Wednesday, July 22, 2009

World Opinions of the US- New Pew Survey Release!

This morning I journeyed upstairs to the National Press Club for the release of a new Pew Global Attitudes Survey of 25 countries including; Brazil, Britain, Canada, China, Egypt, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Israel, Japan, Jordan, Lebanon, Kenya, Mexico, Nigeria, the Palestinian territories, Pakistan, Poland, Russia, Spain, South Korea, Turkey, and the United States. The report was discussed by former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, former U.S. Senator John Danforth and Andrew Kohut, President of Pew Research Center. The 2009 survey, based on about 27,000 interviews, examined the attitudes toward the US, confidence in President Obama and views of American foreign policy. It also took stock in attitudes toward other major powers, Islamic extremism and global problems such as the worldwide recession, climate change and swine flu. Some important points;

  • U.S. Ratings Soar in Western Europe, Rise Elsewhere, Spurred by Obama’s Image
    U.S. ratings in Western Europe have risen to pre-Bush levels.

  • Belief that Obama will “do the right thing in world affairs” is nearly universal in Western countries, where lack of confidence in Bush was endemic for much of his time in office.

  • Opinions of America have also become more positive in key countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia, reflecting optimism about Obama.

  • Israel stands out as the only public among the 25 surveyed where U.S. favorability has dropped.

  • U.S ratings are driven more by personal confidence in Obama than by opinions of specific policy decisions, analysis shows.

  • U.S Image Improves Only Modestly in Muslim World; Cairo Speech Gets Mixed Results
    U.S. favorability ratings nearly doubled in Indonesia, where most know of Obama’s family ties to the country.

  • Modest gains are evident in Egypt, Jordan and Lebanon, but animosity toward the U.S. is unabated in Turkey, the Palestinian territories and Pakistan.

  • Even so, significant percentages express confidence in Obama to “do the right thing in world affairs” even in nations where the U.S remains unpopular.

  • U.S. favorability ratings slipped 13 points among Israelis after Obama’s June 4 Cairo speech and rose only marginally (5 % points) among Palestinians.

  • The number of Palestinians saying that Obama would consider their interests when making policy rose from 27% before the speech to 39% afterward.

  • For the first time, confidence in the American president tops confidence in Osama bin Laden in most Muslim nations surveyed.
  • Approval for Most Obama Foreign Policies – and High Expectations for Future

  • Large majorities in almost all countries surveyed support the decisions to close Guantanamo and withdraw troops from Iraq.

  • But most publics, including majorities in NATO nations surveyed and Pakistan, oppose sending more troops to Afghanistan. Only Israelis and Americans support the move.

  • Most think that Obama would seek international approval before using military force.

  • While most global publics think Obama will take into account the interests of their country when making U.S. policy, most say that the U.S. is not currently doing so.

  • Optimism exists, especially among Western Europeans and Canadians, that Obama will get the United States to take action on climate change.

  • Overwhelming numbers around the world continue to see the U.S as having a big – often bad – influence on their own countries. After steady declines from 2002 to 2008, the 2009 survey finds renewed support among allies for U.S.-led efforts to combat terrorism– except among most Muslim publics.

Danforth commented on the report saying, "It's great to be popular but I don't see where it gets us. [This] popularity is a result of a more passive approach of terrorism," citing the favorable opinions of the closing of Guantanamo, the withdrawal of US troops from Iraq and the dissatisfaction for advancement of the US role in Afghanistan. Madeleine Albright disagreed with Danforth saying that "the way that the Bush administration fought terrorism," in her belief, "brought more terrorism." The press conference was best summed up by Albright, "It is nice to be liked, people don't have to say they're from Canada anymore when they travel." A statement I could related to.

For the full report visit this Pew website:

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