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BBC: "World View of US Role Goes From Bad to Worse"

"The global view of the United States' role in world affairs has significantly deteriorated over the last year according to a BBC World Service poll of more than 26,000 people across 25 different countries:" 
The poll shows that in the 18 countries that were previously polled, the average percentage saying that the United States is having a mainly positive influence in the world has dropped seven points from a year ago--from 36 percent to 29 percent— after having already dropped four points the year before.  Across all 25 countries polled, one citizen in two (49%) now says the US is playing a mainly negative role in the world. Over two-thirds (68%) believe the US military presence in the Middle East provokes more conflict than it prevents and only 17 percent believes US troops there are a stabilizing force. The poll shows that world citizens disapprove of the way the US government has handled all six of the foreign policy areas explored. After the Iraq war (73% disapproval), majorities across the 25 countries also disapprove of US handling of Guantanamo detainees (67%), the Israeli-Hezbollah war (65%), Iran’s nuclear program (60%), global warming (56%), and North Korea’s nuclear program(54%). (...) Some of the sharpest drops in positive ratings over the last year came from four countries that have tended to be quite positive about the United States. Poland’s positive ratings dropped 24 points from 62 percent a year ago to 38 percent.
Does this indicate Anti-Americanism? Not necessarily. Americans have pretty negative and deteriorating opinions on US foreign policy as well. Can Americans be Anti-American as well?
Majorities [of Americans] disapprove of how the US is handling the war in Iraq (57%) and global warming or climate change (54%), while pluralities disapprove of US treatment of detainees in Guantanamo and other prisons (50%) and its handling of Iran’s nuclear program (50%). Views are divided on US handling of the war in Lebanon.  The one area that receives plurality endorsement is the US handling of North Korea's nuclear weapons program (50%). A majority of 53 percent of Americans say that the US military presence in the Middle East “provokes more conflict than it prevents,” with just 33 percent saying that it is a stabilizing force. More broadly, a majority of Americans (57%) say that the US is having a mainly positive influence in the world.  This is down from 63 percent a year ago and 71 percent two years ago.
Germans, however, seem to be more critical of US foreign policy than the average world citizen:
German views of US influence have worsened significantly over the last year, with negative attitudes increasing from 65 to 74 percent.  Only 16 percent of respondents say they have a mostly positive view of US influence in the world, down from 21 percent.  Negative attitudes about the US are also reflected in German views of US handling the war in Iraq, with an overwhelming 88 percent disapproving of the US approach to this issue.  Germans also judge the United States harshly on its handling of the treatment of detainees at Guantanamo (89% disapprove), global warming (84% disapprove) and the Israel-Hezbollah war (74% disapprove). Significant majorities disapprove of the approach to Iran’s nuclear program (64%), as well as to North Korea’s nuclear situation (56%).  Nearly three in four Germans (73%) believes the US is a destabilizing force in the Middle East, with just 17 percent saying the US military presence is a stabilizing element.
The above quotes are from the BBC World Service poll (pdf, 2 MB).
What conclusion shall we draw from the Germans' above average criticism? Regarding Anti-Americanism see the new Atlantic Review post "How widespread is Anti-Americanism?"
The BBC article about the poll "'Listen more' is world's message to US" also points out:
Comparable surveys suggest that there is still strong support around the world for the values enshrined in US society. But it looks as though America itself is seen to be living up to those values less and less. As a result, America's soft power - its ability to influence people in other countries by the force of example and by the perceived legitimacy of its policies - is weakening.


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Don S on :

What the Beeb didn't publish: "The pool also revelaed that only 1% of BBC World Service journalists held a positive view of the US - down from 2% last yeat and 3% in 2003. The last time support for the US exceeded 10% among BBC World Service journalists was in 1993." This 'quote' ids of course entirely fabrcated - but consistent with the observed situation.... on :

The BBC has jus treleased a new poll, conducted across 27 countries, asking respondents about their views of the inevitability of conflict between the "Islamic world" and the "West." For more information on this poll, visit:

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