The White House – and America in general – may get an overseas image czar as one result of fresh findings that foreign opinion of the US has slumped to dangerous lows.
For more than a year, a string of private and government reports and independent polls has found that the battle to sway the world’s hearts and minds to a favorable view of the US – especially in the Arab and Muslim worlds – is falling further behind.
Alarmed by its flagging image overseas, the United States pumped up its public- relations spending after the Sept. 11 terrorists attacks to more than $ 1 billion a year. But now a bipartisan advisory panel is warning that the issue reaches beyond a Madison Avenue image problem to a serious
national security threat.
The panel is calling for a “new strategic dimension” in what is called “public diplomacy” that treats the problem with warlike urgency. It’s a war that will require more resources, more focused attention from the White House, and everything from many more fluent speakers of key foreign
languages in the foreign service to more points of contact for skeptical foreigners to meet and talk with Americans…