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Mirror, mirror on the wall…

03 November, 2006

By Anwaar Hussain


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For six long years, the Republicans have been in the driving seat of the American juggernaut as it recklessly blazed its trail across the world stage like a massive inexorable force crushing whatever stood in its path. Now, as the US electorate prepares to vote in the upcoming elections for the United States House of Representatives on November 7, 2006, with all of the 435 seats in the House up for election, it is time to review America’s current world image.

The scribe does of course realize that for this appraisal to be believable, it must not be the opinion of those who have been at the receiving end of this American ‘largesse’ of the past six years, but of its most allied allies i.e. Canada, Britain, Mexico and, oh yes, Israel.

Today, the 3rd November 2006, an opinion poll conducted on ‘the role of the United States in the current world affairs’ by five leading international newspapers from countries most allied with the United States has been published. The participating newspapers in the survey are: La Presse (Canada), The Toronto Star (Canada), The Guardian (Great Britain), Haaretz (Israel), Reforma (Mexico). Full results and analysis of the poll are available from La Presse online as of 7:00 a.m. on November 3 at www.cyberpresse.ca/us.

The five newspapers each hired independent polling firms to ask approximately 1,000 citizens in their own country to respond to questions ranging from the impact of U.S. foreign policy on the safety of the world and the advancement of democracy to the danger posed by world political leaders from George W. Bush to Kim Jon Il.

While generally in the poll results, America is now commonly seen as a greater threat to world peace by its closest neighbors and allies than any other actor on the world stage, it also reveals just how far the country's reputation has fallen among some of its staunchest supporters since the invasion of Iraq. Here are a few of the highlights;

The British voters see George Bush as a greater danger to world peace than either the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-il, or the Iranian president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of the infamous ‘axis of evil’ countries.

Indicating an alarmingly high level of distrust, in Britain again, 69% of those questioned say they believe US policy has made the world less safe since 2001, with only 7% thinking action in Iraq and Afghanistan has increased global security.

The findings in Britain are reflective in America's immediate northern and southern neighbors, Canada and Mexico, with 62% of Canadians and 57% of Mexicans saying the world has become more dangerous because of US policy.

Still more amazing is the fact that even in Israel, a country for which America takes all the punches on its image and which has long been thriving on American guarantees to its national security, support for the US has slipped. Only one in four Israeli voters say that Mr. Bush has made the world safer, outweighed by the number who think he has added to the risk of international conflict, 36% to 25%. A further 30% say that at best he has made no difference.

Voters in three of the four countries surveyed also overwhelmingly reject the decision to invade Iraq. Opinion against the war has toughened strongly since a similar survey before the US presidential election in 2004. In Britain 71% of voters now say the invasion was unwarranted, a view shared by 89% in Mexico and 73% in Canada, a country that is a NATO member whose troops are in action in Afghanistan. Neither do voters think America has helped advance democracy in developing countries, one of the justifications for deposing Saddam Hussein. Only 11% of Britons and 28% of Israelis think that has happened.

The bitterest irony in the polls, and what also takes the cake, is the fact that Mr. Bush is now ranked with some of his worst enemies. Though he is outranked by Osama bin Laden in all four countries, yet runs the al-Qaida leader close in the eyes of UK voters: 87% think the al-Qaida leader is a great or moderate danger to peace, compared with 75% who think the same of Mr. Bush. Only 10% of British voters think that Mr. Bush poses no danger at all.

The US leader is now seen in Britain as a more dangerous man than the president of Iran (62% think he is a danger), the North Korean leader (69%) and the leader of Hizbullah, Hassan Nasrallah (65%).

One more poll, plus no more gaffes from John Kerry, and the US president may well find himself strung highest up in his self-made hall of shame.

So as the US voters stand in line at the polling booths this coming Tuesday, one hopes they hear the global chant of ‘mirror, mirror on the wall…’ that is now in synch with that of America’s closest allies.

Copyrights : Anwaar Hussain

http://www.airdance.proboards50.com/index.cgi?action=display&board=anwrart&thread=1162533558&page=1

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