we have a Secretary of State who doesn’t believe in diplomacy.