Sunday, March 27, 2011

The United States' Popularity


As a fairly outspoken critic of the president lately, based mainly on the three wars and Guantanamo, I really enjoyed this article. Perhaps, my personal disappointment over his failure to keep certain of his promises had blinded me to the big picture.

Respondents in 100 countries were surveying and the United States was the most popular world power at 47%. This is a roughly 14% increase in America’s global standing since the Bush administration.
What's your opinion? Is there something to these popularity figures? Are they indicative of the kind of trend they suggest?

Please leave a comment.

23 comments:

  1. This blog to which you link actually is quoting from politicus, the first national blogs where I was a writer (and admin) and gives the most recent update for something I also wrote about in February on Penigma. Under Obama our country has had an impressive improvement in reputation over the disasterous downslide under Bush:

    http://penigma.blogspot.com/2011/02/faking-facts-to-try-to-make-bush-look.html#more

    I think your phrase "three wars" is an overstatement. The action in Libya doesn't count as a war; we're already minimizing any involvement. Apparently joining in a no-fly zone is a sufficiently low level and short term involvement that it has not been regarded as sufficient to require the larger consultation with, and approval from, congress in the past. Which makes senes, given Congress was on yet another recess at the time this occurred.

    Our action in Libya is the first time we haven't been on the side of a dictator or authoritarian acting regime, but instead been on the right side of history, in that part of the world (northern Africa) for quite a while.

    What Obama has succeeded in doing is to connect to secular, democracy-seeking citizens.

    The American right's insistence on promoting rabid islamophobia is endangering that progress, and enabling those few radicalizing muslims by giving them propaganda ammunition to use against us.

    You will never find Obama being so ignorant as McCain, or the "W" Bush administration as to not understand the distinctions between the larger secular muslim populations and the few radicals; or the differences between the sunni and shia muslims either.

    This is ultimately the triumph of having an intelligent and educated thinking man in the Whitehouse, not an ideologue Christian fundamentalist.

    People sometimes seem to forget that all religions, including Christianity, have their fanatics. We have our own share of these theocrats in our own government.

    We should get rid of our own before busting anyone else's chops over theirs.
    http://penigma.blogspot.com/2011/03/right-winger-wrng-again-rep-peter-king.html

    •There were 80 total plots by U.S.-originated non-Muslim perpetrators against the United States since 9/11. In comparison, there have been 45 total plots by U.S. and foreign-originated Muslim perpetrators since 9/11.

    •There have been least 5 incidents of non-Muslim violent extremists possessing or attempting to possess Biological, Chemical or Radiological weapons. One of those incidents occurred since Obama’s election. No such cases involving Muslim violent extremists have been reported since 9/11.

    •Evidence clearly indicates a general rise in violent extremism across ideologies. Using Obama’s election as our measurement, since November 4, 2008 there have been 45 plots by domestic non-Muslim violent extremists. By comparison, there have been 22 plots by Muslim U.S. and foreign-originated extremists. Each of these categories constitutes about 50% or more of all violent extremist cases in each dataset since 9/11.

    We could begin by getting rid of Mr. King from office. He supported different factions of the IRA which committed terrible civilian terrorism in the UK, including a bombing which killed an American citizen and British police.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Yes they think outside this country bama is better than the chimp. So are you and I - big deal.

    Look at what we got going on here. It's worse than when the chimp was enthroned. When you fire missiles and shoot other killing devices into another country that's war no fucking if's ands or buts!

    Some country shoots their shit into ours what the hell do you think it would be called.

    It will not be long and you will hear from the dimocraps -why are those libruls and progressives so angry?

    ReplyDelete
  3. "You will never find Obama being so ignorant as McCain, or the "W" Bush administration as to not understand the distinctions between the larger secular muslim populations and the few radicals; or the differences between the sunni and shia muslims either."

    but, but, but; there ain't no difference, they're all 'zackly the same. Just like all christians from Mennonites to Eric Rudolph are 'zackly the sam--, oh, I'm sorry, what was I thinking.

    I think W is supposed to have said, "I don't do 'nuance'.". The reality is that he and his "folks" CAN'T do nuance on foreign policy or anything else.

    ReplyDelete
  4. "Look at what we got going on here. It's worse than when the chimp was enthroned. When you fire missiles and shoot other killing devices into another country that's war no fucking if's ands or buts!"

    Except that we joined with our allies - with some of whom share treaty obligations that the president is required to fulfill - at the request of the local population, and with the approval and at the request of the Arab League. That makes it a requested intervention, or military assistance, not war.

    There are subtle but distinctly different kinds of military actions besides war; not all military actions are acts of war. Perhaps you should learn a bit more about military history.

