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Damage Control: US Has Long Way to Go Before Image Fixed

During his first interview as president, Barack Obama said his "job to the Muslim world is to communicate that the Americans are not your enemy." Well considering the level of dissatisfaction around the world, especially in the Middle East and Northern Africa, Obama may have little time for anything else.

According to a new Gallup poll, only in Sub-Saharan Africa do the majority of people (72 percent) approve of the job performance of the United State's leadership. Overall, only 34 percent of respondents around the world approve. And when it comes to what will help improve their views of the US, pulling out of Iraq, and closing Guantanamo Bay prison top the list of image-fixers.

Americans might actually agree with their international critics, considering only 31 percent of Americans think the country is going in the right direction.

Do you think significant gains in goodwill can be made in the near future?


Grandpa Grandpa 8 years
Can you explain the Muslim riots around the world over some carton in a Danish paper no one ever heard of? The Islamofacisists hate everything not only everything "western", but everything in the Muslim world that does not adhere to their warped sense of what the Muslim religion is supposed to stand for. I guess it is all Bush's fault that women can go to school and even ::gasp:: have careers in Afghanistan and Iraq. Did anyone take note of the elections just held in Iraq? Do you think that would ever have happened if there had not been a Bush led intervention? As far as Iraqi’s hating Bush and Americans, I think you are seriously misreading the mood of Iraq in general. No one claims that Iraqi’s universally love us, but lets face it, here in this country we do not universally love anyone, or any policy. The media can play up differences, and they can gloss over perceived differences. An example if Bush was still in office what are the odds that the MSM would be all over the administration and FEMA screaming about those one million people still without electricity after 5 days, and how cruel and incompetent the administration is.
amybdk amybdk 8 years
Beautifully said, Hypno.
Shadowdamage Shadowdamage 8 years
"The US seems to have adopted an "if you're not with us, you're against us" attitude over the last few years." - Indeed. Its very sad to run into people from so many countries all feeling either angry, frustrated, worried, saddened or downright amused (in a dark way) by the US's conduct over the past 8 years. No country is perfect, but as the US so often is portrayed as having a way of life "as near as" - the image was tarnished. Conservatives "may not care" what the world thinks - but what the world thinks DOES matter and will continue to do so. Suck it up.
lildorothyparker lildorothyparker 8 years
(This post coming from the international sugar audience) While I agree that the President's primary objective is to serve Americans, I believe that it is equally important to maintain positive relationships with neighbours and allies. The US seems to have adopted an "if you're not with us, you're against us" attitude over the last few years. While I personally see flaws in this ideology, it is one that Canadians and many others have lived with (for example, initial apprehension regarding invading Iraq strained the Canadian-American relationship). Even our decidedly right-winged Prime Minister distanced himself from the Bush administration in the last year or so. If you want cooperation amongst your international peers on issues of global importance, it's not a bad idea to care about how the government is perceived.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
Grandpa you make excellent points and I'm sure no on here in their right mind would deny that America has done good. Our good effect however is not at question it is our bad effect. Just like any individual for instance The Gov. of Illinios no matter how many good deeds he puts on the table for us to see none of them excused his bad deeds. The same goes for the U.S. I don't believe for one minute that in most cases there was ill intent however regardless of our good intent some of our actions have caused negative effect and to pretend that that does not matter or that it is excused by our good effect is exactly the type of arrogance that the Arab & Muslim community is fed up with. We do not have a free ticket to ride. We have to pay for our bad effect just like every one else.
True-Song True-Song 8 years
It's not like it's a matter of whether they think we're pretty. This isn't the time for the pep-talk you give a 13 year old, "It doesn't matter what other people think!" It does matter. Because a politician in a country where the US is unpopular has no incentive to appear to be cooperating with us.
stephley stephley 8 years
