AUDREY WOODS, Associated Press Writer, Wednesday, June 18, 2003:
PDT LONDON (AP) — A sampling of public opinion in 11 nations finds
many see the United States as an arrogant superpower that poses a
greater danger to world peace than North Korea.
President Bush failed to impress 58 percent of those questioned by
pollsters for a British Broadcasting Corp. broadcast Tuesday night.
They said they had a fairly unfavorable or very unfavorable view of
the American president. If the American respondents were removed from
the sample, the number rose to 60 percent.
The poll questioned 11,000 people in May and June in 11 nations:
Australia, Brazil, Britain, Canada, France, Indonesia, Israel,
Jordan, Russia, South Korea and the United States. The poll was
conducted by pollsters including ICM in Britain and IPSOS Reid in the
United States. The BBC did not estimate a margin of error.
Not all the news was bad for the United States.
Even though 67 percent said they wouldn't want their countries to
copy U.S. economic policies, 67 percent would aspire to U.S. gains in
science and technology, and 56 percent to the opportunities for
advancement available to people in the United States. Forty percent
aspired to U.S. freedom of expression.
But the way the United States wields its power worried many of those
questioned for the program, "What the World Thinks of America."
Only 25 percent — excluding Americans — said U.S. military might
was making the world a safer place.
Forty-one percent agreed with Prime Minister Tony Blair's opinion
that the United States is a force for good in the world, and 55
Sixty-five percent overall — and a majority in every country,
including the United States — said America is arrogant. Forty-seven
percent said America is friendly, and 33 percent find the United
Fifty-six percent said the United States was wrong to attack Iraq.
That number reached 81 percent in Russia and 63 percent in France,
two nations that led world opposition to the war. Overall, 37 percent
said the war was right — 54 percent in Britain, 74 percent in the
United States and 79 percent in Israel.
The al-Qaida terrorist organization was ranked more dangerous than
the United States, but the Americans were judged to be a greater
threat than Russia, China, Syria and two members of Bush's Axis of
Evil — Iran and North Korea.
Even in South Korea, where tensions along the Demilitarized Zone run
high, 48 percent of respondents judged the United States to be a
greater threat to world peace than the communist neighbors to the
north, with their nuclear program.
In a studio panel of commentators, former British Cabinet member
Clare Short, who quit her post to protest the invasion of Iraq, said
post-Sept. 11 America was "a wounded giant, full of anger ... that
feels it's got to exercise its power all over the world; I think
that's becoming a frightening America."
Fifty percent of the poll respondents said they had a fairly positive
or very positive view of the United States, compared with 40 percent
who had unfavorable views. Those figures excluded Americans.
Many said their own countries were becoming more like America — 81
percent of Australians agreed with that statement, as did 64 percent
of Britons and 63 percent of Israelis.