    ReplyDelete
  5. Perhaps YOU - no not perhaps just plain kiss my ass. It's all okay cuz you said it was. It's not.

    ReplyDelete
  6. One Fly said...
    "Perhaps YOU - no not perhaps just plain kiss my ass. It's all okay cuz you said it was. It's not."

    I'll pass on embracing your behind.

    It is 'all okay' because (now pay attention flyspeck) 1. because we were invited to act BY the country we targeted with bombs to do so, not launching agression against an entire country; and 2. because it makes us better loved than not; and 3. because it saved lives, tens of thousands of them, while costing relatively few - and many of those who were targeted weren't even Libyans, they were foreign mercenaries; and 4. many of the Libyan military were on OUR side of the conflict.

    It seems to me that if you're attacking soldiers, to be declaring war on a country you have to actually be fighting THEIR military.

    These are all pertinent factors to what defines a war, fly weight. Learn some of them, so you can avoid simplistic arguments.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Consider further, flybynight, the notion that war takes place between countries.

    This is not, arguably, a military conflict with Libya, it is a military conflict with Quadaffi. Big Mo's official position is not that of an elected leader, like a president or a prime minister - as Quadaffi himself was at great pains to point out in an interview he did prior to the international action.

    http://abcnews.go.com/International/christiane-amanpour-interviews-libyas-moammar-gadhafi/story?id=13019942

    "...Moammar Gadhafi this evening, when he told me he could not step down because he is not a president or king,"

    Gadhafi (or whatever spelling you prefer) holds the title of general, which is at best quasi-official (he gave it to himself after a military coup); he holds no officially recognized title of leadership.

    Have you ever read the Geneva Conventions? It is informative as to who has status and who does not in armed conflict / war.

    There is a serious argument to be made that Quadafi lacks the legitimacy and status for this to be a formal, official war, as do a significant number of his troops, possibly a majority of them. As official recognition of an interim government, of the opposition or dissidents occurs, the Quadafi forces will officially, technically, legally and practically change in their status - which is at best ambiguous at the moment.

    So, yes, flyguy, do your homework and learn a bit more about what defines a war.

    ReplyDelete
  8. We all projected a lot on Obama, but let's face it, we all knew that he would have to bear the onus of what came before. The wars, the economy and the realities of international relations in a corporately controlled climate.
    He will never live up to my expectations, I will always be disappointed, but I remain a pragmatic progressive.
    The Libyan intervention, and I think that is the best term to use here is a very complicated issue, because of the players.
    Perhaps as a European, you are following the internal political situation here in France, the embarrassment and scandals relating to the involvement of UMP Ministers with the regimes of Mubarak and Ben Ali. Our Foreign Minister just resigned over her involvement with Ben Ali. The complex relationship between the Sarkozy Government and Gadaffi is worthy of TV Political soap opera mini series. Though this has so much bearing on the situation, it is not the focus of my comments.
    The difference between the Conservative American admittedly prejudicial stance...in other words, if John McCain was president, the conservatives would be gung ho behind a Libyan intervention and the present reality, in which they are trying to destroy Obama by every move he makes is apparent to every one who observes American internal politics.
    In other words, how can he live up to Progressive expectations if every step he takes is into a snare by the Republicans whose only goal is to regain total power at any cost.
    On the other hand, the face Obama has presented to the rest of the world, in his opening moves to the Middle East has only raised the prestige of America in the eyes of the third world.
    He is not Bush, He is not McCain, He is Barack Obama...that speaks volumes in itself.

    ReplyDelete
  9. dog gone:

    I think you will find that One flies over the cuckoo's nest has an extensive of archive of EXACTLY the same sort of rants that he put online when Boy George was helping the Iraqis and Afghanis to gain their freedom.

    ReplyDelete
  10. Thanks Democommie, it's good to know he's consistent (ly rightwing wrong).

    Microdot, whatever this does to the internal politics in France, three cheers for the job the French air force did against the Quadaffi forces outside Benghazi.

    In words that would have been appropriate from the shrub, "Nice shootin' Tex!"

    Well done!

    ReplyDelete
  11. dog gone - according to your definition of war, we are no longer at war with anyone. The governments of Iraq and Afghanistan are now on our side and we remain in those countries by their invitation. Also, we are not fighting against the official army of either country. So while Iraq maybe started as a war (your example of the action in Libya may suggest that even Iraq was not a war either), apparently Bush won that war and now it is a "military action"

    ReplyDelete
  12. Jim, you bring up good points.......except that both Afghanistan and Iraq started out as wars by the usual definitions - and I think the argument that we defeated the individuals whom we attacked originally is in question, regardless of our status with the current governments - which are at best more like our puppets than real governments anyway.

