As an advertising agent who ran an advertising agency network in the Middle East for several years and who still visits the region on a regular basis, the stupidity of the United States to try to control the Arabic opinion since September 11, 2001, is still surprising for me. Recently, Charney’s report, requested by the Council on Foreign Relations, advocated to carry out an advertising campaign at a cost of 10 million dollars to fight against the anti-Americanism in the Arabic world. However, what this region needs the least is a campaign of this kind.
I personally witnessed the skepticism that triggered the appointment of Karen Hughes as responsible for public diplomacy. It is time to focus on the actions and put an end to the speeches. All the Arabic population feel now that the United States is a hypocrite. In these conditions, any advertising campaign would only be seen as a new means to hide the truth. The money for this campaign would be better used to implement useful programs for the Arabic society. University programs for students’ exchanges would be more interesting for a region where 65% of the population is under 25 years. As indicated by Keith Reinhard, president of Business for Diplomatic Action, university exchanges contribute somehow to break up the recruiting networks of Bin Laden.
The American business sector still fascinates Arab youngsters. Hence, an important role could be played. It could contribute with resources as well as its pragmatism.

International Herald Tribune (France)
The International Herald Tribune is a version of the New York Times adapted for the European public. It works in direct association with Haaretz (Israel), Kathimerini (Greece), Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung (Germany), JoongAng Daily (South Korea), Asahi Shimbun (Japan), The Daily Star (Lebanon) and El País (Spain). It also works, through its head office, in indirect association with Le Monde (France).

America, spare Arabs the spin”, by John M. McNeel, International Herald Tribune, June 9, 2005.