"what the world thinks of america"

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    US is arrogant, threatening: international poll
    Jun 18 13:30

    A sampling of public opinion about the United States in 11 nations around the world, including Australia, paints a picture of an arrogant superpower with an enviable economy - which is a greater danger to world peace than North Korea.

    The way the United States wields its great power worried many of the 11,000 people polled, including those in Australia.

    Thirty-nine per cent of Australians said the US made the world a more dangerous place.

    Only 25 per cent of Australians thought the US more dangerous than North Korea, but 54 per cent thought it more dangerous than Russia and 38 per cent said America was more dangerous than Iran.

    The poll was taken in May and June for a BBC broadcast, "What the World Thinks of America", to be shown on ABC TV in Australia tomorrow night.

    Over the 11 countries polled, 56 per cent said the US was wrong to attack Iraq, including 81 per cent of Russian respondents and 63 per cent of those in France.

    An overall 37 per cent said the war was right, including 54 per cent of Australians and Britons, 74 per cent of Americans and 79 per cent of Israelis.

    Only 25 per cent of those asked - excluding Americans - said US military might was making the world a safer place. Overall, 41 per cent agreed the US is a force for good in the world, and 55 disagreed.



    The al-Qaeda terrorist organisation was ranked as more dangerous than the US, but the Americans were judged to be a greater threat than Russia, China, Syria and two members of Bush's Axis of Evil - Iran and North Korea.

    The BBC emphasised that its poll is not a representative sampling of world opinion, but only of opinion in Australia, Brazil, Britain Canada, France, Indonesia, Israel, Jordan, Russia, South Korea and the United States.

    A majority in every country, including the United States, said America is arrogant, for a total of 65 per cent overall. In Australia, 72 per cent said Americans are arrogant.

    George W Bush failed to impress 58 per cent of those quizzed.

    These respondents said they had a fairly unfavourable or very unfavourable view of the American president. If the American respondents were removed from the sample, the number rose to 60 per cent.

    Not all the news was bad.

    Even though 67 per cent of those asked said they wouldn't want their countries to copy US economic policies, 67 per cent would aspire to US gains in science and technology, and 56 per cent to the opportunities for advancement available to people in the United States. Forty percent also aspired to US freedom of expression.

    Fifty per cent of the poll respondents said they had a fairly positive or very positive view of the United States, compared with 40 per cent who had unfavourable views, the poll found. Those figures excluded Americans.

    Respondents in most countries believed their own countries culturally superior to the United States.

    In Australia, participating ABC broadcaster Tony Jones said 63 per cent of the Australians thought they were more cultured than Americans, in terms of good taste, manners, upbringing and education.

    "We tend to see America through the prism of its own mass media, where there is not much evidence of any of those things," he explained, giving as an example the Jerry Springer show, airing daily in Australia.

    In such shows, Jones said, "you can watch civil society literally imploding on screen. ... It's tasteless. It's ill-mannered. It's crass. This may be America's dirty washing, but it's actually hanging on our lines."

    Australians love American movies and music, he said. They largely see America as arrogant, but still think it's a force for good in the world.

    Many said their own countries were becoming more like America. Eighty-one per cent of Australians agreed with that statement, while 68 per cent thought US consumer influence was too great in Australia.

    Roy Morgan Research conducted the polling in Australia.
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