18 Doughty Street's latest 'ad' offering, an unabashed encomium of all things American, is attracting mixed reviews (as they say). It's the sort of thing that would appeal to Tony Blair. Previous ads have needled all the right people because they have essentially told the audience what they already know.
I'll slip in here a link to a superb article in Vanity Fair by Niall Ferguson, whose analysis of America's current situation is more than thought provoking.
Now, maybe 18DS should have looked to Stephen Shakespeare's other interest, Yougov. The Daily Telegraph commissioned a Yougov poll on attitudes to America last year. Strong results included:
- 70% like Americans, but only 12% have any confidence in America's ability to deal with world problems
- 77% think GWB is a bad leader and 74% think US policy in the ME is increasing instability in the region
- Only 11% think the US is a 'beacon of hope' for the world; 77% don't
- Curiously, 58% think it would be fair to describe the US as an Imperial power
Taking those findings as the pretext for an ad would have hit a number of right buttons. We like Americans but don't think the current US is a power for good in the world. We think the US is motivated by 'imperialist' imperatives but this is not the case.