World Opposed To U.S. As Global Cop

by Eli Clifton

Inter Press Service
Thursday, April 19, 2007

WASHINGTON – The world public rejects the U.S. role as a world leader,
but still wants the United States to do its share in multilateral
efforts and does not support a U.S. withdrawal from international
affairs, says a poll released Wednesday.The survey respondents see the
United States as an unreliable "world policeman", but views are split
on whether the superpower should reduce its overseas military bases.

The people of the United States generally agreed with the rest of the
world that their country should not remain the world’s pre-eminent
leader or global cop, and prefer that it play a more cooperative role
in multilateral efforts to address world problems.

The poll, the fourth in a series released by the Chicago Council
on Global Affairs and since the latter half
of 2006, was conducted in China, India, United States, Indonesia,
Russia, France, Thailand, Ukraine, Poland, Iran, Mexico, South Korea,
Philippines, Australia, Argentina, Peru, Israel, Armenia and the
Palestinian territories.

The three previous reports covered attitudes toward humanitarian
military intervention, labour and environmental standards in
international trade, and global warming. Those surveys found that the
international public generally favoured more multilateral efforts
to curb genocides and more far-reaching measures to protect labour
rights and combat climate change than their governments have supported
to date.

Steven Kull, editor of, notes that this
report confirms other polls which have shown that world opinion of
the United States is bad and getting worse, however this survey more
closely examines the way the world public would want to see Washington
playing a positive role in the international community.

Although all 15 of the countries polled rejected the idea that,
"the U.S. should continue to be the pre-eminent world leader in
solving international problems," only Argentina and the Palestinian
territories say it "should withdraw from most efforts to solve
international problems."

The respondents tend to agree that the US should do "its share in
efforts to solve international problems together with other countries"
in: South Korea (79 percent), United States (75 percent), France (75
percent), China (68 percent), Israel (62 percent), Peru (61 percent),
Mexico (59 percent), Armenia (58 percent), Philippines (55 percent),
Ukraine (52 percent), Thailand (47 percent), India (42 percent)
and Russia (42 percent).

In a majority of countries — 13 out of 15 — publics believe
Washington is "playing the role of world policeman more than it
should," including France (89 percent), Australia (80 percent), China
(77 percent), Russia (76 percent), Peru (76 percent), Palestinian
territories (74 percent) and South Korea (73 percent).

Seventy-six percent of those polled in the United States also agree
that their country plays too big a role as a global cop, but 57 percent
of Filipinos disagreed with the statement, and Israelis were evenly
split on the issue.

Majorities think that the United States cannot be trusted to
"act responsibly in the world" in: Argentina (84 percent), Peru
(80 percent), Russia (73 percent), France (72 percent) and Indonesia
(64 percent). But majorities or large percentages in the Philippines
(85 percent), Israel (81 percent), Poland (51 percent), and Ukraine
(49 percent) say the superpower can be at least "somewhat" trusted
to act responsibly.

Although most of the countries involved in the poll had majorities who
believe the U.S. was too involved in policing issues of international
concern, there were mixed views about whether it should reduce its
military presence around the world. Only five out of 12 publics
favoured decreasing the number of overseas U.S. military bases:
Argentina (75 percent), Palestinian territories (70 percent), France
(69 percent), China (63 percent) and Ukraine (62 percent).

Majorities in the Philippines (78 percent), United States (68 percent),
Israel (59 percent) and Poland (54 percent) favour maintaining or
increasing the current levels of U.S. military bases.

Armenia and Thailand lean in favour of maintaining current levels
or reducing base locations, while India was divided. No country
favoured increases.

The survey clearly shows that the perception of the U.S. role in
the world is negative and getting worse, but some publics did have
significant numbers who felt relations between their country and the
United States are getting better.

Most of the respondents in India (58 percent) and China (53 percent)
felt relations were improving, while pluralities agree in Australia (50
percent), Armenia (48 percent), Indonesia (46 percent), and Thailand
(37 percent). Majorities or pluralities in Poland (60 percent),
South Korea (56 percent), Israel (52 percent), Ukraine (52 percent)
and Russia (45 percent) say relations with the U.S. are about the same.

No countries had majorities or pluralities who say relations with
the United States are getting worse.

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