Tuesday, October 04, 2005

On Karen Hughes' Vast Task


(image via mr.dowling)

The spotlight is on Karen Hughes. As Saturday's front page above-the-fold story on Muslim women in Morocco in The Old Gray Lady suggests, the United States has much to say to the women of the Muslim world, ideas of liberation that the Medievalist Al Qaeda oppose. The outmoded philosophy of political realism, a staple of Cold War thinking, placed the United Sates in the awkward position vis-a-vis the Third World in allying ourselves with low-grade tyrants like Musharraf -- did you see him chuckling like a sweet-bitch on 60 Minutes last week?; Charmed, I'm sure -- afraid of the alternative ("apres moi, le deluge"), namely: chaos in the Muslim world. (Exaggerated cough suggesting feigned detachment)

This, last week, according to the Beeb, coinciding, curiously, with Karen Hughes' public diplomacy (Zaitgeist?):

"Pakistani activists have reacted with outrage to recent comments on rape victims by President Pervez Musharraf. ;He said that rape was a 'money-making concern' and many argued it was a way to get money and a visa to emigrate.

"Pakistan's most-high profile rape victim, Mukhtar Mai, told the BBC no woman could subject herself to 'such a horrendous experience' to make money.

"Women's groups and activists protested in Karachi on Friday, shouting: 'Down with chauvinism.'"

Muslim women today are, potentially, the mothers of future terrorists or, if we play our card right, the West's greatest non-commissioned diplomatic resource, so it is imperative -- imperative! -- that we engage them in a sophisticated, candid and meaningful dialogue. Unfortunately, this was not the case in Karen Hughes' maiden voyage, but this need not be the last word. Despite how we may feel about Karen Hughes, it is in the interest of the United States and all of us that she succedes.

Muslim women are especially important to us as potential allies in the larger global War on Terrorism because, of late, the backwards views of fundamentalism itself is at odds with their own self-interest. But we cannot -- as Karen Hughes did -- broach this embarassing lack of liberties within Muslim societies from a position of hauteur. That would backfire terribly. America is already the last standing superpower, we bestride the globe like colossi, and everyone is wary at our approach.

Such is the nature of the dynamics of international politics.

If we do not reach out to Muslim Funamentalist -- and reach out to them with a sophisticated, two-sided, and aggressively non-condescending message -- then the potentiality for the spread of terrorism increases exponentially.

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