My former Governor Tommy Thompson has supported a policy of “medical diplomacy on the campaign trail. I completely support the idea. What it would entail is to look to our nations top medical graduate schools to give us their top students. They would go to third world countries all around the world to build hospitals, provide equipment and provide care. The image of young Americans going around the world to provide health care would be powerful one.
My reasoning for supporting this is not so much the altruism behind this program, but the increase in America’s soft power. I believe that anti-Americanism has risen lately, and I believe it is a problem. I also believe it can be combated. First of all, I think that any person who loves their country should want the best image for it. Second of all, anti-Americanism threatens American interests. Medical diplomacy in the muslim world will combat Islamic terrorism. If young Muslim men see America providing care, more and more will see America as a force for good. The terrorist recruiters who prey on anger, hatred, and extremism will have a smaller pool to recruit from. Moderate Muslims will have a strengthened hand as they argue against anti-Americanism. Not just in the Muslim world but all around the globe, the Tony Blair’s and Nicolas Sarkozy’s of the world will be able to talk about medical diplomacy as they use their try to persuade others that anti-Americanism is a foolish indulgence.
I am not advocating a program that would serve entire nations. It would have to be done on a small scale. Admittedly, it is mainly for public relations purposes that I support this plan. I believe in the power of images, and I’ll strongly support means to use them to support the interests of my country.