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UNITED STATES: Public diplomacy

John Heelan comments on my remark that "some people who studied in the US turn into anti-US leaders, just as some Africans and Indians who had studied in England on their return home became revolutionaries". John says: "Probably balanced by those non-Russians who studied in Moscow pre-Glasnost?" This is a very tricky business. Some democrats went to Soviet Russia and blithely proclaimed "I've seen the future and it works". Sometimes Soviet sympathizers like André Gide went to the Soviet Union and on their return loudly proclaimed their disenchantment. Someone who has actually been to a country and then denounces it has a special credibility. All this ties in with my general preoccupation about the world picture that people have; cf our history textbook project. Visitors to a country are affected by the accidents, good or bad, of their visit. Sometimes this can be annoying to the host country. I posted an account of an Argentine who had come to this country and prospered, but he continued to blame all the woes of Argentina on the US. The crisis came when Bush went to the UN Monterrey meeting and said he would not deal in corruption, clearly referring to stories about Latin American corruption. The Argentine insisted that he was referring to American corruption. It is impossible to win with such people.

Ronald Hilton - 6/9/02