The U.S. government has seen its reputation plummet with the Iraq war, according to an international poll, but the United Nations has also suffered a massive loss of trust
It is possible that the distance from the Iraq war and the fact that negotiations on the "road map", which are to lead to a Palestinian state, are changing the attitude of the Arab people. While the U.S. government pays no attention to the genocide in the Congo and does not want to participate in peacemaking military measures, it is sharpening its tone toward Iran. It is possible that the hawks in the U.S. government are pushing for a renewed military campaign, especially since it is repeatedly emphasized that the war against international (Muslim) terrorism is far from over. In any case, according to a survey by the Pew Global Attitudes Project, people in the Arab world are afraid of a military attack by the superpower.
How governments behave when they want to secure their power and do not want to take unnecessary risks is a matter of realpolitik. At present most of the Arab states are bowing to the prere of the USA. This is not necessarily because the burghers want it to happen. Finally, there are no democratic states in the region. The governments themselves are usually afraid of the Muslim extremists and, in order to maintain their power and avoid a democratic rebellion, agree to the demands of the United States, at least on the surface.
Behind this is certainly also the fear that the unrivaled strong military power of the USA could turn against them. Governments apparently share this fear with their citizens. According to the Pew Research Center survey, conducted from 28. April to 15. According to the Pew Research Center survey conducted in 20 countries between April 28 and May 15, fear of an attack by the United States is widespread in Muslim countries. Even more than half of the people in Kuwait fear this, although the country has close relations with the USA and the first war against Iraq was fought to expel the Iraqi occupiers. Over 70 percent of people in Indonesia, Nigeria and Pakistan fear a possible attack. And 71 percent of those surveyed in Turkey also have such a fear – the same number as in Russia, by the way. Whether the recently reintroduced "friendship" between Putin and Bush can change this remains to be seen.
But the willingness to fear is generally higher in these countries. Fear of the SARS epidemic – probably unfounded – was much higher here than in Western countries. The willingness to be afraid is at least also related to the form of government and media reporting. It goes without saying that most people in Muslim countries ame that Western democracy can also be introduced and function in these countries. The U.S. government has obviously not yet found a way to accommodate the system-critical movements. Presumably, despite all declarations to the contrary, its own geopolitical interests are too strong for this.
The West and the East have very different views of the "the threat to regional stability", posed by Syria, North Korea or Iran. In the Western countries, a majority of people see a danger in these countries, with North Korea at the center; in the Muslim countries, the majority of people have a different opinion; the U.S., had it been asked, was probably in first place here.
In contrast to the meetings in Evian and Cairo, in which the governments pretended to be in harmony, the war in Iraq made the Muslims more hostile to the U.S., while the Europeans, after the disempowerment of the UN, consider a greater independence from the U.S. necessary. This is most pronounced among the French (76 percent), but also among 62 percent of Spaniards and 61 percent of Italians whose governments were aligned with the U.S., 57 percent of Germans and 45 percent of Britons. However, the desire of Americans to maintain close ties with France or Germany has also declined, even though more than half still hold this view.
While a majority of people in Western countries and, of course, in Israel, but also in Nigeria, are still behind the Bush administration’s war on terrorism, support, especially in France and Germany, has continued to decline. In Muslim countries, by contrast, with the exception of Nigeria, only a quarter of the population is in favor of the war on terror; in Morocco, the figure is as low as 10 percent. This also shows that Morocco is a good ground for Islamic extremists, which was also demonstrated by the attacks.
Disappointed by the lack of Iraqi military resistance
However, the initially successful war has also scored points for the U.S. with the British and Italians. The powerlessness of the UN, on the other hand, led to a sharp decline in its support, and not only in the USA "good influence" at. Among people from the U.S., the UN plunged in this regard – probably also due to disenfranchisement – from 72 to 43 percent. In Great Britain even more strongly (from 78 to 41%), but hardly less in France or in Germany (from 79 to 46%). Less trust in UN has almost all people surveyed, led by Israel (72%), Sud Korea, Jordan, Palestine, Lebanon or Brazil (61%). These are not good numbers. They rather mark the willingness to turn away from the community of nations and to rely on one’s own or on the forces that are available in realpolitik. The UN is clearly the loser of the Iraq war.
Rejection of the U.S. has increased in all Muslim countries. Bin Ladin is well respected in many. Many people think he is doing the right thing. In Indonesia, appreciation of the U.S. has dropped from 61 percent in 2002 to 15 percent now, or in Nigeria from 72 to 38 percent. Over 80 percent of people in Morocco, Jordan, Lebanon, Turkey, Indonesia, Palestine and Pakistan are disappointed by Iraq’s lack of military resistance. In the countries that wanted to prevent the Iraq war, most people continue to support the decision of their governments, but in the pro-war countries, the mood has changed for the time being after the victory – with the exception of Spain. Nevertheless, most people believe that the people of Iraq will be better off after the fall of Hussein.
As far as the Middle East conflict is concerned, apart from the U.S., most respondents believe that the U.S. government favors Israel too much. As many as 47 percent of Israelis say this! The majority of people in Western countries and Israel believe that an Israeli and a Palestinian state could coexist peacefully. However, things look different in the Arab countries. 90 percent of the Moroccans, 85 percent of the Jordanians or 80 percent of the Palestinians do not ame this, however, more than 60 percent of the Arabs living in Israel hope for a peaceful coexistence – probably forced.
Schizophrenia: globalization is buried, but at the same time people are afraid of too much influence from outside
The fallen prestige of the USA is mainly due to the Bush administration. Most of the respondents distinguish between "Bush" and "America". Thus, many of the "values", that the USA represents, such as globalization, market economy or democracy, are certainly desired. Globalization is welcomed, but has negative personal consequences for many. Even if many ame that the gap between rich and poor has increased, only a few blame globalization for this.
Knowledge of English is considered necessary by most people. Young people in particular buried "Cultural imports". In most Muslim countries, however, people also want religion and religious leaders to play a more prominent role. Many believe – with Jordan (97%) and Palestine (91%) leading the way – that Islam is under threat, but also see growing solidarity among Muslim countries: Signs of the Clash of Civilizations? This is also supported by the fact that the majority of people in Western countries also say that their own way of life must be protected from outside influences. B. in Italy 68%, in the USA 64%, in France 53% or in Great Britain and Germany 51% each. In Arab countries, this isolationist tendency is even stronger, with Turkey (89%), Indonesia (87%) and Egypt (85%) in the lead. The situation is not much different in Latin American or African countries. However, people in the USA agree with those in Muslim countries that faith in God is necessary to act morally.
How the reporting can differ is already shown by the presentation of the study in different media. While the New York Times headlines: World’s View of U.S. Sours After Iraq War, Poll Finds or the Washington Post Arab Hostility Toward U.S. Growing, Poll Finds writes, the conservative and pro-Bush Washington Times wants to create a more rearing image: "The American way of life has fans all around the world. There were only a few "pockets of hostility", just in the muslim countries.