Friday, November 02, 2007

The Hughes Resignation


The timing of Karen Hughes’ resignation as Under Secretary for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs is appropriate: Late to the job—she delayed showing up for work for months to oversee her son’s last few months before heading to college—she now departs it early, saying that she’d like to spend more time with her husband.* But I don’t necessarily buy that.

Sure, this is clearly not the gung-ho road warrior of Ten Minutes from Normal.

Nor do I imagine Hughes—no one’s shrinking violet—is simply ducking out to avoid the now-melancholy-now-panicky final days of the Bush administration implied by this headline.

I imagine—I hope—that Karen Hughes has simply succumbed to the knowledge that she has been in charge of the icing, not the cake. No matter how much she believes in President Bush’s foreign policy, Hughes may finally have realized that until U.S. policy changes, it’s impossible to make much headway with the Muslim audiences who are the key target of U.S. public-diplomacy efforts. Perhaps the Under Secretary realized that there’s a difference between fighting the good fight and beating one’s head against the wall.

*Contrast that with Hughes' ex-deputy Dina Habib Powell, who resigned to spend more time with money—hers and others'—over at Goldman.

1 comment:

Benjamin Cook said...

This is a recent column of mine for my local paper.

Give us a visit over at any feed back would be appreciated.


Karen Hughes / Public Diplomacy

In recent weeks I have read article after article about departing Under-Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Karen Hughes’ job performance or lack there of. These articles range between false interpretations of good data to ignorant partisan blather to accurate reporting of the facts without political interpretation. What most have in common is that they recognize the monumental job U/S Hughes had as the person tasked with improving America’s image abroad.

Often read are references to putting Lipstick-on-a-Pig or Polishing-a-Turd. These “thoughtful” literary devices were used to exemplify the writer’s idea of the hopelessly difficult task of selling US policies that are seen in many places as colonial or empire driven. Luckily Karen Hughes didn’t shy away from the task and did the first...

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