Words About Deeds

Karen Hughes, the U.S. Under Secretary of State for Public Diplomacy and Public Affairs, has been using the term "diplomacy of deeds" to describe U.S. charitable activities aimed at winning hearts and minds overseas. Retired Foreign Service officer John Brown has some doubts. He agrees that "US charitable works, like the charitable works of other nations (we are, after all, not the only country that aids other nations), are often gratefully received by those whose lives are improved by them. ... But Hughes's diplomacy of deeds has severe limitations. First, it cannot automatically be assumed that ostentatious public displays of good deeds (and Hughes certainly makes sure that her actions are covered by the media) are always appreciated by the people for whom they are intended. ... Second, Hughes's overseas public service deeds, in the global scope of things, are of small significance, for they are those of an administration that (in the eyes of the world) has committed some of the most horrid deeds of this new century, ranging from an unjustified war of aggression on an impoverished third world country to the establishment of an detainee camp at Guantanamo where prisoners are not granted basic human rights."