Wednesday, July 09, 2003

Foreign Policy: U.S. Needs Int'l Image Makeover

Laurence Arnold of the AP reports more on today's meeting of the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks:

Experts: U.S. Needs Int'l Image Makeover

The United States is less vulnerable to terrorism today because of heightened vigilance but must improve its international relations in order to starve terrorist groups of new recruits, experts said Wednesday.

Scholars on terrorism and al-Qaida told the independent commission studying the Sept. 11 attacks that the United States badly needs an image makeover in the eyes of the world.

"Although we are winning the war against the organization called al-Qaida, we seem to be losing the cultural war," said Mamoun Fandy, senior fellow at the United States Institute of Peace.

Fandy said leaders of other countries, particularly in the Middle East, should be expected to express public gratitude for U.S. help. "Somehow we tolerate Arab leaders telling us something in private rooms and then dealing with their public the way they want to," he said.

Dennis Ross, a peace envoy to the Middle East under former President Clinton (news - web sites), said the United States' choice of friends in the region contributed to the anger and resentment that helped al-Qaida.

"We are resented in no small part because we are seen as using democracy as a tool or weapon against those we don't like, but never against those we do like," said Ross, now director at the Washington Institute for Near East Policy. "We are seen as mouthing the words of democracy but then supporting regimes seen as repressive." He offered Saudi Arabia as one example.
Does this mean yet another makeover show on TLC?

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