As President Obama prepares to make a major address on the tumultuous changes spreading throughout the Middle East, a new survey finds that the rise of pro-democracy movements has not led to an improvement in America’s image in the region. Instead, in key Arab nations and in other predominantly Muslim countries, views of the U.S. remain negative, as they have been for nearly a decade. Indeed, in Jordan, Turkey and Pakidstan, views are even more negative than they were one year ago.
With the exception of Indonesia, Obama remains unpopular in the Muslim nations polled, and most disapprove of the way he has handled calls for political change roiling the Middle East. Moreover, 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. And in countries such as Jordan, Lebanon, and Pakistan, most say their own governments cooperate too much with the U.S.
While the Arab Spring has not led to a change in America’s image, it has generated considerable interest and excitement, especially in the Arab nations surveyed. More than 85% in Jordan, Egypt, the Palestinian territories, and Lebanon have followed news about political demonstrations in the region, and in Arab countries there is widespread optimism that the protests will lead to more democracy. Most Israelis have also followed the political upheaval in neighboring countries, but they are divided over whether it will produce more democratic societies.
Read the full report Arab Spring Fails to Improve U.S. Image on the Pew Research Center Global Attitudes Web site.