We read in the New York Times that:
Last week, during a visit to Pakistan by Richard C. Holbrooke, Mr. Obama's special envoy, Pakistanis told his entourage that America was widely despised in their country because, they said, it was obsessed with finding and killing Osama bin Laden to avenge the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Yes, we Americans are a bit obsessed finding Osama bin Laden. (Though the Bush Administration wasn't overly obsessed, obviously). Americans believe that there is no statute of limitations on murder, and that murderers should be caught and punished. Apparently, it's different in Pakistan, which is a place well-known for turning the other cheek.
This story points to the limitations of public diplomacy, and to Adm. Mullen's efforts to reform our public relations efforts in the Muslim world. At the end of the day, Bin Laden is most likely hiding somewhere in Pakistan and it is America's duty to catch him or kill him. If Pakistanis don't like that, well, our choices are two: Continue the hunt anyway, or stop the hunt and hope that Pakistanis like us more. I am doubtful about the second option, for the simple reason that in the late 1990s, when I traveled in Pakistan quite a bit, many of its people already hated America rather intensely. There is not a lot we can do to make Pakistanis like us, I'm afraid.
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