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For some time, international politics has been undergoing an amazing metamorphosis brought on by two historic developments. First, global communications revolution has democratized nature of political power on a global scale. Second, center of gravity in international politics is moving away from traditional elites of state-to-state relations to existential and democratic urges of peoples and causes.
Increasingly, world public opinion is becoming a potent force capable of decisive influence over policies and conduct of states, no matter how dictatorial or how free. The management of state-to-state relations, even though necessary, is no longer a sufficient mechanism to influence dynamics of international politics, as collapse of Soviet Union and our recent experience with Turkey demonstrate. To compete in global marketplace of ideas, we must reconstitute and reinvigorate our public diplomacy apparatus and stand solidly aligned with truth, justice, solidarity, and freedom.
Given this challenge, issue before us is clear. The nihilistic impulse of terrorism is not on trial. It offers only hatred and defends nothing. Freedom itself is not on trial. Its promise is intertwined in very fabric of human existence. What is on trial is authenticity of America's commitment to human freedom. And while we must not go abroad "seeking dragons to destroy," as Adams cautioned, we must use power of example to exalt peoples everywhere to move towards a new world order, an order infused with spirit of inalienable rights of man and freedom of individual. Without authenticity in this effort, battles may be won, but ultimate contest will be lost.
So, task ahead is not image building. Image building is unsubstantial and affronts personal dignity. Nor is task essentially an articulation and defense of US policies. Gains made for such aims can only be superficial and short-lived. The only way to win this global contest is to build authentic relationships with peoples everywhere in their struggle to realize freedom.
To that end, America has at its disposal a strategic fifth column positioned around world. This fifth column is made up of freedom-loving individuals who, while unorganized and undisciplined, are waiting patiently for trumpets to call. They man their posts in every hovel, crowded apartment, or house, in every school, workplace, or center of worship, in every rural region, town, or city in every country and hemisphere of world.
If America renews her sacred commitment to those individuals yearning for freedom, and if it keeps faith with revolutionary potential inherent in that yearning, this fifth column - backed up by America's economic, military, and diplomatic determination - will unleash democratic forces and processes in countries scattered about globe that will be irresistible. And sooner than we think, oppressors, one by one, will be vanquished.
Gerald L. Campbell served as senior staff to Members of the U.S. House of Representatives for nine years. He became Senior Advisor to the Director of the United States Information Agency (USIA) under President Ronald Reagan and President George Bush.
Campbell went on to serve the administration of President George Bush and later, he served Texas Governor Bush as Senior Advisor to the Commissioner of Health at the Texas Department of Health in Austin.