Saturday, October 22, 2005

part 6

The Zogby poll of six Arab countries from June 2004 cited above showed that Arabs in every country polled thought that American foreign policy was how they base their views of the country. In Morocco, 79% said that American policy dictates their views of the US, like wise in Saudi Arabia, Lebanon, Jordan and UAE, American policy was cited by 86%, 89%, 76%, and 75% respectively as the main reason for unfavorable opinion. Finally when asked in these countries (in an open ended question) “what should America do to better its image in the Middle East?” 30-65% replied that the US must change its policy towards the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. In all the countries, American values were secondary to policy in determining the views of the people surveyed. These polls do not reflect anti-American values but anti-American policy and so one cannot conclude that Arabs do not want democracy, freedom, and equality, America’s known staples around the globe. In fact, in almost all Arab countries polled in April 2002 by Zogby International, Arabs held favorable views of American democracy, freedom, technology, and the movie industry. However, the Zogby polls done two years later, June 2004, revealed that there is about a 15% decrease of people who thought that American democracy and freedom were favorable. In all the cases American policy was still about 40% less favorable than American democracy and freedom but it is a clear case in which deep hostility to American foreign policy spilled over into American values. Yet while clear majorities in the Arab world found American democracy and freedom favorable, after the invasion of Iraq these numbers declined but still about 40% or more of each Arab country surveyed envied Americans their democracy.


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