Tuesday, June 1

I'm not hearing you

"Unfortunately the rest of the world only hears of our actions through the words of the media". Posted Anonymously


How should a modern nation present its point of view to a foreign population? Propaganda (I love Google) , long the favorite tool of every petty dictator, is seen to be of very limited use in the media savvy world of today and is thought to be almost guaranteed to be counterproductive. Why do I see so much of it (seemingly all anti-American)?

The question I have is when did America, the inventors of media savvy and the leaders in globalization (everything from food to sneakers to media) become the one nations that cannot seem to get its message across? When did the belief that America can only speak through its actions due to a biased media become accepted? (I've seen it from more then one pundit).

This is complete balderdash. Americans, more than anyone in the world, have the opportunity to speak to me and my fellow South Africans everyday. You have for some reason chosen not too. Is it because, as another commentator stated:

If people don't understand why getting rid of Saddam and liberating Iraq was necessary to make the world safer, there's no point in trying to convince them


Iraq has been liberated. A new democracy is being shaped. There will be some pretty rough patches ahead I'm sure, but compared with what has been accomplished it is all downhill. This should be a huge victory for America and everyone that has supported you. Why does the world still see it as defeat for America? Self promotion is a skill honed to perfection by America. Where is that skill today?

Republican Americans have been worried that Bush has dropped the ball over Iraq. That he has been quite in the face of relentless propaganda from his opponents. In response Bush has launched a series of talks to rally the American people. Where is that concern for world opinion? Strong you might be, an island you are not. (My mother thinks I'm crazy for supporting you, damit. If you cant convince her your in trouble plain and simple.)

The UN, as blunt a tool as it has become, has been all but abandoned by America. When did an institution you controlled with such deft touches become the playground for everyone who happens to see some small advantage in thumbing their nose at you.

Steven den Beste has a series of posts on media bias. The partisan world media is a problem. It represents a layer between the American government and the rest of the world and if it is relied upon to carry the message the message will not get to the rest of the world the way in which it was intended.

America needs a platform from which to address the world. I see two platforms that it readily has at its disposal. One is the UN, as flawed as it is. Why are the "cheese eating surrender monkeys" running circles around you there? Fix the problem, don't blame the helpless bureaucrats that pretend to run it. The second is your state department. Are they too busy fingerprinting and background checking every visa applicant to do their work of advancing American foreign policy abroad?

There is a problem with American foreign policy. Not the policy itself, but the perception of that policy. Stop blaming the world for not understanding you and fix it.

5 Comments:

Blogger Andrea said...

Explanations won't do any good if there aren't willing ears and minds that want to learn. So far I haven't seen a great deal of that coming from the Rest of the World. Even your own comments betray a certain skewed perspective:

"I see two platforms that it readily has at its disposal. One is the UN, as flawed as it is. Why are the "cheese eating surrender monkeys" running circles around you there? Fix the problem, don't blame the helpless bureaucrats that pretend to run it. The second is your state department. Are they too busy fingerprinting and background checking every visa applicant to do their work of advancing American foreign policy abroad? There is a problem with American foreign policy. Not the policy itself, but the perception of that policy. Stop blaming the world for not understanding you and fix it." (Bolds mine.)

We can't "fix it" -- we don't have godlike powers of persuasion. People have to be willing to understand first. As I said, I haven't seen that; instead, I have seen people who prefer to cling to their notion that America, because it is the wealthiest and most powerful country in the world, must also be the most evil. I can't say as I blame these people: being the underdog, and thinking everything that goes wrong in the world is the result of some sort of conspiracy by some Powerful Group, and therefore that nothing matters, is a great way to absolve oneself of responsibility. Responsibiity sucks.

01 June 2004 at 21:09  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"When did an institution you controlled with such deft touches become the playground for everyone who happens to see some small advantage in thumbing their nose at you."Some time in the 1970s, as I recall. During the latter half of the Cold War, the U.N. was largely the USSR's plaything and your description was 100% accurate then too. That changed briefily after the demise of the Soviet Union, when America's standing as the only superpower and certain foreign situations collided. But it was an unusual time.

The UN, because of its status as a Dictators Club, has been generally hostile toward the USA since the 60s. Remember Reagan's pull-out from UNESCO in the 80s? Years when Congress refused to appropriate the USA's U.N. dues?

The Right in the USA is beginning to conclude that the UN is unreformable in its present state. The UN's growing role as a partisan player in American politics will deepen that hostility. I suspect a showdown and/or serious, non-fringe discussion of alternatives to the UN will begin in America within the next 5 years.

Joe Katzman
Winds of Change.NET

12 June 2004 at 17:48  
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