In the Name of Allah, the Compassionate, the Merciful
=== News Update ===
Global Unease: Anti-Americanism on the Rise
Possibly the largest public opinion poll ever undertaken, with interviews conducted in 47 countries.
By Gary Feuerberg
Epoch Times Washington, D.C. Staff
Jul 02, 2007
“NO NATION COMES OUT GOOD” says former U.S. Senator John Danforth (R-MO), June 27, 2007, at the National Press Club, regarding the 47-nation Pew Global Attitudes Survey. “The international system is in disarray,” agreed former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright. (Gary Feuerberg / The Epoch Times)
Washington, D.C.A worldwide survey finds global public opinion expressing increasing negative views of the United States and a lack of confidence in President Bush. Global support for the “war on terror” is lower than ever.
But the other dominant nations of the world, Russia, China and the European countries fared no better, and no nation or the United Nations has filled the void in world leadership. In China’s case, its rising economic and military power is viewed with deepening suspicion by some nations.
This 2007 survey is the sixth world public opinion survey of the Pew Global Attitudes Project, which has been conducted since 2002. This most recent survey is by far the largest global survey Pew has conducted, consisting of 45,239 interviews, over a 2-month period in 46 countries and the Palestinian territories. It is likely the largest public opinion poll ever undertaken, according to Donald Kimelman, a managing director at the Pew Charitable Trusts. Without modern technology, it would have been impossible before to simultaneously conduct so many interviews across the globe.
The report for this survey, Global Unease with Major World Powers ( Global Unease, for short), was released June 27 at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and former Senator John C. Danforth made comments. Albright and Danforth are co-chairs of the Pew Global Attitudes Project, which is sponsoring this series of worldwide public opinion surveys.
U.S. Image Abroad
“Over the last five years, America’s image has plummeted throughout much of the world, including sharp drops in favorability among traditional allies in Western Europe, as well as substantial declines in America, the Middle East, and elsewhere,” says Global Unease.
An extreme case is Argentina. In 2000, half the population viewed the U.S. favorably. In 2007, the percent favorable declined to only 16%. In 2000, the U.S. had an 89% favorable rate in Venezuela; in 2007, it is 56%. Mexico has the same percentage favorable in the 2007 survey as Venezuela.
Another extreme case is Turkey, a NATO ally. The lowest country rating in the survey was Turkey’s 9% U.S. favorability rating. Other Middle East nations aren’t a whole lot better: “More than three-in-four Palestinians, Turks, Egyptians, and Jordanians express unfavorable opinions of the U.S.,” says Global Unease.
In some Middle East countries, the nation’s overall score is not very meaningful. For example, in Lebanon 47% are favorable towards the U.S., but among the Christian minority it is 82%, and with the Shia majority, it is 7% favorable. 92% of the Lebanon’s Shia population has an unfavorable view of the U.S.
Israel, the U.S.’ closest ally in the region, is holding at a 78% favorable view of the U.S.
In Europe, the percentage favorable towards the U.S. has dropped precipitously since 1999/2000. During this period Great Britain went from 83 to 51% favorable view of the U.S. Today, France (39%), Germany (30%), Spain (34%) and Sweden (46%) have less than a majority with a favorable view of the U.S. Only Italy in the sample had a majority (53%).
However, attitudes of European nations towards Americans tend to be much higher than for America. For example, Germans and Swedes give 63% and 73%, respectively, favorable ratings of the American people.
In Asia, the U.S. image depends mostly on whether the country is largely Muslim or not Muslim. The U.S. is widely unpopular in Pakistan (15%), Malaysia (27%), and Indonesia (29%)all three are predominately Muslim. Global Unease attributes the recent decline in U.S. favorability to the Iraq war and the war on terror, which Muslims tend to strongly oppose.
One Asian country that is an exception to the rule is China. China is not a Muslim country but exhibits favorability ratings towards the U.S. almost as low (34%) as the Muslim countries. Both Pakistan and China shifted a lot towards an unfavorable view of the U.S. this last year.
The United States remains popular in India (59%), Japan (61%), South Korea (58%), and Bangladesh (53%).
