October 11, 2005

Dan Darling Is Dead Wrong

Actually, I agree with almost everything Dan wrote as a continuation of our discussion of democracy as it relates to terrorism, but I thought it would sound better if I couched it in more antagonistic terms. Dan, no hard feelings, huh?

Aside from providing insights into a variety of means for combatting terrorism, Dan's post gives me the opportunity to clarify my position in relation to a point Dan made regarding the history of anti-American sentiment in the Muslim world. Dan is right that such widespread hostility predated the invasion of Iraq - and while he takes the Bush and Clinton White Houses to task for their lack of progress on this front, I'm sure he would agree that the blame stretches back to earlier administrations as well. I also acknowledge that much of this animus is based on virulent propaganda, half-truths and unfair treatment in local media and press outlets. Still, it should be noted that certain of our historic foreign policy tactics and strategies - such as the coup toppling the democratically elected and popular Mossadegh in Iran and the underlying emphasis on access to oil over human rights - haven't done us any favors in this regard either. Nevertheless, and despite our flaws, in many ways America has become the convenient scapegoat for the regimes in power across the region (even and especially allies) and a ready means of distracting the respective populaces from what is the inability of those same regimes to deliver the needs of the governed.

But my argument was not that the invasion of Iraq created the rampant anti-Americanism, merely that it further eroded what were already pretty anemic levels of support and good will. Poll after poll, whether conducted by Pew, Zogby or our own State Department confirms the reality that the invasion of Iraq has seriously tarnished our image. Here is a review of some Zogby poll data from 2004/2005:

In 2002, the single policy issue that drove opinion was the Palestinians; now it's Iraq and America's treatment, here and abroad, of Arabs and Muslims," said James Zogby, who commissioned the report with the Arab American Institute.

In Zogby's 2002 survey, 76 percent of Egyptians had a negative attitude toward the United States, compared with 98 percent this year. In Morocco, 61 percent viewed the country unfavorably in 2002, but in two years, that number has jumped to 88 percent. In Saudi Arabia, such responses rose from 87 percent in 2002 to 94 percent in June. Attitudes were virtually unchanged in Lebanon but improved slightly in the UAE, from 87 percent who said in 2002 that they disliked the United States to 73 percent this year.

The latest survey results out of the Middle East show that America's favorability rating is now, essentially, zero. That's down from as high as 75 percent in some Muslim countries just four years ago.

It was bad enough in 2002, when Zogby found that an appalling 35 percent of Jordanians and 12 percent of Saudis viewed us favorably. Now those figures are 15 percent and four percent respectively. We can't even buy friends. Egypt received some $4 billion last year in U.S. aid, yet only two percent of Egyptians responded positively. In a poll with a margin of error of about four points, that doesn't even move the needle.

Those polled said their opinions were shaped by U.S. policies, rather than by values or culture. When asked: "What is the first thought when you hear 'America'?" respondents overwhelmingly said: "Unfair foreign policy." [emphasis added]

Unfortunately, it doesn't end there. Our image has also taken a beating in other parts of the world - from Europe and South America to Asia and Australia. This backlash has proven a boon to certain of our enemies and other unsavory characters (such as Chavez in Venezuela who is far more popular than warranted - stemming in part from his open defiance of the United States) and impacted some of our business interests - stinging from the open hostility in foreign marketplaces to American branded products. From an article appearing in The Atlantic (via a previous post on TIA providing more background):

The U.S. government isn't all that's taking a public-relations hit overseas these days: U.S. brands are hurting as well, according to a study of European and Canadian consumers conducted by the market-research company GMI. Roughly 20 percent of people surveyed reported consciously avoiding American products in response to U.S. foreign policy. The brands most at risk, the study noted, are those that have "America" or "American" in their name (such as AOL and American Airlines) or are considered quintessentially American (such as Coca-Cola and McDonald's).

From the poll cited by The Atlantic:

When European and Canadian consumers were asked to characterize the American government and President Bush, they were most often described as arrogant and self-centered....With this in mind, when consumers were asked to characterize American multinational brands, the data revealed select American multinational company's - AOL, Exxon Mobil and Starbucks - were viewed very much like the American government and President Bush: arrogant, intrusive and self-centered.

"Some American brands become closely connected to their country of origin and are quintessentially American. They represent the American lifestyle, innovation, power, leadership and foreign policy. Unfortunately, current American foreign policy is viewed by international consumers as a significant negative, when it used to be a positive," explains Dr. Mitchell Eggers, COO and chief pollster at GMI.

American multinational companies will need to mount a valiant effort to distance themselves from the image of the U.S. federal government and its unpopular foreign policies in the New Year or risk continued brand erosion and ongoing boycotting by European and Canadian consumers, according to independent market research solutions company GMI, Inc....

