Glenn Greenwald

Posted by Glenn Greenwald on July 13, 2011 in News Clips

I've written numerous times over the last year about rapidly worsening perceptions of the U.S. in the Muslim world, including a Pew poll from April finding that Egyptians view the U.S. more unfavorably now than they did during the Bush presidency.  A new poll released today of six Arab nations -- Egypt, Lebanon, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates and Morocco -- contains even worse news on this front:

The hope that the Arab world had not long ago put in the United States and President Obama has all but evaporated.

Two and a half years after Obama came to office, raising expectations for change among many in the Arab world, favorable ratings of the United States have plummeted in the Middle East, according to a new poll conducted by Zogby International for the Arab American Institute Foundation.

In most countries surveyed, favorable attitudes toward the United States dropped to levels lower than they were during the last year of the Bush administration . . . Pollsters began their work shortly after a major speech Obama gave on the Middle East . . . Fewer than 10 percent of respondents described themselves as having a favorable view of Obama.

What's striking is that none of these is among the growing list of countries we're occupying and bombing.  Indeed, several are considered among the more moderate and U.S.-friendly nations in that region, at least relatively speaking.  Yet even in this group of nations, anti-U.S. sentiment is at dangerously (even unprecedentedly) high levels.

In one sense, this is hardly surprising, given the escalating violence and bombing the U.S. is bringing to that region, its ongoing fealty to Israel, and the dead-ender support the American government gave to that region's besieged dictators.  Though unsurprising, it's still remarkable.  After all, one of the central promises of an Obama presidency was a re-making of America in the eyes of that part of the world, but the opposite is taking place.  

More significantly, as democracy slowly but inexorably takes hold, consider the type of leaders that will be elected in light of this pervasive anti-American hostility.  When the U.S. propped up dictators to suppress those populations, public opinion was irrelevant; now that that scheme is collapsing, public opinion will become far more consequential, and it does not bode well either for U.S. interests (as defined by the American government) or the U.S.'s ability to extract itself from its posture of Endless War in that region.  Given that it is anti-American sentiment that, more than anything else, fuels Terrorism (as the Pentagon itself has long acknowledged), we yet again find the obvious truth: the very policies justified in the name of combating Terrorism are the same ones that do the most to sustain and perpetuate it.

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