US Defence Secretary Donald Rumsfeld has told the BBC his country needs to do a "better job" at communicating its policies to the rest of the world.
Rumsfeld said America remained the world's top destination
"I think the US is notably unskilful in our communications and our public diplomacy," he said in Washington.
He made a robust defence of the US role in Iraq, saying it was now up to the Iraqi people to restore order.
On Guantanamo Bay, he said the prison's reputation was "unfortunate" but its existence was necessary for security.
"No one wishes to have a facility like that, no one wishes to have to detain people," he told Sir David Frost in a special interview for BBC Newsnight's Tuesday edition.
However, conditions there were humane, he said, and any guards who had "misbehaved" had been punished.
"The people in Gitmo... 99% have the best food probably, the best medical treatment, they've ever received in their lives," the defence secretary added.
People always set out to "bring down or tweak" the world's most powerful states, he continued, citing coverage of the US on foreign media such as Arab TV channel al-Jazeera.
"You just can't hear day after day after day after day things like that that often aren't true, with a lack of balance, and not come away thinking, gee, that must not be a very good country," said Mr Rumsfeld.
Despite its image problems abroad, the US was still the country that "people want to come to, to live and to work".
Asked about relations with other world powers, Mr Rumsfeld predicted China would loosen up its political system within 15 years to match its economic reforms.
On Russia, he suggested Moscow's arms deals with countries like Venezuela and its ties with Syria were damaging its business reputation.
"Right now, Russia is making, in my view, some decisions which are... statistically... leading to a reduction in foreign direct investment," he remarked.