James Glassman, Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, explained to Turkish reporters his nation is involved in a public relations war to cripple al-Qaeda’s appeal to the Muslim world. “Our priority,” he explained is “not to promote our brand but to help destroy theirs. think of American values and political system as orange juice. Think of the al-Qaeda system of violent extremism as lemonade. Our job for the short
term is not to put all our efforts into getting people to drink orange juice, but to get them not to drink lemonade. They can drink anything else they want: Milk, ginger ale, tomato juice, Coke… We are confident that ultimately they will come around to orange juice or something like it…”
This is an excellent Madison Avenue approach to dealing with world problems– reduce complex social, economic, and value issues to orange juice and lemonade! In a sense, his comments exemplify the problems of the Bush administration– bringing into positions of leadership individuals who spout their ignorance in terms that are certain to turn off the rest of the world. Hopefully, America stands for something more complex and compelling than a cold drink of orange juice. It is interesting Mr. Glassman envisions his role as destroying something rather than creating something.