The American Interest

We Are the World

In the aftermath of September 11, the chairman of the House International Relations Committee noted that the war on terrorism has revealed the need to overhaul U.S. foreign policy.  “Can anyone doubt that the sum of our efforts has been insufficient?” asked Rep. Henry Hyde (R-IL) on October 10, opening a hearing into the role of public diplomacy in the campaign against terrorism.  “Our efforts at self-defense, which should be supported by every decent person on this planet, instead spark riots that threaten governments that dare to cooperate with us.”

Mr. Hyde was referring to the Islamic world, of course.  According to a disquieting recent poll, America’s image abroad is deeply at odds with its self-perception everywhere, including Western Europe.  The Pew Charitable Trust’s survey of the world’s opinion-forming elites (http://www.people-press.org/1219012.htm) found that 56 percent of respondents outside of the United States think that U.S. foreign policy—especially in the Middle East—was a major cause of the attacks.

In France, Le Monde’s Herve Kempf summed up the mood of many Europeans when he wrote (January 8) that the attacks “did not change America’s position on dealing with major world issues.”  This view was shared by Pascal Boniface of the Institute for International Strategic Relations, who...

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