Global Attitudes

I blogged some time ago on last year’s global attitudes survey here. Now, they have a new survey out (full report here, summary here).

Americans Judge the Allies

It seems that the trust between US and Europe has gone down as a result of the disagreement over the Iraq war. The view of the US is now less favorable, though it has recovered from the lows just before the start of the war. Similarly, Americans view France and Germany unfavorably now. That is a huge change from a year ago. In fact, more Americans are boycotting or thinking of boycotting French and German goods than French and Germans doing the same for American goods.

I don’t know how this mistrust will pan out and what the long-term consequences will be, but even Muslim countries which had favorable opinions of the US last year have changed. Indonesia is a good example.

US Image

An interesting feature of globalization is the widespread use of the English language (as discussed here). It seems that lots of people realize that now. According to the survey, “three-quarters or more of those interviewed in almost every country think children need to learn English to succeed in the world today.”

One strange thing I found in the poll results was the number of people who still think about territorial disputes.

There are still sizable minorities of people in US [32%], Great Britain, France [25%], Germany [33%] and Italy [42%] who think that there are parts of other countries that really belong to them. […] Fully 63% of Russians believe that “there are parts of neighboring countries that really belong to Russia.” […] Broad majorities in the Philippines [79%], India [73%], Lebanon [71%], South Africa, Pakistan [67%], Nigeria, South Korea [63%] and Turkey also feel that parts of other nations rightfully belong to their country.

Worried about Potential US Military Threat

Which country do the US, Britain, Italy and Turkey have claims on? I thought Turkey renounced all its Ottoman holdings.

They also have an interesting measure for nationalism. Can’t say I disagree much though.

Large majorities in several countries affirm each of these sentiments —- they believe their culture is superior, that it needs defending, and that other lands are rightfully theirs. People in India, for example, are among the most likely to agree with all three statements. Turks, Bangladeshis, South Africans and Pakistanis also rank relatively high on all three measures. By contrast, the British, French and German people express far less nationalism, based on these questions.

Restrict Entry into Country More

The US scores on Latin American levels for the superiority and defense questions, i.e. higher than most Europeans and less than those paragons of nationalism listed above. This is significant because the US has somewhat similar level of religiousness. Unlike western Europeans, Americans generally condition morality on a belief in God. They are however much better in this regard than most of the Muslim world where atheism is a dirty word.

Also, more Americans think that their way of life needs to be protected against foreign influence than Canadians, French, Germans or British.

It’s a bad time for immigrants. Support for immigration is down everywhere. However, Bulgarians don’t want to restrict entry more than their current laws. Anyone want to go to Bulgaria? Also, “only in Canada does a strong majority of the population (77%) have a positive view of immigrants. Among other advanced countries, Americans show the greatest support for immigrants (49%).”

There are some interesting results related to the Iraq war.

Israeli Stae and Palestinian Rights

Countries that in which a majority thinks Iraqis will be worse off without Saddam include: Morocco (53%), Pakistan (60%), Indonesia (67%), Jordan (80%) and Palestinian Authority (85%). What are they smoking? For God’s sake, read Salam Pax.

What I found more interesting was the fact that the reconstruction efforts got poor ratings from almost everybody.

Roughly half of Australians (53%) and British (50%) say the U.S. and its allies are doing only a fair or poor job in addressing the interests of the Iraqi people. Views of the reconstruction effort are even more negative elsewhere. Majorities in Western Europe, Russia, South Korea and most Muslim publics give the allies a rating of fair or poor for taking into account the needs of the Iraqi people as they rebuild the country. That is the case as well in Israel (60% fair/poor).

I can understand this in the countries where the public opinion was against the war. But Israel? I thought they had overwhelming support for the war. The only one besides the US actually. So why do they think the reconstruction is going poorly?

Role of Islam in Political Life

The poll results on the Israel/Palestine problem are a disaster. The bad news: A majority in all Muslim countries except Nigeria (which is about 50% Muslim) thinks that there is no way to reconcile an Israeli state with Palestinian rights. The good news: Israeli Arabs think differently.

Arabs in Israel, who voice the same criticisms of U.S. policy in the Middle East as do other Muslims, generally believe that a way can be found for the state of Israel to exist so that Palestinian rights and needs are addressed. In fact, Arabs in Israel are nearly as likely as Jews to hold that opinion (62% of Arabs, 68% of Jews).

I guess living in the same country has actually worked to some extent. There is obviously mistrust between Jews and Arabs in Israel and discrimination as well. The Israeli Arabs have sympathy for the Palestinians, but they do seem to have developed into a separate group.

