Amazing that Zogby would say this with a straight face. Amazing that anyone would take him seriously. Amazing that Reuters would print this bit of propaganda as a news story.
Well, that last point is not so amazing, I suppose. But in any case, since when was popularity the index of success in foreign policy? Do you think America was very popular among the Germans or Japanese in 1942? The fact that America is unpopular today among Arabs doesn’t — or shouldn’t — tell us a thing about what we should or should not be doing. What we are doing should be guided solely by considerations of the national interest and how best to defend the U.S. against the global jihad.
What this poll does tell us, yet again, that sympathy for the global jihad is not restricted to a tiny minority of extremists. Zogby asks us to assume that dislike for the U.S. is solely to be attributed to a sober and even-handed evaluation of U.S. foreign policy by “the Arab street.” He doesn’t say anything about the venomous propaganda about America that appears regularly in the Arabic media. Go to MEMRI and MEMRITV and look around, and you’ll see what I mean. And much of that hatred proceeds from America’s character as a non-Muslim state, as the chief obstacle to the imposition of Sharia around the world. That attitude won’t change one whit with any adjustment in American foreign policy.
By David Alexander for Reuters, with thanks to Teri:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A new survey shows Arab attitudes toward American people, products and culture grew increasingly negative last year, a finding that underscores the need for a change in U.S. Mideast policy, a leading expert on the region said on Thursday.
James Zogby, the head of the Arab American Institute, said the annual survey of opinion in five Arab countries found that U.S. policy toward
Iraq and the Palestinian conflict were the main issues driving deteriorating Arab opinion.
“Our policies have not only had a worsening impact in terms of attitudes toward us but also in dampening confidence in the prospects for development and political stability and are therefore, I think, a real concern to countries in the region,” Zogby said.
In previous years, Americans themselves had been viewed positively in most Arab countries, his group said.
President George W. Bush is preparing a change of course for the Iraq war after a bipartisan panel said U.S. strategy was not working and warned that Washington was losing its influence in the region.
The panel, led by former Secretary of State James Baker and former Democratic Rep. Lee Hamilton, also called for a renewed U.S. effort to resolve the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as a way to defuse regional tensions.
“What the poll says to me is Baker-Hamilton are right,” Zogby said.
“If America wants to salvage itself and improve its standing and get the credibility and legitimacy it needs to lead in Iraq, it needs to do something to earn the trust of allies in the broader region,” he said.