In her Wednesday column in the New York Times the hot redhead Maureen Dowd opened by suggesting that the White House hire an anthropologist. I am an anthropologist. Iâ€™ve offered them my services. Or, more accurately, Iâ€™ve offered to share reliable information my publishing company has about what people in nations around the world think about us and why they think those things.
Weâ€™ve made this offer twice. To Sec. of State Rice. And to Asst. Sec. Karen Hughes, shortly before she became our ambassador to the world. Based on the silence that followed, I doubt they will follow Dowdâ€™s advice now.
Hereâ€™s a bit of what they are missing. Most nations base their opinions of us mainly on what we have done for or to them lately. And, since the opening of the Iraq War, what we might do for them or to them in the near future. While many nations admire much about us, trust is low and fear is high. We are most popular in Eastern Europe (we are better than the Russians â€“ who isnâ€™t?) and in some former French colonies in Africa (we are better than the French â€“ again, who isnâ€™t). Behind these gross generalizations is a great of variation across nations and over time in each nation.
Our books on this will be out later in the year but we thought weâ€™d be good citizens and give the government a head start. After all, they accepted my offer when I volunteered for the army in 1966!