Religious Leaders in Politics

It also seems that calls for secularism in Muslim countries are premature. People in most countries want a role for religion in political life. That, however, is a different question than whether religious leaders should play a larger role in political life. For example, 56% of Pakistanis think that Islam plays a large role in politics now and 86% actually want a larger role. However, only 63% want religious leaders to play a larger role. So 23% want religion but no religious leaders in politics.

Despite the increase of religion in politics, the commitment to democracy has improved. In fact, religious leaders and followers are turning to democracy and elections to win support for their program.

In most countries, supporters of an active role for Islam are no more or less committed to these democratic ideals [of electoral competition and freedom of expression], and in a few predominantly Muslim nations, notably Bangladesh and Pakistan, those who are most supportive of a role for Islam in public life and politics are also the most supportive of freedom of speech and electoral competition.

Democracy in Muslim Countries

The Iraq war has also spawned some, though minor, hopes of democratic blooming in the Muslim world. May be the neocon dream (and nightmare) will come true in the form of democracy with ascendent Islamic parties.

Substantial minorities of Muslims in many countries say the region will become somewhat more democratic, but only in Kuwait do as many as half predict the Middle East will become much more democratic. Expectations of major political changes in the Middle East are modest in countries that participated in the war. Just 16% in Great Britain, 14% in the U.S. and 10% in Australia think that the Middle East will become much more democratic.

The poll results for social issues are also interesting. Birth control, it seems, has become popular in most of the Muslim countries covered in the survey.

Globally, people have a broadly favorable view of birth control and family planning, with the notable exception of populations in aging industrial nations, such as Italy, Japan and Germany. […] In most of the developing nations of Africa and Asia, 70% or more say birth control and family planning have changed things for the better.

Women to Decide on Veiling

However, there are still issues about women working in Jordan and Pakistan.

Pakistan, Egypt and Jordan are the only countries in which majorities believe it is better for women to stay home and take care of the children while the husband provides for the family. In Pakistan, 41% of women strongly agree that they should be allowed to work compared with 24% of men.

The chart on whether women themselves should decide whether to wear a veil is shown on the right. In Turkey where wearing the veil in government offices etc. is banned, there is widespread support for the decision to be given to women. Pakistan is almost equally divided on the issue. Do 44% of Pakistanis really want to force women to wear the veil in Pakistan?

POSTSCRIPT: CalPundit has discussed this survey as well.

Burke Marshall, 1922-2003

Burke Marshall has died.

Burke Marshall, the government’s legal strategist on civil rights in the era of freedom rides, the Birmingham church bombing and the March on Washington, died yesterday at his home in Newtown, Conn., near Danbury. He was 80.

The cause was myelodysplasia, a bone marrow disorder, said his daughter Catie Marshall.

As assistant attorney general in charge of the Justice Department’s civil rights division in the Kennedy and Johnson administrations, Mr. Marshall was a chief contributor to rights victories that included the government’s 1961 ban on segregation in interstate travel, the desegregation of the University of Mississippi the following year and adoption of the landmark Civil Rights Act of 1964, which barred discrimination in public accommodations.

His name appears quite a lot in Taylor Branch’s Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954-63, which I just finished reading.

Via Eric Muller.

Trackback Problems

I have “Trackback Auto-discovery” switched on for my blog. It was working fine in automatically pinging the weblogs I referred to. But it is not working any more. It does not even find the URLs to ping. Specifically it did not let me ping The Poor Man in the previous post.

Does anyone any ideas on what could be the problem?

UPDATE: It seems to be working now.

The Poor Man at his best

The Poor Man is supposed to be on semi-vacation working on his thesis (like me), but he is at his funniest and snarkiest posting loads of material. I can excerpt it, so I am linking to all his recent posts.

First, he makes fun of Republican whining over alleged prejudice and takes on the thin skin of all groups.

Then he draws parallels between Al-Qaeda and Eric Rudolph and makes fun of all terrorism-related commentariat.

On to the Iraq war and the missing WMDs.

The Republicans and the Greens (for voting for Nader in 2000) are his targets again over the latest tax cut.

Andrew is in great form. Go read him.

POSTSCRIPT: Andrew, are we ever going to graduate?

Salam Pax

Salam Pax was already a famous blogger. Then we heard that he’s becoming a columnist, writing biweekly for the Guardian starting this wednesday. And now Peter Maass tells us that Salam was his interpreter for a couple of weeks in Baghdad.

Eric Rudolph: Terrorist

Eric Rudolph, longtime fugitive and terrorist, was finally caught a couple of days ago.

When Rudolph bombed the Centennial Olympic Park in Atlanta, GA in 1996, I still was more than a year away from coming here. But Olympics are a big event and I heard all about the bombing and was probably in Atlanta when Rudolph was named as a suspect.

Eric Rudolph was caught in the Appalachian country of Western North Carolina. People there are expressing sympathies for him.

