July 08, 2004

Soft Power In Iraq

Robert Alt's current article in NRO shows how US actions in Iraq are quietly burnishing our reputation in ways that don't get reported much but will build and grow in effectiveness over the course of the next few decades. A bull session in an Internet cafe reveals that people in the PRC are very interested in how Iraqis are rapidly transitioning to a free society at a pace that far exceeds what the Chinese Communist Party wants to permit back home. No doubt this is the sort of thing that independent reporters from a large number of slowly reforming states are doing, operating well under the radar screen, planting the seeds of "why can they do it but we aren't allowed to?" in the minds of their fellow countrymen. Along with those seeds will be planted the idea that a major cause why the Iraqis can is that the US military paid an up close and personal visit to get things rolling.

No doubt similar journalists are visiting Georgia to analyze the Rose Revolution that is moving things along quite quickly without the US military taking such a direct role. But there too, you see a great deal of gratitude for US support in building up the forces that eventually overthrew their local tyranny. This kind of national advertising is the best kind, based on testimonials and facts on the ground.

Keep looking out for small stories like this. It's the great missed story of 2004 as far as the mainstream media is concerned.

Posted by TMLutas at July 8, 2004 06:36 PM