Karen P. Hughes, one of the few remaining members of President Bush’s circle of longtime Texas advisers, said today that she will return to private life, stepping down as the head of public diplomacy at the State Department sometime in December.
Ms. Hughes is credited with injecting new energy into the administration’s efforts to improve America’s image around the world, more actively spreading good news about the United States while more aggressively addressing bad news.
But Ms. Hughes herself has said that hers was “the work of generations,” an imposing challenge at a time when the United States was fighting wars in two Muslim countries and when terms like waterboarding and names like Abu Ghraib have entered the world’s vocabulary.
Opinion polls indicate that the image of the United States in Muslim countries — the chief target of Ms. Hughes’s labors — has not improved, and in some cases has deteriorated, since she took office two years ago. [complete article]