The best piece I found

The best piece I found in today’s Washington Post (George Will’s column excepted, of course) is this one by Robert Satloff of the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. It criticizes the State Department’s $15 million campaign to win the hearts and minds of the Muslim world. Satloff’s main target is the speakers program. It seems that most of the speakers the State Department is selecting to address the Muslim world either ignore the real issues and offer mere fluff about shared values, or they actually criticize U.S. policy. According to Satloff, “we too often have exported our loudest critics, with an official stamp of approval, rather than dispatching experts who could — heaven forbid — present robust explanations of our policies.” One suspects that some in the State Department who dispatch the speakers are themselves critics of some of our policies. In any case, Satloff gets it right, I think, when he concludes, “The battle for hearts and minds begins with respect. Our current public diplomacy respects neither the citizenry it claims to represent nor the Arabs and Muslims it is designed to impress. As such, it is doomed to fail. If we change that dynamic, we stand at least a chance of winning this fight.”

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