America needs to hire a new “brander in chief,” now that Karen Hughes has announced that she is leaving her post as a Bush adviser in December.
It’s unfair to take pot shots at Hughes’s inability to improve how the world views the U.S. because the problem—like so many others—goes far beyond communications.
But she has left an enormous challenge for whoever inherits the job. One example: According to an AP story yesterday, favorable opinion of the United States in Indonesia has plummeted from 75 percent to 30 percent since the beginning of the decade.
Who cares about Indonesia? Well, we all should. Indonesia is home to nearly 200 million Muslims, making it the largest Islamic country in the world.
In fact, the combined Islamic populations of Indonesia, Pakistan, India and Bangladesh—all non-Middle-East countries—outnumber the total number of Muslims in Iraq and Iran by nearly 7 to 1.