U.S. Foreign Policy Unpopular in Most Nations
The belief that the U.S. gives little or no consideration to countries like theirs when making foreign policy decisions is especially prevalent in Europe, the Middle East and Asia. Israel in the Middle East and India in Asia were both exceptions to the rule with only 24% saying that the U.S. does not take into account the interests of other countries. Strong majorities in 30 of the 46 countries criticized U.S. unilateralism. The most extreme cases were France and Sweden where about nine out of ten express this view (France: 89%, Sweden: 90%).
Even Kuwait, which was liberated by American forces in 1991, has shifted in this direction. In 2003, 35% said that the U.S. pays little or no attention to the interests of countries like theirs, but now 64% say this.
International support for America’s war terror has fallen considerably since the 9/11 attacks. “The fallout has been especially steep in Europe, with decreases of at least 25 percentage points in Ukraine, France, Great Britain, Poland, Germany, Italy, and the Czech Republic.” In the Western Hemisphere, sharp drops were recorded in Venezuela (45%) and Canada (37%).
Majorities in 43 of the 47 countries say the U.S. should remove its troops as soon as possible from Iraq. Even majorities in Turkey (86%), Jordan (83%) and 56%)countries that border on Iraq and who might be concerned that a U.S. departure would hurt regional stabilityfavor a quick U.S. withdrawal.
While it is not surprising to see opposition to the Iraq war, the survey also found a large amount of skepticism about military operations in Afghanistan, where “we have a good reason to be there,” said Secretary Albright. The majority of 32 of 47 countries want the U.S. and NATO forces out of Afghanistan as soon as possible. Even in the U.S. and Britain, 42% thinks we should disengage. In America, half (50%) believe they should stay.
The report mentions “a global backlash against the spread of American ideas and customs.” In most countries surveyed, the most popular view is one of dislike for American ideas about democracy with Turkey (81%), France (76%) and Pakistan (72) leading the pack. This sentiment has increased in most regions since 2002. However, majorities in most African nations, Israel, South Korea and Japan still retain positive views of the U.S. approach to democracy.
More than any other country, the U.S. is named as the country that is “hurting the world’s environment the most.” China is mentioned next most often as a contributor to global environmental problems.
Secretary Albright spoke of how difficult it is to be the U.S. representative at the UN when the U.S. image is so low.
Concern Over China’s Expanding Power
The survey found that China’s growing power, both economic and military, are fueling anxiety.
Unfavorable views of China dominate in Western Europe, particularly in Spain (43%), Germany (54%), France (51), Italy (61%). China’s growing economic power is perceived as an economic threat in Western Europe, where close to two-thirds of Italians and the French believe this expansion is bad for the country. Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center, said the developed countries especially fear competition from China.
Opinion of China is much more negative in Japan (Unfavorable: 67%, Favorable: 29%). This represents quite a turn-around; the 2002 Global Attitudes survey found 42% unfavorable and 55% favorable. India too has become somewhat more negative on China, where the favorable percentage dropped from 56% in 2005 to 46% in 2007. In general, however, China’s image is positive in Asia, particularly in Malaysia (83%), Pakistan (79%), Bangladesh (74%) and Indonesia (65%).
China’s economic power appears to foment much anxiety in Mexico, Czech Republic, South Korea, and India. These countries say by large majorities that China’s growing economy is a bad thing: Mexico (55%), Czech Republic (56%), South Korea (60%) and India (48%). At the other extreme, the African nations surveyed are much more welcoming to China’s economic power, e.g., 80% in Nigeria say China’s growing economy is a good thing.
While most of the world, with strong reservations, views China’s economic growth positively, its military expansion has been a greater cause for concern. Approximately, two out of three interviewed in the United States (68%) and Canada (66%) say China’s growing military power is a bad thing for their countries. Other countries are even more negative: South Korea (89%), France (84%), Japan (80%), Germany (77%) and Russia (70%). A majority in India (59%) express the same concern.
Concern by China’s neighbors, India, Japan, and South Korea for China’s military expansion is natural, given the bitter history of these nations with Communist China. Other neighboring nations of China are not alarmed. Majorities in Pakistan (57%), Malaysia (57%) and Bangladesh (51%) regard China’s stronger military as good for their country.
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