Monday, July 23, 2007

What you get when you toss the use of the soft voice

And use only the big stick.

The Bush administration's lack of diplomacy around the world is backfiring. Steve Benen at Talking Points Memo:

Walter Lohman, who covers Asian affairs for the conservative Heritage Foundation, noted, "Canceling a meeting here or there may not seem like a big deal, but the slights are piling up." He added, "Unless the Bush administration can quickly get back on track, the game is over; it will fall to the next president to revitalize the U.S. commitment" to Asia.

And Latin America. And Africa.

Charles Kupchan, a senior fellow at the Council on Foreign Relations, said outside of Europe, where Bush has made some efforts at engagement, "things don't look as good," particularly in countries experiencing far-reaching changes stemming from China's rise. Kupchan added, "There doesn't seem to be anybody who's minding the store at the top level."

We've all seen the quality of work at the top level...

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Photo Sharing and Video Hosting at Photobucket

Update: Apparently the top level is still trying to sell its tired old propaganda in place of diplomacy. Via Firedoglake:

A few months ago, she decided to write an opinion piece about Lebanon. She enlisted John Chambers, chief executive officer of Cisco Systems as a co-author, and they wrote about public/private partnerships and how they might be of use in rebuilding Lebanon after last summer’s war. No one would publish it.

Think about that. Every one of the major newspapers approached refused to publish an essay by the secretary of state. Price Floyd, who was the State Department’s director of media affairs until recently, recalls that it was sent to the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times and perhaps other papers before the department finally tried a foreign publication, the Financial Times of London, which also turned it down.

As a last-ditch strategy, the State Department briefly considered translating the article into Arabic and trying a Lebanese paper. But finally they just gave up. “I kept hearing the same thing: ‘There’s no news in this.’ ” Floyd said. The piece, he said, was littered with glowing references to President Bush’s wise leadership. “It read like a campaign document.”

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