30 December 2004 - Thursday

Building a brand

Michael Beschloss just caught my attention on television. He suggested that the US government tends to respond best in foreign emergencies when American interests are at stake. The Marshall Plan that rebuilt Europe, for example, was developed to counter Soviet influence on the continent. If America is going to respond decisively to the crisis in the Indian Ocean, we need a "foreign policy imperative."

I'll give you a foreign policy imperative. Indonesia has the world's largest Muslim population, and is actively engaged in a civil war against extreme religious elements. Meanwhile, American public diplomacy, particularly where Muslim nations are concerned, is not in very good shape.

Unfortunately, it looks as if the biggest problems in Indonesia and elsewhere are not related to parsimonious allocations of aid on the part of outsiders, but local logistic chaos and mismanagement. It would be nice if the transportation power of Western militaries could be allowed into the disaster areas to help with that.

| Posted by Wilson at 19:14 Central | TrackBack
| Report submitted to the Power Desk