The war in Iraq is a continuing drag on opinions of the United States, not only in predominantly Muslim countries but in Europe and Asia as well. And despite growing concern over Iran's nuclear ambitions, the U.S. presence in Iraq is cited at least as often as Iran – and in many countries much more often – as a danger to world peace.
A year ago, anti-Americanism had shown some signs of abating, in part because of the positive feelings generated by U.S. aid for tsunami victims in Indonesia and elsewhere. But favorable opinions of the United States have fallen in most of the 15 countries surveyed. Only about a quarter of the Spanish public (23 percent) expresses positive views of the U.S., down from 41 percent last year; America's image also has declined significantly in India (from 71 percent to 56 percent) and Indonesia (from 38 percent to 30 percent).
Yet the survey shows that Americans and the publics of major U.S. allies share common concerns, not only over the possible nuclear threat posed by Iran but also over the recent victory by the Hamas Party in Palestinian elections. In contrast, the predominantly Muslim populations surveyed generally are less worried about both of these developments.
Nearly half of Americans (46 percent) view the current government in Iran as a “great danger” to stability in the Middle East and to world peace, up from 26 percent in 2003. Concern over Iran also has risen sharply in Western Europe, especially Germany. Currently 51 percent of Germans see Iran as a great danger to world peace, compared with just 18 percent three years ago.