A Year After Iraq War: Mistrust of America in Europe Ever Higher, Muslim Anger Persists

Source Organization: Pew Research Center


03/16/2004 - A year after the war in Iraq, discontent with America and its policies has intensified rather than diminished. Opinion of the United States in France and Germany is at least as negative now as at the war’s conclusion, and British views are decidedly more critical, according to surveys by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press. Perceptions of American unilateralism remain widespread in European and Muslim nations, and the war in Iraq has undermined America’s credibility abroad. Doubts about the motives behind the U.S.-led war on terrorism abound, and a growing percentage of Europeans want foreign policy and security arrangements independent from the United States. Across Europe, there is considerable support for the European Union to become as powerful as the United States.

In the predominantly Muslim countries surveyed, anger toward the United States remains pervasive, although the level of hatred has eased somewhat and support for the war on terrorism has inched up. Osama bin Laden, however, is viewed favorably by large percentages in Pakistan (65%), Jordan (55%) and Morocco (45%). Even in Turkey, where bin Laden is highly unpopular, as many as 31% say that suicide attacks against Americans and other Westerners in Iraq are justifiable. Majorities in all four Muslim nations surveyed doubt the sincerity of the war on terrorism. Instead, most say it is an effort to control Mideast oil and to dominate the world.

There has been little change in opinion about the war in Iraq – except in Great Britain, where support for the decision to go to war has plummeted from 61% last May to 43% in the current survey. In contrast, 60% of Americans continue to back the war. Among the coalition of the “unwilling,” large majorities in Germany, France and Russia still believe their countries made the right decision in not taking part in the war. Moreover, there is broad agreement in nearly all of the countries surveyed – the U.S. being a notable exception – that the war in Iraq hurt, rather than helped, the war on terrorism.

Read the full report A Year After Iraq War: Mistrust of America in Europe Ever Higher, Muslim Anger Persists on the Pew Research Center for the People & the Press Web site.

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