    Both Iraq and Afghanistan have significant and ongoing, long standing support for de facto governemnts - their local war lords are the only genuine government for all real intents and purposes. They hold the actual power, and are recognized by the citizens in their area - and often recognized as the legitimate government by other areas as well.

    I would also point out that while the position of the House of Representatives in support of this action in Libya has not taken place yet - due to them being in recess in large part - Obama HAS met with many of its leading members, and as well he has a Senate resolution in support of his action in the no-fly zone which preceded our taking military action. That also gives his decision in Libya a legitimacy, whatever you wish to call it.

    http://www.thehindubusinessline.com/industry-and-economy/economy/article1503082.ece

    Introduced by Senator Robert Menendez, the resolution condemns the brutality and aggression by Mr Muammar Gaddafi, while calling for new steps against his regime including an outreach by the United States to Libyan Opposition figures.

    The resolution, introduced with bipartisan support, applauds the courage of the Libyan people in standing up against the “brutal dictatorship” of Mr Gaddafi and for demanding democratic reforms, transparent governance, and respect for basic human and civil rights."

    I'm surprised at how few of the people with whom I have had this discussion were aware of that Senate resolution PRECEDING our actions. (Which, unlike 'Shrub' appear to have been based on factual information as a justification.)

    Whatever you call it, it is a far greater success than the foreign policy disasters of ideology over which his predecessor presided, foreign policy which increased our risk of foreign terrorist attacks and regional destabilization.

    I look forward to your response.

    ReplyDelete
  13. Call them what you want, the're three disgraceful involvements, in my opinion. If, in spite of them, or even partly because of them, American popularity has risen, great.

    I find the whole thing fascinating.

    ReplyDelete
  14. I think they are three very different involvements.

    Afghanistan was in the beginning a legitimate war; we have made a horrible hash of it because we didn't simply do what we needed to do and left. It has hurt our status in the world because of how badly we have managed it, and because we are still there, and we are once again supporting corrupt dictators.

    Iraq was never a legitimate place for us to have an involvement. It has hurt us as badly or worse, but at least we are trying to get out of there. I don't think it has a very good likelihood it will become or remain a democracy. That will be, in many respects, our fault.

    Libya seems to me to be legitimate, in what we did, why we did it, and how we did it. And it is the only one we have a chance of getting out of in a short time, and with something worthwhile accomplished, and credit to us in the region and the world - which makes it very different from the first two imho.

    ReplyDelete
  15. dog gone - I agree with you that Afghanistan and Iraq were both mishandled in how we conducted our war efforts there. We should never have sent ground troops into the countries and limited our attacks to bombings and missle strikes on strategic assets. This seems to be what we are doing in the Libyan war and I am somewhat ok with it assuming the UN ponies up to cover our costs for this UN mission. If the other countries expect us to perform 90% of the work, then they should foot 90% of the bill. America doesn't have the money to be conducting these wars and the sooner we stop, the better off we will be.

    My only point was that your defintion of what constitutes a "war" seems a little off. I would personally classify any action by our military which results in deaths in a foreign country would be an act of war.

    ReplyDelete
  16. I think it is fair to distinguish a relatively minor military action as distinguished from a larger war on the basis of scale, as well as acknowledging the more formal foreign policy distinctions used in our diplomacy.

    Now the one that I DO have a problem with is our role in Korea; that was originally called a police action rather than a war....and we still have a military presence there. THAT seems to escape people's notice when comparing the duration of Iraq and Afghanistan.

    http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/natsec/RL32492.pdf (American War and Military Operations Casualties: Lists and Statistics

    What I hope will be the case is that the short sighted practice of the United States to prop up corrupt dictators on the justificaticaton of security - a polite term for expediency - is finally being undone, at least here. While it was useful as policy in the short term, we're living in the long term, where it is hugely counter to our values, and even to our interests.

    What I would most hope might come out of this military action and our support of other independence movements in the region, is that the influence of a largely younger population that wants to form secular democracies will also offer opportunities for a new peace and stability in the region, including reduced hostility to Israel. Israel has to reciprocate however for this to happen with the younger generation by not being quite so damn dickish to the palestinians, where they are antagonizing new generations of people instead of making peace.

    ReplyDelete
  17. "What I would most hope might come out of this military action and our support of other independence movements in the region, is that the influence of a largely younger population that wants to form secular democracies will also offer opportunities for a new peace and stability in the region, including reduced hostility to Israel."

