Look, if we were at all serious about public diplomacy, we’d have had all our regional experts who speak Arabic flooding the airwaves apologizing for Condi’s immensely tone-deaf “birth pangs” comment during the Lebanon-Israeli war the summer before last, when the entire Islamic world was enraged by images of cluster munitions being littered willy-nilly through south Lebanon, not to mention the horrific incident at Qana. Or she would follow her predecessor Colin Powell’s recommendation to close Guantanamo without delay, by having a come to Jesus w/ the Decider about how the Cuban penal colony (along with the hooded man at Abu Ghraib) was overshadowing the Statue of Liberty as a symbol of America among many around the world.
These would be the makings of a serious public diplomacy effort, not this breezy, palsy-walsy festiveness with Cal [Ripken]. But what good does it do to scream on like this? You do public diplomacy with the public diplomacy team you have…. ~Greg Djerejian
I agree. Then again, if we were serious about public diplomacy we would have a lot more regional experts who speak Arabic working for the government than we do right now.
Djerejian is responding to this unfortunate episode, catching Secretary Rice saying something especially silly:
I’ll bet he’s going to go out and find people who want to be Cal Ripken in…Pakistan, people who want to be Cal Ripken in Guatemala, people who want to be Cal Ripken in Europe, and that’s the wonderful thing about sports…it really transcends culture and it transcends identity.
That must be why we are all such avid soccer and cricket fans here, and hockey is wildly popular in Brazil.