The Mission: Reconcile America and the World

Discussion in 'Politics' started by 2cents, Oct 5, 2006.

  1. nothing's impossible i guess...

    The Mission: Reconcile America and the World

    New York: Keith Reinhard arrives from Berlin. While leaving Newark Airport in New York, he says he detects progress. The immigration agents seemed less suspicious than usual. "I saw a few smiles, including on those who take the fingerprints."

    Keith Reinhard is a Madison Avenue advertising executive of some renown. The former president of DDB Worldwide , he has founded an organization to try and contain the anti-Americanism that has taken over the planet: Business for Diplomatic Action .

    One of its initiatives is to make America's front door more accessible. Walt Disney and Loews, for example, are working to spruce up America's image. The Cerberus' of immigration have started to get the message. [The Cerberus is the three-headed guard dog of Hades ]. "When people manage to cross the border and visit the country, they hate us less," according to Mr. Reinhard.

    To restore the image of the United States, the advertising executive believes that rather than government, action taken in the business world is far more effective. This is all the more true since, as the group's vice president Thomas Miller says quite directly, the American government is no longer a credible messenger: "He [Bush] speaks, but in the rest of the world, people don't believe him."

    Created officially in 2003, Business for Diplomatic Action now contains representatives of McDonald's, Microsoft and Exxon. The overseers of the business world are worried that they can no longer escape the decline in America's image. According to a recent study of teenagers in thirteen countries, not a single American company is on their list of favorites. Even Nike has been overtaken. The three that received the highest marks are Sony, Adidas and Nokia.

    The argument according to which anti-Americanism is mainly political whereas people consume U.S. products anyway is less and less sustainable.

    "There is a cooling toward American popular culture," notes Mr. Miller. More and more people are turning to local culture.

    The United States is no longer one of the top three countries that young people want to live in or visit. America has been overtaken by Australia, the United Kingdom and Canada.

    "People go where they get the warmest welcome," said Miller. "The world saw us closing our doors."

    In 2005 with a subsidy of $250,000 from Pepsi, Business for Diplomatic Action produced a "World Citizen's Guide ." The accent is put on respect for local culture. Visitors should consider themselves ambassadors. '"Americans that speak loudly," are invited to go missing, in favor of the discreet tourist who avoids strong expressions of opinion, even less so in regard to religion. The Guide wars: "You are no longer in Kansas." Attention: "Even ordinary everyday things may not be as they are at home." The visitor reads the press to his own peril. "If you read the news, you will notice yourself that not everyone holds the United States in the highest esteem."

    According to Thomas Miller, the decline of America's image began before September 11 2001, because of the rapidity of globalization.

    "We said to ourselves: we won the Cold War. Everyone loves us."

    And the next presidential election in 2008 will not put an end to the problem.

    "We are unlikely to succeed in persuading the world to love us," estimates Carl Eggspuehler, a former State Department public affairs and public diplomacy official. But we hope to be able to return to the point that at least the United States is respected."

    Keith Reinhard himself places his hope in the universities, which are among the rare American institutions to have escaped the international lack of love. "This is not related to a particular individual. It's about whether we have the power as a nation to bring progress to other places." And he continues: "To bring the kind of progress that we ourselves would like to receive, of course."