Opinion of U.S. from abroad plummets under President Bush

During President Bush's two terms, the view of the United States has dropped significantly in countries around the world

As President Bush meets today with French President Nicolas Sarkozy and the head of the European Commission, he might keep in mind the view of the United States from Europe, Japan and elsewhere.

It isn’t pretty — and has grown notably ugly during his presidency.

A poll conducted by eight major newspapers found that opinions of the United States had dropped sharply over the past eight years.

According to a report in the Guardian, of Britain, among the French, 75% said their view of the United States had gotten worse or much worse since Bush became president. In Canada, 77% made a similar statement.

And in Switzerland — notwithstanding die anmut, la douceur, la dolcezza (OK, for those of you not conversant in three of Switzerland’s four languages, the sweetness) of Heidi and its chocolates, and its appreciation of Bush-like efficiency — the percentage of those with an increasingly negative view of America under Bush topped out at 86%.

The credit-banking-financial maelstrom will be the central topic of Bush’s meeting this afternoon with Sarkozy at Camp David, Md. Maybe the Swissies are thinking of late about the banking crisis?

In its report, the Guardian noted:

Many people now fear rather than warm to America. In France 25% of voters say relations with the U.S. are tense, against 38% who say they are friendly and 39% who think they are neutral. In Japan only 16% say friendship and 19% tension, with 62% neutral. In no country does a majority think relations should be described as friendly.

Even America’s two neighbouring states are sceptical of U.S. intentions. Only 23% of Mexicans describe relations as friendly and 28% say they are tense. In Canada, which has just re-elected a Conservative minority government, voters are strongly supportive of a Democratic presidency; 43% say relations with the U.S. are friendly and 14% tense.

The survey also finds strong opposition to any attack on Iran and — in the six countries questioned on the issue — majority support for a rapid withdrawal of US forces from Iraq.

Indeed, it found that in each country polled, with the exception of Britain and Poland, a majority opposed military intervention in Iran.

As for views of the U.S. presidential election, John McCain and Barack Obama, the blue and red in the chart above says it all.

For the full report on the survey, click here.

— James Gerstenzang

Source: http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/presidentbush/2008/10/poll-europe-cri.html

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