Wednesday, June 27, 2007

"US and climate top global fears"

Holee cow, I did a double take on that. That was the small blurb for a part of Guardian UK's latest online world section coverage. The full story is
here at Guardian UK online

One of the interesting parts, when you read the whole story, is that this is based on a 45000 plus interview survey on major issues. We land pretty strongly at the top (bottom?) for many people, along with global warming:

Growing numbers of people worldwide view environmental problems, pollution, infectious diseases, nuclear proliferation and the widening gap between rich and poor as the most menacing threats facing the planet, according to a 47-nation survey published today by the US-based Pew Global Attitudes Project.

The survey, which conducted more than 45,000 interviews, finds that global opinion is increasingly wary of the world's dominant countries but also unimpressed by aspiring leaders in Iran and Venezuela who challenge the international status quo. In contrast, the UN receives strong support.

The UN! Wow! one day maybe we'll find a way to respect international policy/ law/opinion. Further down, the article notes:

The US comes in for sharp criticism. "Global distrust of American leadership is reflected in increasing disapproval of the cornerstones of US foreign policy," the survey says.

"Not only is there worldwide support for a withdrawal of US troops from Iraq but there is also considerable opposition to US and Nato operations in Afghanistan ... The US image remains abysmal in most Muslim countries in the Middle East and Asia and continues to decline among the publics of America's oldest allies."

Now we might expect a certain resentment of the US in some muslim areas, but look at some other numbers:
Nine per cent of Turks, 13% of Palestinians and 15% of Pakistanis take a favourable view of the US. In Germany, the figure is 30%, in France 39% and in Britain 51% - all down on previous surveys. Only in Israel, Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya do majorities believe US forces should stay in Iraq.

This might not be all bad news, but it's sobering as many Yanquis are unable to grasp the possibility sentient life (with money, no less, and opinions) might life outside our borders, PR, or Guam:
In an implicit rejection of the Bush administration's "freedom agenda", the survey also finds "a broad and deepening dislike of American values and a global backlash against the spread of American ideas and customs. Majorities or pluralities in most countries surveyed say they dislike American ideas about democracy."

OUCH! Well, at least we can take solace in this:
Rising powers such as China and Russia get mixed reviews. Russia's Vladimir Putin scores worse than George Bush in terms of confidence that he will "do the right thing" in world affairs - 30% believe he will, against 45% for Mr Bush.

Our man George II is more admired than Vlad the Mad Putin. Of course, Putin was the one who said of II, "I hope he's smarter than he looks." He he he... well, who knew Putin knew more than we did, dammit? It's like he some kind of spy or something...

Once more, I implore us, US, U.S. to believe-- there IS life out there! Unfortunately, I think when we think of it we believe that it all comes down to some cuddly, butt-ugly alien with a fat head and a glowstick for a finger. That, my dears, is sad and potentially dangerous to our safety and harmony as a society.
U.S..go.. HOME....

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