A HUGHES MISTAKE
Apparently George W. Bush's idea of diplomacy is to take a woman who has nothing in common with the unconvinced and name her undersecretary of state for public diplomacy. (Which seems more or less like a euphemism for "propaganda," but then, this nation needs some world-friendly PR, so I'll not complain about that too much.)
Karen Hughes -- you may remember her as the GOP version of Janet Reno, only nastier and with less of a sense of humor -- has apparently been touring the Muslim world to make them like us, God bless it.
Of course, that's exactly the problem. When she tells Muslims that George W. Bush is a man of God, what are the odds that her audience doesn't think of the Crusades? When she barges in without bothering to learn some of the language or customs of the people whom she's trying to sway to the American way of thought, is she really doing Americans a favor?
I contend she is not.
I'm sure there are others out there, but back in my college days, I remember taking an international business class from one Dr. Grub, who, above all, burned in our little business student brains that the best way to conduct business overseas is to understand the people with whom you're trying to do business.
Why should politics be any different?
The answer, sadly, is that to George W. Bush and his cadre of C students, politics is all about Christianity.
Fred Kaplan's Slate article on Hughes.
Steven R. Weisman article on the Hughes trip from the New York Times.