FEW have the gift of knowing how others see them. Two recent polls one by the Associated Press and one by the Pew Global
Attitudes Project suggest Americans would be wise to find out.
The first poll is a snapshot of sentiment in Canada and Mexico, two nations bordering ours, and in five in Europe.
A majority thought our war in Iraq has increased the threat of terrorism throughout the world. Fewer than 10 percent thought
the reverse. A majority in all countries, including ours, thought the Israeli-Palestinian situation increased the risk of terror.
Over half in Mexico and Italy had a negative view of President Bush s role. In Britain and Canada, it was two-thirds. In Spain and
France, 75 percent and 80 percent.
At the same time majorities in five of eight nations polled the United States, Canada, Mexico, Italy, and Britain thought reasons beyond weapons of mass destruction justifi ed the Iraq invasion.
The Pew poll, taken in February and released this week, snapped attitudes of people in Jordan, Morocco, Pakistan, and Turkey, whose governments, like Spain s once did, have strong ties with ours.
Most believed we are in the Middle East not to wipe out terror but to control oil assets and dominate the world. Many in France, Germany, and Russia share these suspicions. In contrast, American and British majorities believe we are in Iraq in a sincere effort to end world terrorism. That s a significant split.
Almost two-thirds of those polled in Pakistan viewed Osama bin Laden favorably.
That bodes poorly for the deal the Bush Administration cut to be quiet about Pakistan s $100 million nuclear arms dealing to
Libya, North Korea, and Iran in return for help in capturing the leader of al-Qaeda.
About half of Pakistanis polled approve Palestinian suicide bomb attacks against Israelis and U.S. troops in Iraq. Two-thirds
or more in Jordan and Morocco feel the same way. A majority in Pakistan and Jordan think Iraq will be worse off without
People in the Muslim countries are angry at our policies and don t believe what 70 percent of Americans do, that the United States takes other nation s interests into account in setting policy.
Two-thirds of those polled in France, Germany, Russia, and Turkey would like to see the European Union become as powerful as we are. Majorities in Britain, France, Germany, Russia, and Turkey thought Europe should be independent of the United States in security and diplomacy.
These polls suggest we ve inflicted damage on ourselves in the fight against terrorism. Foreign leaders who have been on our side when their people aren t have lost office in Spain, Korea, and Germany.
Britain may be next. Maybe we need to be a little less full of ourselves if we are to remain mankind s greatest hope.