Blogs > HNN > Ms. Hughes Goes to Jidda

Sep 28, 2005 2:31 pm

Ms. Hughes Goes to Jidda

The farcical quality of American public diplomacy in the Middle East is nicely captured by this article describing Karen Hughes's recent efforts in Saudi Arabia. The sheer dishonesty of the Saudi government (and its collaborators) provides a nice foil for the sheer ineptitude of our own. This exchange tells the tale:
Ms. Hughes, the under secretary of state for public diplomacy, is on her first trip to the Middle East. She seemed clearly taken aback as the women told her that just because they were not allowed to vote or drive that did not mean they were treated unfairly or imprisoned in their own homes.

"We're not in any way barred from talking to the other sex," said Dr. Nada Jambi, a public health professor."It's not an absolute wall."
Talk about defining things down. So it's the great achievement of Saudi life that men and women are allowed to chit-chat. Alhamdulillah. But surely the question to be asked of Dr. Jambi is: when you're done"talking" to the other sex, are you free to have sex with the other sex? For that matter, can you talk to the same sex and have sex with them? Talk to me, doctor, about those"walls."

An exponent of"American values" who can't put the relevant questions that" crudely" (i.e., straightforwardly) to a bunch of Saudi propaganda hacks is not worth having on the federal payroll, however angelically"mom-like" her demeanor. Moral of the story: play hard or stay home.

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