Allyson Stewart-Allen, an American based in Europe for the past 17 years and co-author of best-selling business book Working with Americans...adds that for the New Year, American companies need to distance themselves from being American.

Again, the invasion of Iraq did not create anti-Americanism, but it did bolster it. Our policies should be informed by these trends, though we need not become slavishly devoted to poll data. But we would be foolish to disregard the fact that the successful realization of our goals - be they foreign policy objectives or sustained economic growth - are intimately tied to how the global community views us in an increasingly interconnected world.

Posted by at October 11, 2005 06:05 PM | TrackBack (1)
Comments

Im missing the point of this. Since, AFAICT, no one serious is advocating further invasions to spread democracy, (no John Podhoretz isnt a major foreign policy player) I fail to see how this addresses any foreign policy issues now on the table. Are you merely making the point that if we go to war with a muslim state for far different reasons, then erosion of hearts and minds in the muslim world is a cost? Thats true, but not necessarily decisive - its real hard to evaluate it outside the context of a specific possible conflict.

Are you trying to argue yet again the cost benefit of the Iraq war? I dont see the point - the full historical picture wont be clear for some time yet. We were losing support in the Islamic world due to our attack on AFGHANISTAN, when that war for them was Al jazeera pictures of US bombs killing babies in Kabul. Do you NOW think that the invasion of Afghanistan was a net loss for the US in support in the Islamic world? Whats the difference? surely the political and economic development of Afghanistan from the fall of Mazar e Shariff to today.

Well we're not there yet on Iraq. So its too early too say.

Is it necessary to evaluate some US pols as part of an election? Bush, needless to say, is not running for reelection. Folks like McCain, and Hilary Clinton, who supported the war, nonetheless say they would have pursued it differently. Perhaps you beleive that it would have been as harmful to our hearts and minds position anyway, but none can say for sure.


Again, Im not sure where this is going - seems like more of the Bush Good, Bush Bad debate that mars so many blogs, right and left.

You two are equipped to debate so many more important issues - what is the REAL state of US Army recruiting, how serious is the split between Dawa and SCIRI, is there REAL internal support for regime change in Iran, are there any democrats in the Syrian Muslim Brotherhood, etc, etc, its a shame seeing this blog used for another debate about Bush.

Posted by: liberalhawk at October 11, 2005 07:19 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"such as Chavez in Venezuela who is far more popular than warranted - stemming in part from his open defiance of the United States"

pardon me for thinking that has alot more to do with using oil money for social programs, historic class conflict in latin america, etc than to Iraq.

You know, they dont like us much in Argentina either. You think thats about Iraq?

Im not saying we're MORE liked cause of Iraq. But these are third order effects.

Interesting that some folks think Iraq was bad idea cause we dont have enough troops to be tougher with Iran, or Nkor, or for that matter Pakistan. I take it you disagree with them? ANYWHERE the US establishes a larger footprint makes SOME fence sitters more nervous about the US. So to a considerable degree this was inevitable post 9/11, absent a turn to isolationism.

and a certain portion of this was the rhetoric of Cheney and Rumsfelf, which were arrogant pre-9/11, when they were in their Jacksonian, anti-nation building phase. Also the rejection of Kyoto and ICC, and the image of Bush as an evangelical "cowboy".

Again, I dont think its all about Iraq.

Posted by: liberalhawk at October 11, 2005 07:25 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I think this blog entry does more to point out the sophistry of polling on these issues than anything I've ever read. Let me offer an analogy: Jack Armstrong is a high school senior at UN High School, he's quarterback of the football team, captain of the basketball team, and the prettiest girl in the school is his girlfriend. To add more insult to injury he's also valedictorian and his father owns the town's only factory where everybody works. Now suppose you conduct a poll of the class nerds and ask them; do you want to be a toady of Jack Armstrong, or would you rather discuss how he tripped on his shoelaces when he went up to the podium to get another award?
I think this focus on the negative views of America by these frustrated third world folks is not very productive; their expressed views are never going to be peachy, especially when the first world MSM and elites send out cues that the correct pose for them to hold is anamosity. Anyone that has traveled in most of these countries will tell you that animosity to America, in almost all cases, is ten miles wide and half an inch deep. I wish Bush would redirect our foriegn policy for other reasons, but this in itself does not keep me awake at night.

Posted by: wayne at October 11, 2005 07:25 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Definitely agreed as far as the invasion of Iraq (and the manner in which the run-up to it was conducted, which we can discuss some other time) having led to a serious rise in anti-Americanism internationally.

My point was that as of circa 2002, a lot of the general public in the Muslim world were all that supportive of the US to begin with, even in a case (Afghanistan) that the vast majority of the Western world saw military intervention as both appropriate and justifiable.

