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Coming through customs at Doha International Airport you pass a billboard for this micro-state's most famous export: the Al-Jazeera satellite news channel. Its headline:
.view of point different A
Ra'ed Qaqish is the sort of person the United States is supposed to be reaching out to. He wants to be friends with the United States, but just now he is feeling slighted.
Qaqish is a freshman member of Jordan's parliament. A Christian in his early 40s who represents the town of Salt, about 20 miles west of Amman. He arrived late for our lunch explaining by way of apology that he had been with the mayor of Salt discussing his idea to establish a sister city agreement with Burlington, Vermont, which he visited last year.
Perhaps, just perhaps, Colin Powell's round of the Sunday talk shows marks the beginning of a new Bush administration approach to public diplomacy. In discussing Iraq Powell used a disarmingly simple public diplomacy tactic: he acknowledged reality.
Asked on ABC’s "This Week" about the security situation in Iraq Powell replied "it’s getting worse, and the reason it’s getting worse is that they are determined to disrupt the elections."
It was one of those scenes you ought to be able to see in Baghdad, but probably will not for quite some time. The post-reception party for a high society wedding had taken over Amman's trendiest restaurant. There was an open bar, pounding music in the cool night air, and Saudis and Americans alike could be found dancing on the tables.
Now this is something you don’t see every day.
Al-Ittihad, an Abu Dhabi-based newspaper that is the semi-official mouthpiece of the United Arab Emirates, took on a series of taboo subjects with a single editorial Wednesday.
Calling the beheading of two American hostages in Iraq "repulsive" the paper criticized the targeting of “innocent people whose only fault was going to Iraq to help its people and stand by it in its calamity.”
One of the more far-sighted things the first president Bush did was to refrain from gloating over the collapse of the Soviet Union's empire in 1989-90. I thought about this when word came this evening of the current President Bush’s decision to lift most (but not all) US sanctions on Libya.