NOTE: The title of this post was intended to be somewhat humorous. In my opinion, this survey highlights the hypocrisy of political rhetoric that claims benevolent motives while demonstrating the complete opposite. I tried to reflect this in the title. However, I get the feeling that my attempt at irony failed. Anyway…here is the post…

ORIGINAL POST:

The BBC just released the results of a worldwide poll measuring perceptions of US foreign policy. Not surprisingly, "the view of the US’s role in the world has deteriorated both internationally and domestically" due to unilateral–and often hypocritical–foreign policy as well as the continued refusal to effectively address climate change. The image of a ‘benevolent hegemon’ no longer carries much weight. Even among Americans.

Key issues the poll touches upon include: Iraq, Guantanamo Bay, the Israeli-Hezbollah war, Iran’s nuclear program, global warming, and North Korea’s nuclear program. The questions were addressed to people in: Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Indonesia, Italy, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, Nigeria, Philipines, Poland, Portugal, Russia, South Korea, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and the United States.

Two statistics appeared particularly striking to me. First, when asked about US military presence in the MIddle East, "68% of respondents across the 25 countries answered that it ‘provokes more conflict than it prevents.’" Interesting…considering that such presence is consistently justified on the basis that it is supposedly making the entire world safer from terrorism. Secondly, Americans (a notoriously idealistic bunch when it comes to our politicians’ motives and how our policies affect other people’s lives)  have shifted towards a more negative opinion as well. This year 57% of us view our role in the world as positive–down from 63% last year and 71% the year before.

As this poll illustrates, AID’s mission to create ‘a new generation of globally conscious leaders who can shape an American foreign policy appropriate for our increasingly interdependent world’ has never been more pertinent. 

For a brief article and a link to the complete report of the BBC poll’s results, click here.

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