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Tuesday, 30 July, 2002, 01:11 GMT 02:11 UK
US 'suffers global image problem'
US athlete Inger Miller
Athletes promote the US, but can the politicians do it?

A new report by an influential policy group in America says the US Government needs an urgent public relations overhaul to improve its image in the international community.

The report by the New York-based Council on Foreign Relations says the Bush administration has significantly underperformed in its efforts to capture the hearts and minds of non-Americans.

The report says that in trying to sell its foreign policy and values, the administration needs to much more, and it needs to do it fast.

The report says that although negative attitudes about US policy are particularly pervasive in the Muslim world, America's image problem is truly global.

Funding problem

"To be effective, (the Bush administration) must be in on the take-offs, not just the crash landings," said investment banker Peter Peterson, who headed the CFR task force which produced the report.

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It says that part of the problem has been a dramatic decline in funding for government departments that were once dedicated to promoting US policy and values overseas.

The report notes that basic American values such as a belief in the democratic tradition, freedom of expression, women's rights, and education, are still admired around the world.

Much could be gained, it says, from selling American ideas and policies alongside these popular values.

Need to listen

That will not be easy for a US administration that prides itself on defending American interests where they are under threat.

Policy decisions to withdraw from multilateral treaties like those dealing with global warming or the reduction of land mines fall into this category.

So does attacking the newly-established International Criminal Court.

The Council on Foreign Relations suggests that just by "listening" to the rest of the world, instead of ignoring it, America might stand a much better chance of gaining more acceptance for its policy objectives.


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See also:

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