What the World Thinks of Us:
A Poll with a Clear Message
National Public Radio senior news analyst Daniel Schorr recently shared this provocative set of numbers revealing what much of the outside world thinks of America since the invasion of Iraq. They were compiled by Daniel Yankelovich who is chairman of Public Agenda, a nonpartisan opinion research organization.
88% of Muslims believe that the United States doesn't respect Islamic values.
93% of Muslims believe that the West doesn't understand Muslim culture.
89% of Muslims don't approve of President Bush.
The invasion of Iraq deepened anti-American animosity in the Arab world. An unfavorable opinion of the United States is held by 87% of Egyptians, 94% of Jordanians, and 97% of Saudi Arabians.
Large majorities in nearly all Muslim countries worry about a military threat from the United States, including: 74% in Indonesia, 72% in Nigeria, 72% in Pakistan and 71% in Turkey.
56% of Muslims in all nations surveyed believe that Iraq is worse off since the toppling of Saddam Hussein.
What do our European friends think of us? The post-9/11 perception in Europe is that the United States is acting solely in its own interest without regard to the interests of traditional allies, including:
68% of Italians, 73% of British, 80% of French, and 85% of Germans.
How many of America's traditional friends in Europe consider the United States a threat to world peace? 52% of the French, 55% of the British, 63% of the Dutch, and 88% of Greeks.
Professor Yankelovich found that in some countries the stress and dislike of the United States doubled and tripled within the course of a single year after the invasion of Iraq. The Pew Global Attitudes Project, which conducted a great deal of the research, concludes that the war in Iraq has further inflamed the Muslim world and widened the rift between the United States and Western Europe. (The above is distilled from a transcript from National Public Radio, Sunday Morning September 26, © NPR 2004).
These numbers are no surprise to people who understand world affairs. And they are not disputed. But they don't say anything directly about how we should react as citizens of the United States. Some Conservatives (unilateralists) find these numbers just bolster their views. Many Liberals (multi-lateralists) think this kind of isolation in world opinion is not good for our national security.