Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

What the World Told Karen Hughes

Magazine article National Catholic Reporter

What the World Told Karen Hughes

Article excerpt

Karen Hughes went to Turkey and Saudi Arabia this week to talk to women about the blessings of having a U.S. presence in their lives. To the Turkish women, the new ambassador for public diplomacy extolled American democracy in the Middle East. To the Saudi women, she promised that they would soon enjoy more participation in the social system.

The implication was obvious: Thanks to the United States of America, happiness was on the way. The effect of the speeches was shattering. Silence. No applause. No celebrations. Instead, Turkish women told her, "You cannot bring in war for the sake of peace. The United States cannot interfere in the democracy problem and solve it through war." And Saudi women--who she promised would soon be able to drive cars--told her that they were happy, thank you, and that they didn't need America to make their lives complete and that, frankly, they would be a lot happier if she just went home. It was a hard message to misinterpret.

I, on the other hand, was at a meeting of the Peace Council, a group of international religious leaders, at Union Theological Seminary in New York. They were talking about the problems in Asia, Africa, the Middle East and Latin America. They said that thanks to America they weren't happy at all and that being like America was not an ideal to which they aspired.

The Korean said that the South Korean president, who had run on a platform that promised independence from U.S. control, announced shortly after his election that his government had been extorted into being part of "the coalition of the willing" for fear that U.S. boycotts and tariffs would destroy the Korean economy.

The Taiwanese said that if it weren't for the Western model of security through force and the increasing intervention of Western arms traders, Taiwan and China could develop peaceful relations.

The Indian said that it was U. …

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