Selling America--Short

America's public diplomacy stinks. It's time to learn some lessons from the Cold War.

Issue: Winter 2003-2004

THERE WERE calls for an end to "U.S. warmongering." Washington had been overtaken by "a small clique of hate-mongers", claimed one speaker. American unilateralism was denounced. The United States itself had turned into "a state of holy terror", argued another speaker. The current administration was bent on a new "world war", contended still another.

No, these are not statements from a recent anti-war, anti-Bush rally. They are remarks given at a 1949 conference, convened to condemn U.S. policies toward the Soviet Union. Prominent literary and artistic figures from the United States and Europe, including Aaron Copland, Norman Mailer and Dimitri Shostakovich, played an active role. So when a senior French minister today calls the American President a "serial killer", or when a counterpart in Germany compares the U.S. leader to Adolph Hitler, it may be useful to remember that such strident expressions of anti-Americanism are hardly new.

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