Survey of 44 nations shows growing discontent over U.S.
Smaller poll reveals conflicting opinions on Iraq
WASHINGTON (BNW) -- Discontent with the United States has grown around the world in the past two years but there is still widespread goodwill toward the country and its citizens, according to a survey released Wednesday.
The Pew Research Center conducted the survey of more than 38,000 people in 44 countries, called "What the World Thinks in 2002."
The survey found that since 2000, favorable ratings for the United States have fallen in 20 of the 27 countries for which the previous data was available. But in 17 of those 20 countries, a majority of people still viewed the United States favorably.
The survey highlighted conflicting attitudes about the United States. People around the world said they embrace American culture but decried U.S. influence on their societies. American unilateralism was criticized, though the U.S.-led war on terrorism enjoyed wide support outside the Muslim world.
On other topics, the spread of disease was named the top global problem in more countries than any other international threat. Fear of religious and ethnic violence ranked second, with nuclear weapons running third.
People in the United States, Canada and Western Europe expressed a greater satisfaction with their lives than did people in Eastern Europe, Asia and Africa.
Canada, Uzbekistan and Vietnam were the only countries in which a majority of respondents had a favorable view of their nation's condition. Vietnam was the only country in which a majority of respondents -- 51 percent -- said they had a positive view of the state of the world.
A separate survey of people in the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and Turkey found a split in opinion on whether and by what means Iraqi President Saddam Hussein should be removed from power.
Large majorities in France, Germany and Russia said they opposed the use of force to remove Saddam, but majorities in all three countries said they considered Iraq a "great" or "moderate" danger. British respondents were evenly split on using force to remove Saddam, and 62 percent of Americans favored it.
An overwhelming majority of Turks surveyed said they opposed allowing the United States and its allies to use bases in Turkey for military action against Iraq.
Majorities of those surveyed in France, Germany and Russia said they thought a desire on the United States' part to control Iraqi oil, not the belief that Iraq is a threat, would be the reason behind any U.S. military action against Baghdad. Forty-four percent of British respondents agreed.
Two-thirds of Americans surveyed said the United States is willing to use force because it believes Iraq is a threat.