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US image around world sharply worsens: poll

Majorities of Americans polled disapproved of how US was handling the war in Iraq (57%), while half disapproved of US policy on Guantanamo and Iran.

india Updated: Jan 23, 2007 12:03 IST
Reuters

The image of the United States has deteriorated around the world in the past year because of issues such as Iraq and prisoners at Guantanamo Bay, according to a poll by the BBC World Service released on Tuesday.

The proportion of people believing the United States has a mainly positive influence in world affairs dropped seven points from a year ago -- to 29 per cent from 36, the results from 18 countries that were also polled the previous year showed.

Fifty-two per cent thought US influence was mainly negative, up from 47 per cent a year ago, the poll found.

The survey, released on the day President George W Bush gives his State of the Union speech to Congress, found sharp disagreement with US policy on Iraq which is ravaged by violence nearly four years after the US-led invasion.

In all, 26,381 people were questioned in 25 countries. Almost three in four people disapproved of US policy on Iraq, while two-thirds disapproved of US handling of terrorism suspects held at the Guantanamo Bay camp in Cuba.

"The US administration's recent decision to send more troops to Iraq is at odds with global public opinion ...

This policy is likely to further hurt America's image," Doug Miller, president of pollsters GlobeScan, said.

Sixty-five per cent disapproved of US policy on last year's war between Israel and Hezbollah guerrillas, 60 per cent of its handling of Iran's nuclear program, 56 per cent of its stance on global warming and 54 per cent of its policy on North Korea's nuclear program.

More than two-thirds believed the US military presence in the Middle East provoked more conflict than it prevented and only 17 per cent thought US troops there were a stabilising force.

The poll found that the American public also seemed to have serious doubts about US foreign policy.

Majorities of Americans polled disapproved of how the United States was handling the war in Iraq (57 per cent) and global warming (54 per cent) while half disapproved of US policy on Guantanamo and Iran.

Fifty-three per cent of Americans said the US military presence in the Middle East "provokes more conflict than it prevents", the survey said.

The poll found US policy was regarded poorly in Britain, Bush's closest ally in Iraq. A majority (57 per cent) of the British public saw US influence in the world as mainly negative and 81 per cent disapproved of US actions in the war in Iraq, the BBC World Service said.

The poll, carried out between November 3 and January 9, covered Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Chile, China, Egypt, France, Germany, Britain, Hungary, India, Indonesia, Italy, Kenya, Lebanon, Mexico, Nigeria, the Philippines, Poland, Portugal, Russia, South Korea, Turkey, United Arab Emirates and the United States.

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