Would Obama doing anything with the detainees change the meaning of what the Bush Administration did? It seems to me, that you're simply hoping Obama continues the abuse, not denying that it is wrong. I'm not sure many people would describe Afghanistan as 'free'; what's to become of Iraq has yet to be seen. I'm sure you'd love to see me take Krauthammer apart piece by piece, and it would be easy to do, but I'm not interested in entertaining people. You can read the newspaper or, dare I suggest it, points of view that are different from your own and get a sense of what's wrong with his claims. In fact, I would think any person who thinks they are open-minded would do that as a matter of course.
Grandpa Grandpa 8 years
Hundreds of thousands were freed from oppresion in Afghanistan and Iraq Before you go off on detainees, lets see what President Obama does with them. I would love you to take apart piece by piece the points that krauthammer made.
stephley stephley 8 years
Charles Krauthammer is a conservative pundit, and must not have been paying attention in the recent past to claim that Islam was "supposedly disrespected and demonized". There's nothing supposed about it. The last President and his administration gave themselves permission to detain Muslims from any country, torture them, and hold them for years without charge. Thousands of citizens of Iraq and Afghanistan have been killed or wounded in our wars there - thousands more have lost everything. To deny that the Bush Administration's America was disrespectful, insensitive or uncaring is an egregious lie.
Grandpa Grandpa 8 years
This I stole from another poster, but the article speaks for itself. The President has no right to revise history, and would have better served U.S. reputation by pointing out what we have done, rather then apologising. Every new President flatters himself that he, kinder and gentler, is beginning the world anew. Yet, when Barack Obama in his inaugural address reached out to Muslims with "to the Muslim world, we seek a new way forward, based on mutual interest and mutual respect," his formulation was needlessly defensive and apologetic. Is it "new" to acknowledge Muslim interests and show respect to the Muslim world? Obama doesn't just think so, he said so again to millions in his al-Arabiya interview, insisting on the need to "restore" the "same respect and partnership that America had with the Muslim world as recently as 20 or 30 years ago." Astonishing. In these most recent 20 years - the alleged winter of our disrespect of the Islamic world - America did not just respect Muslims, it bled for them. It engaged in five military campaigns, every one of which involved - and resulted in - the liberation of a Muslim people: Bosnia, Kosovo, Kuwait, Afghanistan and Iraq. The two Balkan interventions - as well as the failed 1992-93 Somali intervention to feed starving African Muslims (43 Americans were killed) - were humanitarian exercises of the highest order, there being no significant U.S. strategic interest at stake. In these 20 years, this nation has done more for suffering and oppressed Muslims than any nation, Muslim or non-Muslim, anywhere on Earth. Why are we apologizing? And what of that happy U.S.-Muslim relationship that Obama imagines existed "as recently as 20 or 30 years ago" that he has now come to restore? Thirty years ago, 1979, saw the greatest U.S.-Muslim rupture in our 233-year history: Iran's radical Islamic revolution, the seizure of the U.S. embassy, the 14 months of America held hostage. Which came just a few years after the Arab oil embargo that sent the United States into a long and punishing recession. Which, in turn, was preceded by the kidnapping and cold-blooded execution by Arab terrorists of the U.S. ambassador in Sudan and his charge d'affaires. This is to say nothing of the Marine barracks massacre of 1983, and the innumerable attacks on U.S. embassies and installations around the world during what Obama now characterizes as the halcyon days of U.S.-Islamic relations. Look. If Barack Obama wants to say, as he said to al-Arabiya, I have Muslim roots, Muslim family members, have lived in a Muslim country - implying a special affinity that uniquely positions him to establish good relations - that's fine. But it is both false and deeply injurious to this country to draw a historical line dividing America under Obama from a benighted past when Islam was supposedly disrespected and demonized. As in Obama's grand admonition: "We cannot paint with a broad brush a faith as a consequence of the violence that is done in that faith's name." Have "we" been doing that, smearing Islam because of a small minority? George Bush went to the Islamic Center in Washington six days after 9/11, when the fires of Ground Zero were still smoldering, to declare "Islam is peace," to extend fellowship and friendship to Muslims, to insist that Americans treat them with respect and generosity of spirit. And America listened. In these seven years since 9/11 - seven years during which thousands of Muslims rioted all over the world (resulting in the death of more than 100) to avenge a bunch of cartoons - there's not been a single anti-Muslim riot in the United States to avenge the greatest massacre in U.S. history. On the contrary. In its aftermath, we elected our first Muslim member of Congress and our first President of Muslim parentage. "My job," says Obama, "is to communicate to the American people that the Muslim world is filled with extraordinary people who simply want to live their lives and see their children live better lives." That's his job? Do the American people think otherwise? Does he think he is bravely breaking new ground? George Bush, Condoleezza Rice and countless other leaders offered myriad expressions of that same universalist sentiment. Every President has the right to portray himself as ushering in a new era of this or that. Obama wants to pursue new ties with Muslim nations, drawing on his own identity and associations. Good. But when his self-inflation as redeemer of U.S.