Alex Massie

Heroes of Public Diplomacy

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David Frum on Karen Hughes:

My column for this weekend's National Post will try to explain why Karen Hughes so signally failed as US Undersecretary of State for Public Diplomacy. Hint: It's not because she is a shallow and ill-informed person with scant experience of the world outside America's borders but dangerously unlimited confidence in her own abilities. Although of course that didn't help.

Mr Frum of course is a senior adviser to a Giuliani campaign which, thus far, does not seem overly concerned with matters as trifling - or as tricky - as public diplomacy. A message of strength is all very well and good - it may even be necessary - but it is far from sufficient if the Unite States wants to achieve its tactical and strategic goals. The Bush administration half-recognised this - hence Hughes' appointment - even if it was by then far too late to do anything about it even if Hughes had been up to the job or, as they say these days, fit for purpose.

Written byAlex Massie

Alex Massie is Scotland Editor of The Spectator. He also writes a column for The Times and is a regular contributor to the Scottish Daily Mail, The Scotsman and other publications.

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