Saturday, January 26, 2013

"Public Diplomacy" Karen Hughes at Harvard as a Spring Fellow

Hughes image from
"UNDER SECRETARY HUGHES:  ... I had one person at one lunch raise the issue of the President mentioning God in his speeches. And I asked whether he was aware that previous American presidents have also cited God, and that our Constitution cites 'one nation under God' [which of course it doesn't -- JB]. He said 'well, never mind' and went on to something else. So he sort of was trying to equate that with the terrorists’ (inaudible). So I explained that I didn’t really think that was something you could equate. And he sort of dropped it and moved on. He was one of the opposition leaders in Egypt."
--Former Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs Karen Hughes, recently named as a "Spring Fellow" at Harvard University

Of all the people on our small planet to choose as an inspiration for the young (and not-so-young) students at a major American University, Harvard, I cannot think of a worst choice than Ms. Karen Hughes. [See below Harvard announcement on "Harvard’s Institute of Politics Announces Spring Fellows"].

Never mind that she has no academic "credentials." Given the so-called "scholarly" works produced by all too many American learneries, monographs mostly unreadable except for those that write them (if indeed those that write them can make any sense of what they've actually written), this need not be a primary consideration. Is not "experience," in the long run, probably more important than "scholarship" in the field of diplomacy?

Yes, experience counts. But what concerns me, as someone who left the State Department to protest the Bush II war plans regarding Iraq, about Hughes-at-Harvard is that of all the people involved in/concerned by a tragic period in American history -- the War in Iraq and its aftermath -- is why this superficial go-Dubya-go PR/propagandist (I have actually read her illiterate Ten Minutes from Normal, now available on Amazon for $6.00, far too high an expense), should have been chosen by a major American university to enlighten students.

Are there not others to deal intelligently with this sad part of our history?

Invite her for a Harvard conference, fine. But as a "Spring Fellow" at a university founded by religious persons with a conscience, a putative center of learning rather than of spin or "truthiness"?

Is Harvard rewarding/acknowledging intellectual, if not moral, mediocrity, dare I say in the name of "diversity of opinion"?

Just askin'.

There are many distinguished scholars/practitioners who have examined the tragic American intervention in Iraq  -- from a "public-diplomacy" perspective -- critically and honestly despite that they are not "Worldwide Vice Chair, Burson-Marsteller."

Why not consider them rather than Ms. Hughes? I can provide Harvard with names, if I can be useful to its educational efforts.

Among my modest pieces re Ms. Hughes:

What’s WHIG all About? An Open Letter to Karen Hughes
A Failed Public Diplomat
Karen Hughes on the Middle East
The Second Coming of Karen Hughes
Sinking in the Polls: Karen Hughes' Public Diplomacy
Indoctrination at an Early Age
Memo to Karen Hughes

Here's the Harvard announcement, in abbreviated form:

"Harvard’s Institute of Politics Announces Spring Fellows

Cambridge, MA – Harvard’s Institute of Politics, located at the John F. Kennedy School of Government, today announced the selection of an experienced group of individuals for Resident and Visiting Fellowships this spring. Over the course of an academic semester, Resident Fellows interact with students, participate in the intellectual life of the Harvard community and lead weekly study groups on a wide variety of issue areas. Visiting Fellows join the Institute for a shorter period and maximize their time meeting with students, faculty and Harvard research center staff.

'We are looking forward to welcoming a great group of Resident and Visiting Fellows to Harvard this spring,' said Harvard Institute of Politics’ Director Trey Grayson. 'Our spring Fellows class features public servants with significant experience in politics, campaigns, international diplomacy, journalism and elected office that is sure to interest our students, faculty and the Harvard community.'

The following Resident Fellows will join the Institute for the spring semester and lead weekly study groups on a range of topics:

Charlie Cook, Political Analyst, Editor and Publisher, 'The Cook Political Report;' Columnist, National Journal magazine

Amb. Karen Hughes, Worldwide Vice Chair, Burson-Marsteller; Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs (2005-07) and Counselor to President George W. Bush (2001-02) ..."

1 comment:

USuncutMN said...

Dead on.
Worse choice? One simply cannot think of one ..