Often time, I hear stories of staffers putting their own agenda ahead of what they have agreed to do. You hear little of efforts to put anything US in a good light from the Foggy Bottom aspect. Time after time, all I hear is " well, we can’t do that because…."
It also sheds a greater light on a larger problem – we in the general public do not work just to support them; rather, their purpose is to work for the good for US (the real US, that make up the United States). While there are some that always try to do the right thing, many in Government’s bowels (and not just at Foggy Bottom) are Liberal Democrats that will snif "hey, we know what we’re doing….we’re the professionals!" Thus, the impression of not recognizing that WE have elected the leaders, and that they should be supporting those leaders instead of fighting those policies at every turn. And then they complain when we find out (as recently seen at Foggy Bottom) they are not acting in accordance of that rule of thumb and not acting like professionals….
Doug just did a post on McCain – and points out that sticking to his guns is an admirable trait (even when I REALLY disagree with him – and yes, there are things on which I really do agree a lot with).
I went to school at BU, and learned the hard way that a number of NYC denizens take no prisoners at all in a debate or in a confrontation….the "in your face, plain and simple" style of conversing can be rude…..but effective. Well, I like this from Rudy:
Republican Rudy Giuliani said Monday the reputation of the United States has suffered globally not so much because of arrogant actions but for lack of salesmanship about benefits of democracy.
I’m not sure that I totally agree about the arrogance part – unless he is talking about State folks – they can be arrogant! But to the point, there are times that an engineer will appreciate a good salesman….and I haven’t heard about many in State lately. And that to me, is the whole point of State – promoting our values, our way of life, and the benefits that have accrued to us because of the adherence to the Rule of Law, Private Property, and One Man-One Vote. Bunches of others (like a mostly non-corrupt government, for which I give thanks!).
Look I realize that our culture-mongers – think Hollywood and Academic snivelers – are often those that get the attention and the press. Our pop culture doesn’t help either. Yet, a good salesman, when armed with a great product, should be able to sell the heck out of it.
But I like Rudy’s point – my take is "if they were doing their job well, Rudy wouldn’t have to be talking about the State Department!"
If he is elected president, he said, he would seek ambassadors who would work hard to sell U.S. strengths to foreigners, not just explain those distant nations to Washington.
I just read another piece (drat, I wish I remember who and where!!!) about American Empire; I hear it all the time from the Nutty Professor in our part of the woods – if you believed him, you’d think we had a Monarchy in place and the rest of us were mere serfs – this from a guy who lives from the public educational trough here in NH.
Side tangent: ever notice that it is only those on the Left (and yes, the Nutty Professor wants the UN to run the world and has said that a nation’s sovereignty should not be absolute) that complain and call the US an Empire? And when confronted, they talk about "oh no, it’s not an a real empire like the Brits had, or the other Western European countries’ colonies, but economically and culturally, the US wants to control the world!"
As far as Empire building is concerned (using the real definition of empire building of invading, taking, and holding onto someone else’s land for ever), I’ve always liked Colin Powell’s retort:
We have gone forth from our shores repeatedly over the last hundred years and we’ve done this as recently as the last year in Afghanistan and put wonderful young men and women at risk, many of whom have lost their lives, and we have asked for nothing except enough ground to bury them in, and otherwise we have returned home to seek our own, you know, to seek our own lives in peace, to live our own lives in peace.
But I digress:
On the subject of promoting America abroad, Giuliani spoke of the benefits at a "Politics and Eggs" breakfast sponsored by the New England Council and the New Hampshire Political Library.
"These are beautiful things, almost like gifts given to us by God, the wonderful resources of our country, the great system that our framers created that was ingenious," Giuliani said.
Ingenious? Try Genius! It is the BEST system yet devised and why shouldn’t we market it! The combination of capitalism and democracy has lifted more people out of poverty and despotism than any other system in history. And I have a real hard time with anyone saying that it cannot work. While it came semi-naturally to we rebels from the Crown here in the New World, it does seem that in the rest of the Anglosphere have adapted well – and non-Anglosphere (e.g., Germany and Japan for starters) has worked well indeed!
He added: `We’ve got to have a State Department that gets that, that understands that, that we’ve got a reputation that needs to be defended and protected. We are a country of good motives, of good people, of great accomplishments. We don’t want to force ’em on anybody in the world; we’d like to share it with them. That’s what diplomacy is about. It’s about sharing who we are with others and getting them to understand us better and understand our motives, because we don’t have bad motives."
And they won’t be shared well when State is concerned with the status quo and not upsetting other people – I remember back during Reagan days when State was not happy about putting Pershings around the globe…or the "harsh" rhetoric about "take down this wall". Plain and simple, and none of this nuance crap when it isn’t needed.
Nonetheless, he conceded problems in the Middle East and the war in Iraq may be partially to blame on the United States, saying, "We didn’t know enough about that culture in advance. We assumed things that might come out of our knowledge of Western culture or even other Asian cultures or Asian cultures that we’d become familiar with, like Japan and China."
What I said is true, but so is this. We do need to know the culture, and we can be insular as well. But that does not obviate the need to be well spoken about what we are about and how it can help other.
For instance, just look around and tell me how many benevolent dictators you see in the world (and that includes "democratically elected" ones that have turned into despots like Mgambe and Chavez) that have done as well by their citizenry as we have done by ours.
At another point, he said: "Maybe sometimes we’re too short; maybe sometimes we are too arrogant. Everybody has good points and bad points. One of the great things about Americans are we are very productive, we are very logical, we’re terrific problem solvers, and sometimes we’re too impatient."
He said those problems could be overcome with diplomacy that better understands foreign cultures.