I don’t like Karen Hughes. I don’t think I like any of George Bush’s friends. Anyone who thinks Dubya is fun, or funny, or a great guy to have a beer with, I basically think is an asshole. Apparently, that makes me a whack-job.

What is currently irking me about Mrs. Hughes is her inability to understand that the vast bulk of anti-Americanism going around the globe is related to our policies and not to our media management.

The NY Times notes:

Eager for a chance to spread good news from Iraq, Karen P. Hughes, the under secretary of state for public diplomacy, sent a team to Baghdad last month to promote Iraq’s elections to the world’s news media. This past week, at a senior staff meeting, she outlined the limits of the team’s success.

“Would any of you like to guess what was driving the commentary and all the chatter in all the talk shows in Western Europe that weekend?” Ms. Hughes said she asked. “You know what it was? It was the death penalty case in California!”

I was in Paris when Timothy McVeigh was executed and Parisians were not too friendly to Americans that week. Just as Jim Crow laws were incredibly detrimental in our efforts to win the upper moral hand against the Soviets, so too is our continuing use of the death penalty in our effort to sell the world on the idea of the U.S. as the sole superpower.

And it isn’t only the death penalty, but our use of torture, our extraordinary renditions, our suspension of habeas corpus, our use of gulags, our abandonment of the Geneva Conventions, and our rejection of a multilateral approach to environmental issues, arms control, and human rights.

For those that think there isn’t much difference between the Bushes and the center-left, I offer the above as Exhibit A. If nothing else, the center-left offers a better approach on all of the above, and putting the center-left back in power (while falling short of our goal) would do wonders to repair the perception problem that currently accompanies the pax americana.

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