Gee, who would have thought that putting a political operative with absolutely no diplomatic experience, no ability to speak Arabic, and no experience in the Middle East in charge of bolstering America’s image in the Muslim World would be a stupid idea.
State Department efforts to reach more than 1.5 billion Muslims in 58 countries to counter anti-American criticism lack a strong central message and a strategic plan of communication, the Government Accountability Office said Wednesday.
Last year, the department spent $597 million on public diplomacy under the direction of Undersecretary of State Karen Hughes, and spending is due to increase this year.
“Many public diplomacy officers in the Muslim world cannot communicate as well with local audiences as their position requires,” the report said.
Public diplomacy officers spend less time talking to local audiences than they should, and while the program is aimed primarily at younger audiences, there is a shortage of basic, core messages and a lack of analysis of the program’s results, the report said.
To explain U.S. foreign policy more effectively, the GAO recommended that Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice provide written guidance on priority goals and tactics.