Thursday, October 06, 2005

America's listening tour

Long term Bush friend and Under Secretary of State Karen P. Hughes went on a listening tour of the Middle East last week. As many liberal blogs have been overtly crowing about, she got an earful.

I know that many liberals are secretly hoping that Ms. Hughes fails because they want all things Bush to fail, but I strongly believe that that short-termism is very detrimental to long term American safety and global leadership.

Of course Hughes got an earful! America has been a bully in the Middle-East since President Roosevelt met with King Abdulaziz in 1945. Imagine if the jerk at work sent his assistant around for a much publicized "listening tour." Wouldn't you let the assistant have it?

In Turkey, Hughes was blasted by women over the Iraq war. In Egypt, Hughes was told "progress on the 'Palestinian issue' would solve a lot of the image problems of the U.S." In Saudi Arabia, rich Saudi women told Sec. Hughes that they didn't like the way Arabs were portrayed on television and they didn't need to drive.

The moral of the story is that while Hughes short mission was anything but a success, we are listening. It has taken the Bush White House 5 years to listen, but we are listening. The hard work comes now to show that have heard their concerns and act on them. Assuming we don't get standard White House spin, but true, substantive change would send a powerful message to the Arab world.

"Your governments don't listen or care about your concerns, but America does. Your rulers act only for themselves, but America tries to act for all. America isn't about unilateral support for Israel and Iraq's oil. We care about all the world's population. That is why we listen to you, send millions for the tsunami victims, provide food aid to Africa, etc."

That kind of message would help restore America's ailing image both at home and abroad. Good work, Ms. Hughes. Keep it up!