As far as the failure of public diplomacy towards the general public rather than the governments of the Muslim world goes, it stretches at least as far back as the emergence of the US as a superpower on the world stage if not before. It should also be considered that among Islamists there is not seen as a great deal of distinction between the US, UK, France, Israel, etc., no more than they tend to distinguish along domestic political lines, which is one of the reasons why France hasn't gotten any slack from Osama's acolytes despite its outspoken opposition to the war in Iraq.

Posted by: Dan Darling at October 11, 2005 07:25 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I'm very confident you are correct when you note people tell surveyors that they are going to avoid McDonalds or Coke because of the American connection; is there any indication from sales figures that its actually happening? I think not.

Posted by: wayne at October 11, 2005 07:31 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Does anyone confront the "Arab street" with the illogic of its taking offence at the US led CoW toppling the largest mass murderer of muslims in history?

Surely a unified "Are you people idiots" from the entire developed worlds MSM would be of some help in this area

Posted by: Pogue Mahone at October 11, 2005 07:33 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

As mentioned in the last thread, policies should also be informed by a sober analytic discussion of the effect of:

a. Oil!
b. Oil!
c. Oil!
d. Oil!

Without a detailed exegesis that includes this particular resource, and how western countries deal with governments that have the stuff, any analysis no matter how high-sounding is hollow.

But back to the public opinion as an outgrowth of policy positions -

There's a question on how much public opinion should sway what a nation does - some things you do because they are right, after all - that is leading, not following - but clearly if the goal is to "free" a foreign country, then you do it RIGHT, or you don't do it at all. And in terms of Iraq, we didn't do it right, so the best thing would have been not to do it. Because by doing it wrong, you simply provide an opportunity to Al-Queda.

But on other public opinion issues, clearly this shouldn't drive us.

before the Iraq war, the reason why the US was hated was because of Israel-Palestine. But there was a lack of concern for Palestinians in say, Lebanon or Syria, who suffered under more brutal repression.

now that the US is in Iraq, it's because of Iraq.

It goes back to the notion of legitimacy, rather than any objective measure of freedom, choice, or repression. And issues of legitimacy are as will of the wisp as you can get.


Posted by: JC at October 11, 2005 07:58 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

LH,

The point of this post was to clarify my position. As any slightly academic discussion warrants, it is in the interest of the authors to flesh out their stances. Further, there are definitely foreign policy decisions other than invading another nation after Iraq that can and will impact our reception by the world. Cooperation on environmental issues, foreign/humanitarian aid issues, debt relief, cooperation in and with international bodies (John Bolton?????), promotion of reform and democratic institutions, etc.

While I agree with you that some things appear obvious to me and you, it is not always the case in our foreign policy establishment - especially with the cult of unipolarity. For some, any cooperation or concession to international orgs is tantamount to being tied down by Liliputians.

Lastly, while Podhoretz is not exactly an influential player, Khalilzad isn't exactly a non-factor. What he said about Syria sure woke me up.

At the very least, I do intend to keep beating the dead horse (if that is indeed what I am doing) so that future generations do not make the same mistakes. Perhaps it is a hangover from the fact that I was warning about exactly these things before the invasion of Iraq and my opinions were brushed aside by people who knew more about history. Or something.

Posted by: Eric Martin at October 11, 2005 08:23 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Wayne,

You have a point about the veracity of respondents to polls, but that doesn't account for the variance in numbers. Presumably, the same people would have the same anti-BMOC impulse whenever they were polled, yet somehow after Iraq the numbers went down.

Every time anyone brings up this fact (that Iraq hurt our standing in the world) someone inevitably makes the point that our standing was not that good to begin with, or that people tend to show hostility to the top of the food chain. These are true, but border on tautologies.

I thought I took pains to state, clearly, more than once that Iraq was not the cause of anti-Americanism. But we should all acknowledge that the levels of anti-American sentiments are not a fixed, static phenomenon. Certain of our actions actually do impact the way foreigners view us.

Take the example of Indonesia post-tsunami relief. Our number got a big bounce. They aren't great still, but they are better than before. The numbers move - despite the tendency by Indonesians to answer poll questions with an exaggerated anti-Americanism.

So even if we assume that people are more prone to give exaggerated negative answers about America in surveys, that doesn't mean we can't track the results of such surveys over time - assuming the respondents have the same tendencies to exaggerate their answers each time they are polled.

Posted by: Eric Martin at October 11, 2005 08:33 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

" Cooperation on environmental issues, foreign/humanitarian aid issues, debt relief, cooperation in and with international bodies (John Bolton?????), promotion of reform and democratic institutions, etc."