Betty Howard made many people happy today, and it was not for her daily special. Around noon, Mrs. Howard walked outside, glanced up at the sign in front of her diner and decided to change the lettering on the marquee from “Roast Turkey Baked Ham” to “Pray for Eric Rudolph.”

“Bless his heart,” Mrs. Howard said. “Eric needs our help.”

Mrs. Howard said she was going to start an Eric Rudolph legal defense fund. Many customers have already said they would chip in.

[…]While most of his supporters cite his anti-abortion views, a popular stance in many rural, conservative areas, they gloss over the most notorious charge against Mr. Rudolph, that he set off a pipe bomb in a random crowd at the Summer Olympics.

“I didn’t see him bomb nobody,” said Hoke Henson, 77. “You can’t always trust the feds.”

[…]”He was a man who stood for what he believed in,” said Bo Newton, a short-order cook in Andrews. “If he came to my door, I would’ve given him food and never said a word.”

Standing in the door of a trailer on the mountain compound where “patriot” militia once trained, Jeremy Blake Ford swears he would not have helped serial bombing suspect Eric Robert Rudolph.

But if the elusive survivalist had walked out of the nearby woods, Ford isn’t sure he would have turned him in.

“I believe you’ve got to send a message,” Ford said Sunday from the hillside home of the late right-wing firebrand Nord Davis Jr.

Never mind the $1 million bounty on Rudolph’s head, set by investigators who accuse him of killing two people and injuring more than 100 with bombs at two abortion clinics, a gay nightclub and Atlanta’s Olympic Centennial Park.

“One death to a thousand deaths and making money off of babies being aborted and gays thinking they have rights — in the Bible, they don’t have any rights,” Ford said. “They’re the wrongs, and we’re trying to make it right. I believe Eric Rudolph makes a statement.”

Crystal Davis doesn’t quite side with Eric Rudolph, but she sympathizes with him.

“He’s a Christian and I’m a Christian and he dedicated his life to fighting abortion,” said Mrs. Davis, 25, mother of four. “Those are our values. And I don’t see what he did as a terrorist act.”

[…]As the search intensified over the years, locals cashed in by printing up T-shirts that said “Run, Rudolph, Run,” and “Eric Rudolph —- Hide and Seek Champion of the World.” Many people here had an uneasy relationship with F.B.I. agents, who often said they suspected the local population was providing the fugitive with food and shelter.

“If he came to my door, I’d give him food,” Mrs. Davis said. “That’s just how we are with strangers.”

Disgusting is all I can think of. Rudolph is of the same ilk as Bin Laden et al. Fortunately, there’s PhotoDude:

After September 11, a lot of Americans called on Muslims to speak out against the terrorism. It was said that they must police themselves from the inside, and publicly condemn those who claimed to be their peers, yet killed innocents.

Well, I’m from North Carolina, and I’m from the same generation as Eric Rudolph (8 years separate our ages). And I’m here to tell you, he’s a cowardly terrorist, and those who supported him are at best, severely misguided, and more likely, scum.

[…]Praying for a killer is not necessarily a contradictory act, some consider such a prayer to be a Christian tenet: forgiveness. But in the fall of 2001, I wonder if Mrs. Howard said, “Bless his heart. Osama needs our help.”

Oh, I’m sure they’d say “that’s different, Eric was fighting heathen abortionists, and the feds.” Hmmm, wasn’t Osama fighting “heathens,” and “the feds”?

[…]As a result of this, today, the wonderful times I’ve had in the North Carolina mountains over the years now feel somewhat tainted. And the only way I know to reclaim them is to condemn those who support a murderer, yet claim to be good Christian Americans.

This is an area of North Carolina I visit frequently. The mountains and forests and the scenic and adventurous drives are a lot of fun. Next time I am there, should I wonder what kind of people they are!

Democracy: Pakistani Style

To all those who think General Pervez Musharraf has restored democratic government in Pakistan, here is his underling Prime Minister Zafarullah Jamali:

“Neither you nor I gave him the uniform. It was given to him by an organization and only that organization can decide about that.”

So, only the army can decide whether the President can be Chief of the Army Staff? I thought the Prime Minister was supposed to decide that under the Pakistan Constitution. And by the President under the consitutional changes by the military government of Musharraf. Oh wait, he is the President himself!

Background: Jamali’s comment is in regard to an opposition demand for Musharraf to leave his army chief post.


I went kayak touring (also known popularly as sea kayaking, though we were obviously not on the sea in this trip) on Lake Oconee yesterday. It was a lot of fun and tiring. I am thinking about going on an overnight lake trip later this month in which we’ll kayak and hike. There were some photographs by another participant which I’ll post when I get them. (My camera is just too big to be taken to water sports events.)