suggested that Hammer’s unflagging support for US-Sovietntrade has benefited the USSR far more than the US.nPrivate diplomacy is not confined to the visible celebritiesnwho actively enter into practical negotiations with high-levelnrepresentatives of foreign governments. More typical are thenpolitical idealists who go to the USSR on citizen diplomacyntours, hoping to make personal contact with the Russiannpeople. A recent special issue of New Age magazine listednpage after page of tours run by such organizations as CitizennExchange Council, Continuing the Peace Dialogue, andnEarth Stewards Network. Imagine the fun you could havenon a New Age tour, eating tofu and bean sprouts andnlistening to space-age elevator music. At least they’d let younsmoke on the plane — anything, that is, but tobacco. Inrecently heard the ultimate New Age justification for thesenefforts. You see, I was told, some monkeys were taught bynscientists to wash sandy bananas off in the ocean. Later,nwhen the scientists went to another island, they discoverednthat its monkeys already had learned how to wash off theirnfood. The message? Just like the monkeys, we humans alsonhave a cosmic consciousness, and what we talk about in Kievnor Dubuque is communicated to all of humanity. (Ofncourse, they got the monkey story wrong. The valuable skillnwas learned by a young monkey and communicated to thengroup, who passed it down to future generations as a culturalntradition. The real story has a rather different moral.)nA typical example of an ordinary citizen diplomat isnNurse Sharon Tennison, who has been going to the USSRnsince 1983. According to the authors oi Citizen Diplomats,nher eyes brim with tears when she speaks of Russia and thenpeople she has met on her trips. Her best friend is annAmerican woman who chose to live in Moscow, because —nas she says — they have better day care. Congress had betternhurry up and pass a national child-care plan before there is anmass exodus of working mothers to the USSR. When NursenTennison is asked about all the human rights violations innthe Soviet Union — not to mention the tens of millions ofnfatalities — she responds with the example of a nativenAmerican doing time for murder. You see, there’s right andnwrong on both sides.nPerhaps the most well-known American tourist to fall innlove with the USSR was Samantha Smith. While littlenSamantha may well have been used as a “pawn in anpropaganda war” — as Nicholas Daniloff described her —nshe had a good excuse: she was only 10 years old when shenwrote Mr. Andropov her famous letter. I have no doubt ofnthe sincerity of her motives, by the way. At the age of 10 shenrecognized that Yuri Andropov wanted to conquer thenworld. Would it be uncharitable to point out that when thengirl died in a plane wreck, she was being sent around by hernliberal parents to stir up opposition to the national defense ofnthe United States? It is a great pity when the young must dienas a sacrifice to the ideology of an older generation.nEven more famous than Samantha Smith is the radicalnactress-turned-workout capitalist, Jane Fonda. Miss Fonda’snforays in the cause of World Peace were back in the news onnMemorial Day, when various veterans’ groups decidedneither to forgive or not to forgive the half-repentant actress.n(Like Scadett O’Hara, she’s not sorry for what she did asnmuch as for the trouble it has brought her. The best excusenshe can come up with is that she was on drugs at the time.nWhat’s Jim Wright smoking?)nIn fact, most of her actions amounted to little more than anharmless publicity stunt, the sort of thing we expect fromnactresses who display more skin than talent in their films.nOther American peace activists went farther and collaboratednopenly with the North Vietnamese. Admiral JamesnStockdale, in his book In Love and War, recounts the storynof an American POW who had been tortured into making anphoney list of pilots who refused to serve in an immoral war.nHowever, he had the presence of mind to insert enoughnridiculous names, like Clark Kent, into his radio broadcastsnthat any sensible American would know he was acting undernduress. He got away with it until a group of Americannradicals tipped off the North Vietnamese. The torturersnwere not amused.nEven when private diplomacy efforts are patrioticngestures, most Americans are so ill-educated in thenlanguages, histories, and customs of foreign countriesnthat the stereotype of the ugly American abroad comesnclose to the truth.nEven when they are not openly collaborating with annenemy or profiting from Soviet slave labor, even when theirnpurpose is as honorable as Jesse Jackson’s when he attemptednto secure the release of an American serviceman beingnheld hostage, it is not the interest of the United States theynrepresent, but the interests of party, faction, social class, ornethnic group. Jesse Jackson went to Syria, remember, as thenself-proclaimed spokesman for black Americans, just asnRussell Banks — the American Indian movement leader —nwent to Nicaragua for the sole purpose of checking on thenMiskito Indians.nEven when private diplomacy efforts are patriotic gestures,nmost Americans are so ill-educated in the languages,nhistories, and customs of foreign countries that the stereotypenof the ugly American abroad comes close to the truth.nEven our professional diplomats — to say nothing of politicallynappointed ambassadors — rarely match European standards.nIn the specific case of the USSR, it is a very aliennculture that Europeans and Americans have always hadntrouble understanding. There is a famous story about thenBritish poet laureate Lord Tennyson and his encounter withnRussian culture. As the story goes, Tennyson was at anshooting party on the Isle of Wight with a group thatnincluded a number of Russian aristocrats. He met one ofnthem returning from a day’s hunting and asked him how henhad done. “I shot two peasants,” replied the Russian. “Younmean pheasants, don’t you?” asked the poet. “No, peasants,”ninsisted the Russian; “They were insolent, so I shotnthem.”nThis may be one of those stories one nation makes upnabout another, but the potential for misunderstanding is realnand dangerous. When private citizens go to the SovietnUnion, with little or no knowledge of the Russian languagenor the communist system, they are inevitably given anPotemkin village tour. If they are important enough, theynmay happen to meet attractive Russian girls, who happen tonfall in love with them. It is not the girls’ fault if they work fornnnOCTOBER 1988 j 9n