    Well considering the Muslim Brotherhood is taking over the Egyptian revolution and the leader of the rebels in Libya has stated that some of the rebel fighters are the same Al-Qaeda fighters we are fighting against in Iraq, then I highly doubt a secular government will be the result of our actions here.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/africaandindianocean/libya/8407047/Libyan-rebel-commander-admits-his-fighters-have-al-Qaeda-links.html

    "Earlier this month, al-Qaeda issued a call for supporters to back the Libyan rebellion, which it said would lead to the imposition of "the stage of Islam" in the country.

    British Islamists have also backed the rebellion, with the former head of the banned al-Muhajiroun proclaiming that the call for "Islam, the Shariah and jihad from Libya" had "shaken the enemies of Islam and the Muslims more than the tsunami that Allah sent against their friends, the Japanese"."

    ReplyDelete
  18. Well considering the Muslim Jim wrote: Brotherhood is taking over the Egyptian revolution and the leader of the rebels in Libya has stated that some of the rebel fighters are the same Al-Qaeda fighters we are fighting against in Iraq, then I highly doubt a secular government will be the result of our actions here.

    The brotherhood in Egypt has already made it quite clear that they are not going to run a candidate, that they want a secular government not a theocratic one under sharia law, and that they want to maintain the treaty and peace between Israel and Egypt -- contrary to what has been said by ill informed idiots like McCain.

    I distrust anything that is a claim out of Libya about al quaeda after the crap that Quadaffi said.

    ReplyDelete
  19. http://www.nytimes.com/2011/03/25/world/middleeast/25egypt.html?_r=1&amp

    NY Times story on how the Brotherhood is starting to assert control of things in Egypt. Yes they currently state that they want a secular government, but they also noted in a recent referendum that "voters were warned that if they did not approve the amendments, Egypt would become a secular state."

    So I would say their claim of wanting a secular government is suspect at best.

    As for Libya, it was the leader of the Rebels himself that was quoted as saying some of the fighters were Al-Qaeda fighters from Iraq. Why would you not believe our "ally's" own words?

    Just for the record, I am Catholic, not Muslim - not sure how that matters though.

    ReplyDelete
  20. But, how do you account for the claim that American popularity has risen?

    ReplyDelete
  21. Jim, there is practical evidence that the Muslim brotherhood doesn't have much traction with the majority, and less so with the younger demographics.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-middle-east-11860568

    and then there is this:

    http://www.instmed.org/imed/2011/02/egypt-poll-suggests-little-support-for-muslim-brotherhood.html

    Muslim Brotherhood
    A poll commissioned by the Washington Institute for Far East Policy suggests there is little support from the Egyptian people for the Muslim Brotherhood. Download PDF poll report here.

    Key Findings:

    •This is not an Islamic uprising. The Muslim Brotherhood is “approved” by just 15%, and its leaders get barely 1% in a presidential straw vote. Asked to pick national priorities, just 12% choose shariah over na;onal power, democracy, or economic development. Asked to explain the uprising, economic conditions, corruption, and unemployment (30‐40% each) far outpace “regime not Islamic enough” (7%).
    •Surprisingly, asked two different ways about the peace treaty with Israel, more support it (37%) than oppose it (22%). Only 18% approve of either Hamas or Iran. And a mere 5% say the uprising occurred because the regime is “too pro‐Israel.”
    •El Baradei has very little popular support in a presidential straw vote (4%), far outpaced by Amr Musa (29%) But Mubarak and Omar Suleiman each get 18%.
    •A narrow plurality (36% vs. 29%) say Egypt should have good relations with the U.S. And just 8% say the uprising is against a “too pro‐American regime.” Still, something over half disapprove of our handling of this crisis and say they don’t trust the U.S. at all.

    ReplyDelete
  22. Ok, the first article is from Nov. of 2010 and pretty much shows that the previous ruling party was not allowing the Brotherhood to organize. Not sure how that is relavent now that the previous government has been removed by an uprising now being led by the Muslim Brotherhood.

    In your article related to the poll, you left out these tidbits:

    "The accuracy of such a poll is difficult to judge. In the 2005 elections, the Muslim Brotherhood gained 88 seats out of a total of 454, despite the fact that these elections were deemed fraudulent."

    "A Pew Research Poll concluded that 84% of Egyptians believes those who leave the Islamic faith should be killed, 82% believe adulterers should be stoned, and 77% believe thieves should have their hands amputated."

    "In this extremely turbulent time, it is doubtful whether proper conclusions on the direction of Egypt can be drawn from polling a people in revolt and in fear. The Institute for Middle Eastern Democracy believes that if the Pew report is correct, the conditions are ripe for the Muslim Brotherhood to exert great influence."

    Mike - I am sure America's rise in favorability is due to Obama... I am not sure that is such a good thing for Americans.

    ReplyDelete