Tuesday, June 13, 2006

America, The Shining City On The Hilltop, Is Shining Less Brightly In The Eyes Of The World Largely Due To The Military Intervention In Iraq

WASHINGTON, June 13 — "As the war in Iraq continues for a fourth year, the global image of America has slipped further, even among people in countries closely allied with the United States, a new global opinion poll has found.

Favorable views of the United States dropped sharply over the past year in Spain, where only 23 percent now say they have a positive opinion, down from 41 percent in 2005, according to the survey, which was carried out in 15 nations this spring by the Pew Research Center.

In Britain, Washington's closest ally in the Iraq war, positive views of America fell to 56 percent this year, from 75 percent in 2002, before the war began.

Other countries where positive views dropped significantly include India (56 percent, down from 71 percent since 2005); Russia (43 percent, down from 52 percent); and Indonesia (30 percent, down from 38 percent). In Turkey, a NATO ally of the United States, only 12 percent said they held a favorable opinion, down from 23 percent last year.

Declines were less steep in France, Germany and Jordan, while people in China and Pakistan had a slightly more favorable image of the United States this year than last.

The ebbing of positive views of the United States coincides with a spike in feeling that the war in Iraq has made the world a more dangerous place. This perception was shared by majorities in 10 of the countries surveyed, including Britain, where 60 percent said the world had become more dangerous since Saddam Hussein's removal from power in 2003.

Over the past year, support for the American-led fight against terrorism also declined again, Pew found.

Many respondents distinguished between their largely negative feelings about President Bush and their feelings about ordinary Americans. Majorities in seven countries polled had favorable views of Americans, led by Japan, at 82 percent, and Britain, at 69 percent.

But only in India and Nigeria did majorities express confidence in Mr. Bush. In Spain, just 1 in 14 respondents registered confidence in him, as did only 1 in 33 in Turkey, an important NATO ally.

After a tumultuous year in both Iraq and Afghanistan, the fight against terrorism is now backed by majorities only in Russia and India, while support has virtually collapsed in Japan, the poll found. In Spain, deeply affected by the March 2004 bombings in Madrid, a scant 2 in 10 people back the American-led fight....

All groups except Americans and Germans saw the United States presence in Iraq as posing a greater threat to world peace than the threat posed by Iran, which is pursuing a uranium enrichment program that the United States and other Western countries view as a prelude to developing its own nuclear weapons. Russians held that view by a 2-to-1 margin, and even the British did so by a narrow margin.

"Obviously, when you get many more people saying that the U.S. presence in Iraq is a threat to world peace as say that about Iran, it's a measure of how much Iraq is sapping good will to the United States," said Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center....

Pew surveyed 16,710 people in Britain, China, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Jordan, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Spain, Turkey, and the United States. The polling was conducted from March 31 to May 14."

Brian Knowlton, International Herald Tribune "World's Image of U.S. Slips Further, Survey Shows" New York Times, June 13, 2006


War-mained Iraqi child, one of scores of thousands of Iraqi casualties of the Iraq War, 2003- .

Photo credit: Iraqi War Civilian Casualties. With thanks.



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