Europeans have deep reservations about military action against Iraq, a new poll suggests. Here are some details about public attitudes on a possible war with Iraq from separate polls taken in the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and Turkey by the Pew Research Center of the People & the Press.
The polls of about 1,000 people in each country were taken in early November and have error margins of plus or minus 3 percentage points.
--Almost two-thirds in the United States, 62 percent, said they favor taking military action in Iraq to end Saddam Husseinís rule. In Britain, people were evenly divided about their country joining such an effort while the French were opposed by a 2-1 margin, the Germans by a 3-1 margin and the Russians by a 6-1 margin.
--People in Turkey said they opposed allowing the United States and its allies to use bases in Turkey for military action in Iraq by a margin of 83-13. The United States is currently asking Turkey to allow the use of bases.
--When asked how worried they were that a war in Iraq could lead to an all-out war in the Middle East, almost two-thirds of Turks said they worry a great deal about that possibility. Over half in Germany and Russia said they worry a great deal about an all-out war. Just over a third in the United States were worried a great deal about that prospect.
--About six in 10 of the residents of Britain, France and Russia said a war with Iraq would increase the chances of terrorism in Europe, while just over half in Germany and two-thirds in Turkey felt that way.
--Asked why the United States might use force against Iraq, three fourths in Russia and France said to control Iraqi oil, while about one in five or less said because Iraqi leader Saddam Hussein is a threat to stability. Residents of Britain were evenly split on the question, while more than half in Germany said to control Iraqi oil.
--More than half of those in Turkey said they see U.S. aggression against Iraq as part of a war against Muslim countries it sees as unfriendly, while a third said because Saddam is a threat to Middle East stability.
Dec 5th, 2002, 12:06 PM
I'm not surprised. :)
Dec 5th, 2002, 12:07 PM
As far as I can see the politicians and Bush are the only ones that want it.
Dec 5th, 2002, 06:57 PM
Bush fails to win over sceptical Europeans
Poll on war with Iraq shows France, Germany and Russia opposed, UK divided
Julian Borger in Washington
Thursday December 5, 2002
The transatlantic divide over a war with Iraq is wider than ever, despite US attempts to rally world support for a potential military campaign, according to a survey of global attitudes published yesterday.
The Pew Research Centre, a non-partisan Washington polling group, found that while a substantial majority of Americans still favour the use of force to remove Saddam Hussein, France, Germany and Russia overwhelmingly oppose it. Britons, meanwhile are split down the middle on the issue.
In a particularly worrying sign for the Turkish government, which on Tuesday gave the US a cautious green light for the use of its bases for an attack on Iraq, the survey found that 83% of Turks objected to their country being used as a launching pad for an invasion.
Most Turks interviewed said they believed the campaign against Saddam was part of a general war against unfriendly Muslim countries, and had nothing to do with the threat posed by the Iraqi dictator.
The Pew global attitudes project, which interviewed more than 38,000 people in 44 countries, found America's image slipping over the past two years in most countries where comparative data was available, a decline which appears to have outweighed the international wave of sympathy for the US that followed September 11.
The survey, carried out under the supervision of the former US secretary of state, Madeleine Albright, suggested that European attitudes towards Iraq were complicated.
Sizeable majorities in Britain, France, Germany and Russia thought that Iraq represented a great or moderate threat. In Britain, 75% of those asked said that Saddam Hussein "must be removed", compared with 75% of the Germans 63% of the French, and 42% of the Russians.
However, when asked if President Saddam should be removed by force, 71% said no in Germany, 64% in France and 79% in Russia. In Britain 47% said no, and 47% yes - more proof, if any were needed, that the country is deeply split on the prospect of war.
By contrast, 62% of Americans favoured a war and only 26% opposed it, suggesting that the Bush administration has for the time being succeeded in stopping the erosion in American public support for a new Gulf war.
Opinions about the prospect of a war mirrored national views on the motivation behind the US military build-up in the Gulf. Three-quarters of the French and Russians surveyed said they believed it was motivated by Washington's desire to control Iraq's oil reserves, rather than a genuine belief that Saddam Hussein posed a threat. A slimmer majority of Germans thought the same way.
The British, once more, were divided 44% against 45% on the issue, while 67% of Americans had confidence in their government's good faith. Only 22% thought it was all about oil.
The transatlantic split was also reflected in the differing expectations of the consequences of an Iraqi war. Majorities in Europe, including Britain, thought it would increase the risk of terrorism in Europe. Only 45% of Americans expected it to lead to an increase in terrorist attacks on the US.
The split over Iraq has widened alongside a general decline in America's global image since President Bush took office, although the US remains a remarkably popular country in Europe in view of the near-constant transatlantic quarrels of recent months. The apparent paradox suggests that most ordinary Europeans distinguish between the US as a nation and the policies of the present government.
Seventy-five percent of British respondents have a favourable view of the US, compared to 83% two years ago. Over the same period, US popularity in Germany declined by 17%, to a still affectionate 61%. In France, 63% had a similarly high opinion of the country the French love to hate, a slight increase over the past two years.
The Pew survey found that "true dislike if not hatred, of America is concentrated in the Muslim nations of the Middle East and Central Asia, today's areas of greatest conflict".
