“I view my job as waging peace.”1
—Karen Hughes, undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs
KAREN HUGHES LOST THE LAST VESTIGES OF ANONYMITY WHEN she became undersecretary of state for public diplomacy and public affairs in September 2005.
“I was with my husband and son on an elevator—deep and crowded,” she has told friends. “Finally, two elderly ladies got on— one looked at me, looked away, looked again, elbowed her friend, and said in a loud stage whisper: ‘Condi Rice is on this elevator.’”
Nearly six feet tall in flats, with thick silvery hair and bright blue eyes, Hughes could hardly be mistaken for the first African American woman to be secretary of state. But it’s not hard to understand why Hughes attracts attention—she has one of the toughest jobs in Wash ington, the moral equivalent of the hard combat being directed from the Pentagon. She calls her job “waging peace,” by which she means that the war on terrorism will not be won by force of arms alone, but in the battle for people’s minds and hearts.
That battle is more than metaphorical. America has always stood for something more than a particular place, nation, or state. From the very beginning, America was presented to the world as an ideal. The Declaration of Independence not only put King George on notice, it was a message to the whole world that something new was afoot in the affairs of man. For nearly two and a half centuries, America’s core ideal—the prospect of limitless possibilities—attracted people of all