-Muslim relations leads him to suggest that pre-Obama America was disrespectful or insensitive or uncaring of Muslims, he is engaging not just in fiction but in gratuitous disparagement of the country he is now privileged to lead.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
Oh I know that chatondeneige. I deal with people from all over and people around the globe generaly like American people however it's like you stated it is our administration for the past eight years that they take issue with.
genesisrocks genesisrocks 8 years
Yes! Sub-Saharan Africa likes us!
chatondeneige chatondeneige 8 years
mydiadem, mine do the same thing. They're having sleepy time right now, but by the time I'm home from work (Friday is a short day for me, just an hour or two in the evening!) they'll be in the middle of the two or three hours they spend wrestling each day. :) Hypnotic, this isn't a "What do you think of the American people" poll, it's a "What do you think of the job performance of American leaders" poll. At this point, I don't think we can afford to put others' opinions ahead of our own benefit.
Jude-C Jude-C 8 years
"Actually no, the government doesn't need to spend time focusing on how other countries feel about us. If the government pursues policies that are for the most part appropriate and respectful to other countries, goodwill tends to take care of itself. It's when we bigfoot people that they tend to get angry." Well said, Steph.
azulsky azulsky 8 years
According to this poll the only group that likes the US is Sub-Saharan Africa and since China has started showing great interest in that region recently I think it's a positive thing. Bush made a concerted effort in that region and it obviously paid off. Extending our hand to other countries doesn't diminish the US plus the global community wants us to get our domestic life in order since its impacted their economies as well. We can take care of our lawn and clean up the house at the same time.
organicsugr organicsugr 8 years
"organic - I'm taking a poll today. How do you feel sub-Saharan Africans are doing in their country?" Well, I've gotta say, I'm pretty impressed. Let me just say, living below the Sahara desert is no easy task. I'm not going to say they couldn't do better, because who couldn't? Now, I'm reluctant to give them some sort of a grade, because I'm not that sort of guy (the judgmental type, that is). But, if you insist on polling me, I would give them an A-.
hypnoticmix hypnoticmix 8 years
Well of course gains in good will can be achieved we're not locked into position. We will recieve what we project let's just put it that way. This graph also goes to show that our past actions did create seeds of discontent around the globe. If discontent is on the rise what do you think that is going to produce more of? Those who are discontent enough to either be brain washed by or seek out terrorists networks. It's one thing to build a fortress of protection but what good is that when you can never leave for the growing army out side those walls. This is a global community that we need to engage whether we like it or not. Yes we need to be strong but we also need to be smart.
stephley stephley 8 years
Actually no, the government doesn't need to spend time focusing on how other countries feel about us. If the government pursues policies that are for the most part appropriate and respectful to other countries, goodwill tends to take care of itself. It's when we bigfoot people that they tend to get angry.
mydiadem mydiadem 8 years
Loving the kitties chaton, mine go from that to wrestling in 2.2 seconds.
chatondeneige chatondeneige 8 years
Do you really think that the government should spend more time focusing on how other countries feel about us, giving them less time to focus on our own economy? It's a foolish sentiment, we have enough to think about without worrying what people in Northern Africa think of Obama.
stephley stephley 8 years
Not a threat Hain, just a reminder that stuff like that usually comes back on a person. CG, I understood what you said.
CaterpillarGirl CaterpillarGirl 8 years
My point steph is that we shouldnt care either way. Our job, Obamas Job isnt to be popular. You dont get ahead as a country by measuring your success based on what other countries think, good or bad.
StolzeMama StolzeMama 8 years
haha lili--- that's funny. I think i am going to try and think that from now on. At least i will smile while on this site. Steph- is that a threat?
stephley stephley 8 years
Just remember you said that.
liliblu liliblu 8 years
Hainan every time you post I hear Stewie's voice saying the words.
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