Majorities in Lebanon and Ivory Coast said they thought suicide bombing was "justifiable" if it was "in defence of Islam".
Dec 5th, 2002, 09:41 PM
Huge study finds even allies see America as overbearing
December 5, 2002 Posted: 04:45:11 AM PST
By DAVID WESTPHAL
BEE WASHINGTON BUREAU CHIEF
WASHINGTON -- The United States' standing with the rest of the world has taken a sharp downward turn in the past two years, reversing the initial pro-American reaction that followed the Sept. 11 attacks, according to a massive new survey of global public opinion.
While unhappiness with the United States has grown strongest in the Muslim world, it also is a significant trend in Western and Eastern Europe and Latin America, according to the study.
"The image of America is slipping all around the world," said Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, which conducted the survey.
Perhaps most worrisome to the administration, some of the biggest declines in U.S. prestige have occurred in Turkey and Pakistan, two countries that are critical in the administration's campaigns against Iraq's Saddam Hussein and against terrorism.
Kohut warned that worse might be ahead, with a potential war against Iraq likely to raise anti-U.S. sentiment.
In a follow-up survey last month, pollsters found overwhelming opposition in France, Germany, Russia and Turkey to the idea of removing Iraqi President Saddam Hussein by force. The closest expression of support came from the British, who were evenly divided. Meanwhile, large majorities saw the United States as more motivated by Iraqi oil than by a desire to remove Saddam.
While unearthing abundant skepticism about the United States, the Pew study found a healthy wellspring of pro-American feeling in many nations.
Citizens in the majority of countries surveyed said they had a favorable impression of the United States and an even more favorable impression of U.S. citizens.
Overwhelmingly, they rejected the idea that the world needs a superpower counterweight to the United States. That's true even in Russia, one of the few places where the United States was viewed more favorably today than it was two years ago (61 percent vs. 37 percent).
President Bush, asked about the report Wednesday, suggested that the world watch what the United States is doing in Afghanistan. "Not only did we liberate Afghanistan from the Taliban," he said, "we remain in place with a lot of aid and a lot of help. ... And suffering is less because of the United States of America."
The president said he hoped the Muslim world was hearing his message "that we fight not a religion, but a group of fanatics which have hijacked a religion."
The Pew report marked one of the most extensive efforts ever to gauge worldwide opinion, with 38,000 people surveyed in 44 nations.
The questionnaire was translated into 63 languages and dialects and administered mostly in people's homes.
Some countries did not participate
Even so, the project was turned away by a number of governments, including Saudi Arabia and Morocco. In other cases, such as in Egypt, pollsters refrained from asking certain questions, fearing government reprisals.
Former Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, who oversaw the project's executive committee, said the study pinpoints a worrisome course for U.S. foreign policy. "I think we are being isolated," she said at a breakfast meeting with reporters.
Albright acknowledged that she was "part of the problem" when, as secretary of state in the Clinton administration, she referred to the United States as "the indispensable nation."
But, given the nation's overwhelming world dominance today, she said, American officials must make a major effort to show it wants to be "part of the world rather than telling everybody what to do."
The report's authors said Americans must come to grips with the fact that they see their actions in a much more benevolent light than do others around the globe.
Three-fourths of Americans say U.S. foreign policy takes account of others' views. Among other nations, though, only in Germany and Uzbekistan do a majority hold that same opinion. Even Britons, by a 52-44 margin, say Americans don't listen to others on foreign policy.
Despite this avalanche of negative views, the new survey acknowledged that world opinion about the United States is a complicated stew. While complaining that U.S. influence is too overwhelming, most respondents said they welcome American technology and cultural exports such as music, movies and TV shows. A majority support the Bush administration's war against terrorism, but argue that the United States acts far too unilaterally.
Kohut said that because of the immediacy of global communications today, there's a "certain intractability" in the United States' ability to answer criticism of its vast influence.
Yet Albright said the country's leaders must figure out a way to deal with the fact that, in 19 of 27 countries for which there were comparable statistics, unfavorable views of the United States have risen in the past two years. Of utmost concern, she said, is that the most strongly anti-American sentiment is coming from the Muslim world.
Islamic countries war on terrorism
According to the survey, unfavorable opinions of the United States range as high as 69 percent in Egypt and Pakistan and 75 percent in Jordan. By similar margins, Islamic countries oppose the U.S.- led war on terrorism.
On the issue of suicide bombings, the study turned up a wide range of views among Muslims. Asked whether the bombings are justifiable in defense of Islam, 73 percent of Muslims in Lebanon said yes. In Turkey, 13 percent supported the idea.
It's not just on foreign policy that the United States differs sharply from other nations. The survey points to huge differences in quality of life.
Nearly two-thirds of Americans said they were content with their quality of life. In most other countries, though, large majorities expressed dissatisfaction. In China, India and Russia, for example, three countries that make up 40 percent of the world's population, fewer than 1 in 4 said they were content with their quality of life.
But the tables are flipped when it comes to thinking about the next generation. Asians, for example, are more bullish about their children's futures than are Europeans or Americans.
Dec 6th, 2002, 09:09 PM
I'm glad to see the Europeans protest an unjust war.