politics, USA, world

Global Unease With World’s Major Powers

A few days ago, I read about the recent results of the Pew Global Attitudes project. Here is part of Pew’s summary of their own results (full summary here):

A 47-nation survey finds global public opinion increasingly wary of the world’s dominant nations and disapproving of their leaders. Anti-Americanism is extensive, as it has been for the past five years. At the same time, the image of China has slipped significantly among the publics of other major nations. Opinion about Russia is mixed, but confidence in its president, Vladimir Putin, has declined sharply. In fact, the Russian leader’s negatives have soared to the point that they mirror the nearly worldwide lack of confidence in George W. Bush.

These are merely the most popular of the results. There are number of potentially more interesting things that I was modestly surprised by.

Pew reports that dislike of America and its methods of business are decidedly lower in African countries than it is even in traditional allies like Israel, Poland, and Japan. I was left questioning the methodology of the survey, wondering if the methodology itself could sway the data toward an upper-class data set (by virtue of phone penetration) that would in general have a different view than their fellow citizens. Alas, upon closer examination I found that the results were gathered face-to-face in most of these countries, leaving me with something more of a mystery.

I also found it interesting that a lot of the distrust of US power was due not only to our continued “coalition” presence in Iraq and NATO presence in Afghanistan, but to our perceived role in continuing pollution levels that are harmful to the environment (though China merited a good deal of the burden for this as well), and our continued leadership in sustaining the divide between rich and poor.

More troubling to me personally, is that Pew reports that views of the American citizenry are increasingly coming to see it as just as culpable for US policies as our government is. This is not really unexpected, after all, we are electing our leaders, but why this has changed since the survey was last conducted in 2001 is something of a mystery to me.

I could go on, but I think I covered all the major points I saw. I would really encourage you to give the summary a look. It’s very interesting stuff, and I mean that.

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