I critiqued the fact-based and often irrelevant nature of U.S. public diplomacy in a recent column, "Winning the Propaganda War." I concluded that, "Rather than try to purvey information to Muslims, State (and its counterparts elsewhere) should instead assert the case for liberal, secular, and humane values. More than facts, the Muslim world needs to understand the basics of what makes the West thrive – and thereby be inspired to emulate it."
And so, I was pleased to note that President George W. Bush today made similar points:
we need people in America who can go and say to people, living in freedom is not the American way of life, it is a universal way of life. We're not saying your democracy has to be like ours. We're just saying give your people a chance to live in a free society; give women a chance to live freely; give young girls a chance to be educated and realize their full potential. And the best way to do that is to have those of us who understand freedom be able to communicate in the language of the people we're trying to help.
This message now needs to reach those who run the U.S. government's media. (January 5, 2006)