Wednesday, April 12, 2006

How US Foreign Policies Fuel Anti-American Feelings Abroad

The US is hardly winning friends or influencing anybody, except negatively, these days. Certainly, within my lifetime, anti-American feeling has never been as rife or on such a worldwide scale. At the same time, the Bush administration is spending billions on propaganda so as to run TV and radio stations directed at altering the perceptions of peoples of the Middle East, while the Pentagon has actually paid journalists in the region to append their bylines to US-generated stories.

But can such tactics work while US troops still occupy Afghanistan and Iraq, Palestinians are being punished for making the “wrong” democratic choices and war drums are beating against Iran and Syria?

In 2003, US Ambassador to Greece John Brady Kiesling wrote a dramatic letter of resignation to the then Secretary of State Colin Powell.

“Service as a US diplomat was a dream job,” he wrote. “I was paid to understand foreign languages and cultures, so seek out diplomats, politicians, scholars and journalists, and to persuade them that US interests and theirs fundamentally coincided. My faith in my country and its values was the most powerful weapon in my diplomatic arsenal”. But, he says, “The policies we are now asked to advance are incompatible not only with American values but also with American interests”.


Post a Comment

<< Home