Pew: U.S. image largely unimproved in Middle East after 'Arab Spring'
President Barack Obama is scheduled to make a major address Thursday on U.S. policy toward the "Arab Spring" uprisings.
May 17th, 2011
09:37 PM ET

Pew: U.S. image largely unimproved in Middle East after 'Arab Spring'

The United States' image in four Middle Eastern nations and the Palestinian territories largely doesn't appear to have improved during anti-government uprisings that have shaken regimes in the region, a survey from the Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project found.

Fewer people in Jordan, Turkey and Lebanon view the United States favorably now than in 2010, while small gains were seen in Egypt - where an uprising toppled longtime leader Hosni Mubarak earlier this year - and the Palestinian territories, according to the survey.

Pew said America's image also dipped in the two other predominantly Muslim nations that were surveyed: Pakistan and Indonesia.

The results of the survey, which was taken between March 21 and April 26, come as U.S. President Barack Obama prepares to deliver on Thursday a highly anticipated address on U.S. policy toward the "Arab Spring" uprisings that have shaken autocratic regimes across North Africa and the Middle East.

It also comes as Obama is urging Israel and the Palestinians to restart negotiations on a two-state solution to their decades-long conflict.

"Many of the concerns that have driven animosity toward the U.S. in recent years are still present - a perception that the U.S. acts unilaterally, opposition to the war on terror, and fears of America as a military threat," a Pew report on the survey said.

Thirteen percent of those surveyed in Jordan had a favorable view of the United States, down from 21% last year. U.S. favorability in Turkey (10%, down from 17%), Pakistan (11%, down from 17%), Indonesia (54%, down from 59%) and Lebanon (49%, down from 52%) also saw dips.

U.S. favorability rose in Egypt (20%, up from 17%) and the Palestinian territories (18%, up from 15% in 2009, the last time a survey was done there).

The percentage of people expressing at least some confidence in Obama was up slightly in Egypt, Pakistan and Turkey, but of the nations surveyed, only Indonesia (62%) - where Obama spent some time as a child - had a majority doing so, Pew said.

And majorities in each surveyed nation, expect for Indonesia and Pakistan, said they disapproved how Obama handled calling for political change in the Middle East.

Other findings, according to Pew:

- Most of those surveyed said democracy was preferable to any other kind of government (including more than 70% in Lebanon, Jordan and Egypt). The only nation where a majority didn't agree was in Pakistan, where 46% said democracy was preferable.

- Majorities in each surveyed country and territory – except for Egypt, where the questions weren't asked - said economic prosperity, political stability, religious freedom, free elections, free speech and gender equality are very important in a democracy.

- Majorities in Pakistan, Jordan and Egypt believe laws should be based strictly on the teachings of the Quran. This was a minority view in Turkey, Lebanon, Indonesia and the Palestinian territories.

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Filed under: Egypt • Indonesia • Jordan • Lebanon • Pakistan • Palestinians • Politics • Turkey
soundoff (260 Responses)
  1. Image International, inc.

    How many would church if the church said "god is not with your troops"? zero, in any land of the same religion. Hire us! We can make it appear as if God himself ordered troops to Iraq or Bin Laden to Afghanistan. You churches should hire us if not just to defend blasphemy!

    May 18, 2011 at 10:41 pm | Report abuse |
  2. Image International, inc.

    And we came up with the slogan "Arab Spring" when US oil corporations began developing Arab oilfields in order to bring down the USSR! What? You thought Ronnie Raygun brought down the USSR? Russia supplied 60% of the worlds oil before oily US politicians intermingled with arab shieks slash house o' saud. Get a freeging clue.

    May 18, 2011 at 10:47 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Jose M. Pulido

    What about "Arab countries image largely unimproved in the USA after 'Arab Spring?'"
    We still have an image of 911, airplanes crashing on the WTC, underwear and shoe bombers, an Islamic U.S. Army officer murdering his own fellow American soldiers in a cowardly manner, Islamic mosques being used as sleeper cells and contributing financiallly to Islamic enemies of the USA. And they still expect presiden Obama to go over there to humiliate himself by kowtowing in front of the Islamic world?
    The so-called "Arab world" should quit playing victim after all the atrocities they have comitted against Israel, the USA and the rest of the world. Better yet, they should try to improve their image around the world, not only in the USA.

    May 19, 2011 at 1:05 am | Report abuse |
  4. dma

    If we did not try to influence and police the the whole world we would not have the problem. We need to concentrate taking care of our own citizends.

    May 19, 2011 at 9:42 am | Report abuse |
  5. tyrone tyree jones

    O'bummer simply isn't catching on! There is nothing anyone can do to win the trust and respect of the Middle East. We are stuck with these people. No matter what we do....they will also hate us......I would simply tell them to "kiss my royal ar$e" .....

    May 19, 2011 at 10:55 am | Report abuse |
  6. planet x

    Israel is becoming a nation.

    May 19, 2011 at 11:48 pm | Report abuse |
  7. bob samuel

    i don't think it will change to any better, cause america care only for muslim people sake and don't fair with all people. it is like american intellegence took a different direction from what was happening in the past. why do you think the former DNI was resigned last year?

    May 23, 2011 at 5:56 pm | Report abuse |
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