Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Brand USA.

Karen Hughes, a Bush crony announced today that she's leaving her job as undersecretary of state. In that job she was responsible for improving America’s reputation and standing overseas.

During Hughes' tenure, favorable opinions of the US have plummeted. In Indonesia, the nation with the world's largest Muslim population, the numbers went from 75% favorable pre-Bush to 30% in 2006. In Turkey, another nation with a huge Muslim population, the US has declined from 52% favorable to 12%. US reputation among our traditional "friends" has also slid precipitously. Germany from 78%-37%; Spain from 50% to 23%;France from 62% to 30%. And even among our greatest allies, the Brits, our standing has declined from 83% to 56%. Read the whole megillah here:

As much as I'd like to, I can hardly fault Hughes for this decline. The Bush administration, our elected officials and our silent selves have made this or allowed this to happen. What worries me is that once a brand earns the reputation as untrustworthy, a liar, a bully, or irrelevant--once the damage is done, in other words, it's hard to undo.

To my mind, resurrecting brand USA is the most important job for whomever assumes the Presidency in January, 2009.


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