Tuesday, January 23, 2007

View of America's Global Role Worsens

PANW Editor's Note: The issue of how the United States is viewed in the world has more to do with the current policies towards the middle-east, environmental concerns, mass poverty than with Islam per se as a religion. The decline in the image of the United States occured some time before the events of 9-11. The more people in the United States are willing to come to grips with their image throughout the world, the better equipped they will be to learn from other peoples' throughout the world.

Abayomi Azikiwe

View of US's global role 'worse'

The view of the US's role in the world has deteriorated both internationally and domestically, a BBC poll suggests.

The World Service survey, conducted in 25 nations including the US, found that three in four respondents disapproved of how Washington has dealt with Iraq.

The majority of the 26,381 respondents also disapproved of the way five other foreign policy areas have been handled.

The poll, released ahead of President Bush's State of the Union speech, was conducted between November and January.

The number of those who said the US was a positive influence in the world fell in 18 nations polled in previous years.

In those countries, 29% of people said the US had a positive influence, down from 36% last year and 40% two years ago.

Across the 25 countries polled, 49% of respondents said the US played a mainly negative role in the world.

In Kenya, Nigeria, the Philippines and the US most of those polled said they thought the America had a positive role.

But among Americans, the number of those who viewed their country's role positively fell to 57% - six percentage points down from last year and 14 percentage points down from two years ago.

Mid-East role

Respondents were also asked about the Bush administration's handling of six areas of foreign policy:

The war in Iraq: an average of 73% of respondents disapproved (57% in the US). Disapproval was strongest in Argentina and France, while people in Nigeria, Kenya and the Philippines were more likely to approve.

Detainees in Guantanamo: 67% disapproved (50% in the US). Backing for America on this issue was highest in Nigeria, where 49% approved.

Israeli-Hezbollah war: Washington's role met with approval from respondents in Nigeria and Philippines, but on average 65% disapproved across the 25 countries (50% in the US).

Iran's nuclear programme: again, support for US actions appeared strongest in Kenya (62%), Nigeria (53%) and the Philippines (52%). But, overall 60% of respondents disapproved (50% in the US).

Global warming: more than 80% of respondents in Argentina, France and Germany disapproved compared to 56% overall (54% in the US). But the White House had 50% or more support among those polled in Nigeria, Kenya, the Philippines and South Korea.

North Korea's nuclear programme: opposition to US policy was strongest among respondents in Argentina and Brazil. On average across the 25 countries 54% disapproved (43% in the US).

When asked about US military presence in the Middle East, an average of 68% of respondents across the 25 countries answered that it "provokes more conflict than it prevents".

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In Nigeria, 49% of respondents said it was a "stabilising force", as did 41% in the Philippines, 40% in Kenya and 33% in the US.

The poll was conducted for the BBC World Service by GlobeScan and the Program on International Policy Attitudes (Pipa) at the University of Maryland. It has a margin of error ranging from +/-2.5% to +/-4%.

The questions were put to people in: Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, Nigeria, Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Russia, South Korea, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and the United States.

How do you view the US's influence in the world? Do you approve or disapprove of the way it handles foreign policy issues? Use the form below to send us your comments.

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Story from BBC NEWS:
Published: 2007/01/23 00:16:47 GMT

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