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The U.S. And The Middle East

Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy Karen Hughes is tasked with helping the people around the world to better understand America, its values and its policies. These days, many people, Muslim audience in particular, tend to view the United States skeptically. That’s why Ms. Hughes made it one of her first priorities to visit Egypt, Saudi Arabia, and Turkey, three predominantly Muslim countries with close ties to the U.S.

Under Secretary of State Hughes says there are three main points she wants to get across. First, she said, the U.S. wants to “offer a positive vision of hope that is rooted in freedom. That is freedom for people to speak their minds and to practice their faiths; freedom to choose who represents them; freedom for women to be full participants in society.”

Second, said Under Secretary of State Hughes, the U.S. wants to “isolate and marginalize the extremists and undermine their attempt to appropriate religion. . . .At every opportunity, the civilized world and people of all different faiths, and no faith at all, must come together and say that no injustice, no complaint, can justify the murder of innocents.” And third, the U.S. wants to “foster a sense of common interests and common values between Americans and people of different countries, cultures and faiths,” Ms. Hughes said. The approach, she stressed, “needs to be open and respectful. . . .Public diplomacy needs to be as much about listening as it is about speaking; and before we seek to be understood, we must first work to understand.”

Under Secretary of State Karen Hughes said the U.S. believes “the people of the [Middle East] and the world want to express themselves. . . .Women, too, want to express themselves. We seek to achieve [greater freedom] not because these are American values but because we believe that they are international values, too. The freedom of worship, the freedom of expression, and the freedom of participation in political life are rights we all must enjoy.”

The preceding was an editorial reflecting the views of the United States Government.