The central finding of the latest Pew global opinion poll is, alas, drearily familiar: President Bush and his misguided war in Iraq have dragged the United States far, far down in the world’s eyes.
The only good news — and it’s not much comfort — is that most countries give higher ratings to the American people than to the country. That means a change of government could bring a change of attitude toward America. But there is a long way to go, especially to correct the perception that the United States promotes its values globally not because they are universally good, but because they are good for American interests.
The survey found that majorities or pluralities in 33 of the 47 countries polled expressed a dislike of American ideas about democracy, with the hostility highest in three allies: Turkey, France and Pakistan. The poll also showed a widespread perception that Washington acts without considering the interests of other countries. And strong majorities everywhere saw the United States as the worst culprit in “hurting the world’s environment.”
What the Pew poll reflects is a profound disappointment in America’s failure to live up to its own ideals and standards.
This shows clearly how big a lie Bush's often repeated contention that "They hate us for our freedoms" truely is. The fact that so many Americans believe it just shows how effective the technique of endlessly repeating a lie can be.