- WASHINGTON (AFP) - The world view of the US superpower
has seldom been as low as since President George W. Bush launched the invasion
of Iraq without explicit UN approval.
- Arrogant, aggressive, too unilateralist are just
some of the terms used to describe the US administration.
- Opinion polls taken around the world confirmed the
dim view of the US leader and his policies, which is most notable among
traditional allies in Europe and the Arab world.
- Anti-Americanism has affected previous administrations
during the Vietnam war and the deployment of nuclear missiles in Europe
in the 1980s, according to Melvyn Leffler, a professor of American history
at the University of Virginia, in an article for Foreign Policy magazine.
- "But the breadth and depth of the current anti-Americanism
are unprecedented," he said.
- According to a study published this month by the
German Marshall Fund and Compania di San Paolo of Italy, 76 percent of
Europeans oppose Bush's foreign policy. This is a spectacular 20 percentage
point rise in two years.
- The fall in US popularity in the Muslim world has
been marked by an accompanying increase in the popularity of Osama bin
Laden, who tops the US most wanted list after the September 11, 2001 attacks.
- Sixty-five percent of Pakistanis, 45 percent of Moroccans
and 31 percent of Turks have a favourable view of the on-the-run Al-Qaeda
leader, according to a Pew research poll released in March.
- If the rest of the world was voting in the November
2 presidential election, the Democrats' John Kerry would walk the competition
- The Massachusetts senator easily beat Bush in 32
out of 35 countries asked by the Globescan institute for a survey released
- Kerry wins in countries that opposed the Iraq war
-- 64 percent to five percent in France, 74-10 in Germany, 61-16 in Canada
-- and those in Bush's "coalition of the willing" -- 47 percent
to 16 percent in Britain and 43-23 in Japan.
- Bush wins in Poland, the Philippines and Nigeria.
- The president's personal style is the main cause
of his popularity problems abroad, according to Thomas Carothers, a foreign
policy specialist at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in
- "The very things that make him a popular and
effective politician here at home are very irritating to many other people
in the world," said Carothers.
- "His kind of sarcastic behaviour, his kind of
popular touch which is very nationalistic, sell very poorly in the rest
of the world.
- "It seems very foreign to most other people.
There is a sort international quality of statesmen that he is the complete
- The importance of the causes that Bush espouses are
also universally recognised. The German Marshall Fund study found that
95 percent of Europeans and 96 percent of Americans believe that international
terrorism is an important threat.
- It is the answer to that threat which is in dispute.
- Only 41 percent of Europeans believe that a war is
justified, against 82 percent of Americans, most of whom also believe that
the UN approval is not necessary.
- But again, experts such as Judy Colp Rubin at the
Foreign Policy Research Institute say this is not a new phenomenon.
- "The kind of attacks encountered today would
have been all too familiar in tone to Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin,
who had to spend as much time and energy as current leaders proving to
Europeans that their country was not inherently bad," she wrote in
an essay on anti-Americanism.