4.15.2008

Poll Says Arabs Don't Like Us

File this in the "stating the obvious with an air of discovery" folder. Care of Reuters and the Boston Globe, Sue Pleming informs us that:
Eight out of 10 Arabs had an unfavorable view of the United States and only 6 percent believed the US troop buildup in Iraq in the last year has worked, in a poll of six Arab countries released yesterday.

The poll by the University of Maryland and Zogby International also indicated most Arabs did not see US foe Iran as a threat and they sympathized more with Hamas in the Palestinian Territories than US-backed Fatah.

"There is a growing mistrust and lack of confidence in the United States," said Shibley Telhami, a University of Maryland professor in charge of the annual poll. [bold added]

This shouldn't surprise anyone, but I suppose it's a point of curiosity to see something resembling actual data. It also supports the idea that Iran is seen as the Islamic Superpower in the region, and is looked up to by the Islamic Middle East.
In contrast to US government views, most Arabs did not see Iran as a major threat and 67 percent considered Tehran had the right to a nuclear program....

Hezbollah [ed: backed by Iran] leader Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah's popularity grew as did Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's. When Arabs were asked which world leader they disliked most, President Bush was at the top of the list with 63 percent; Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert followed at 39 percent.
The issue I have with this is mostly that anyone thought it was necessary to actually take a poll. It implies that we should not only care what our reputation is, but also that having them like us somehow translates to an actual value. It's similar to the military/political goal of "winning hearts and minds" as opposed to identifying actions that would be in our national interest and pursuing them self-interestedly.

A poll like this also glosses over the underlying factors such as the Arab world's idolizing of Iran, and the even bigger issue of militant Islam and it's fundamentally anti-American ideas penetrating all levels of Middle Eastern life.

There is nothing at all that we could or should do to make Arabs like us, simply for the sake of making them like us. The dominant philosophy in the Middle East is antithetical to everything that America was founded on, and rather than being concerned about our popularity, we should be steadfastly pursuing our rational, objective values without regard to polling numbers.

2 comments:

SB said...

I agree with you exactly. We should not give a damn about whether or not they like us.

I confess that a chill went up my spine when I read the poll reference to the "US-backed Fatah." It's hard to think of a more disgustingly pragmatic compromise than to align oneself with one enemy in order to oppose another.

C. August said...

I had the same reaction to that "US-backed Fatah" bit. A silent "NO!" reverberated through my head. But it's same old tired crap that our political leaders have been pushing for decades or more.

And then we have good old Jimminy Carter traipsing over to Gaza and giving hugs to Hamas.