Generally, there is some impact of what we do in many areas on peoples opinions of us? Yes, statement of the obvious. Which doesnt mean that its more important than first order effects. And I take it you name Bolton cause you agree that pushing him out of State was a weakening for unilateralists :)

"While I agree with you that some things appear obvious to me and you, it is not always the case in our foreign policy establishment - especially with the cult of unipolarity. For some, any cooperation or concession to international orgs is tantamount to being tied down by Liliputians. "


Ive watched Condi Rice since she became Sec of State, and i dont see that. Rummy isnt running foreign policy anymore, if he ever did.


"Lastly, while Podhoretz is not exactly an influential player, Khalilzad isn't exactly a non-factor. What he said about Syria sure woke me up. "


And what Khalizad said was quite appropriate. If you want to debate costs and benefits of hot pursuit into a country that is sheltering the very terrorists who are preventing our success in Iraq, do so. If you think a minor drop in coca cola sales should factor into that, you are free to argue that.

"At the very least, I do intend to keep beating the dead horse (if that is indeed what I am doing) so that future generations do not make the same mistakes. Perhaps it is a hangover from the fact that I was warning about exactly these things before the invasion of Iraq and my opinions were brushed aside by people who knew more about history. Or something. "

Ah, so its really about playing gotcha with other bloggers, as I suspected. Pardon me for being unimpressed. Since OIF, we have seen several elections in western countries - with mixed results - John Howard and Tony Blair did just fine, Azar lost, and it was dead heat in Germany. And the EU3 have been working closely with us on Iran. All in all it points to a steady healing in US -Euro relations. Against which youve got some market research about Coca Cola and AOL?

Cmon future generations will have the benefit, which we do not have, of knowing how things actually turn out in Iraq, and what the world reaction is THEN. They wont be much interested in what we
think now.

Posted by: liberalhawk at October 11, 2005 08:37 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Im missing the point of this. Since, AFAICT, no one serious is advocating further invasions to spread democracy, (no John Podhoretz isnt a major foreign policy player) I fail to see how this addresses any foreign policy issues now on the table.

no one is currently "seriously advocating" such a policy, but in the immediate aftermath of the overthrow of Saddam, the discussion among what passes for a neo-con brain trust was not about whether we should invade another nation, but which nation to invade.

and the fact is that "spreading democracy" was not the reason why we were told we were invading Iraq. The whole "we are there to spread democracy" nonsense became prominent only when it became obvious that there were no WMDs in Iraq, and that the American people had been lied to.

Its unlikely that "spreading democracy" would be used as a pretext for any subsequent invasion --- as with Iraq, establishing the perception of a threat to the USA is essential to gain public support for attacking other nations. (and recent reports have indicated that neo-con nutjobs in the Bush regime wanted to launch attacks against Syria (ostensibly "insurgent strongholds in Syria"), but that Condi Rice had a period of coherent thought and stopped it....for the time being.)

The neo-con cabal has not lost its imperialist ambitions by any stretch of the imagination, and the rest of the world knows it. That is the primary reason that the international community is unwilling to get seriously involved in Iraq---it knows that stability in Iraq would be considered a green light for the invasion of Syria and/or Iran by the Bush regime.

Posted by: p.lukasiak at October 11, 2005 08:38 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Wayne,

In terms of sales being impacted, unless the market research done by GMI was absolutely, entirely worthless, then yes, sales will be affected. The data was also based on boycotts and likelihood of brands being boycotted. Boycotts directly affect sales, depending on their size and scope.

But if you think about it, it's a question of branding. These companies spend billions every year to build up brand loyalty - and the public's loyalty to brands can be based on many irrational and emotional responses. Hence the composition of many advertisements - appealing to factors not necessarily related to the product (sex, youthful exuberance, coolness, celeb endoresement, lifestyle, money, etc.). These companies don't spend their money on nothing. But the opposite must be true as well - that consumers can be swayed against a product by the same emotional impulses.

Posted by: Eric Martin at October 11, 2005 08:41 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Ah, so its really about playing gotcha with other bloggers, as I suspected.

Is that a gotcha of my gotcha?

Posted by: Eric Martin at October 11, 2005 08:46 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Look, I sympathize with the i told you so business, really I do.

Ive had something similar happen in reverse.

Where I was wrong, and admitted so, and it didnt have any impact.

Let me tell you the story.

In 1999 and 2000 I was pro-peace process. Strongly so. Under a different name i posted to Jewish groups, arguing strenously with hawks, that for Barak to make a generous offer was a no lose proposition. Either Arafat would accept, and we'd have peace. Or hed reject it, and the world would see what Arafat was, and Israel would face future confrontations with the backing of world opinion.

They said, no, I was wrong, thered be a war, and i was barking up a tree re world opinion.

Well guess what. I was wrong. Totally wrong.

And you know what? Nobody cares. The response from the world is that it WASNT really a generous offer, that it was a bantustan offer, and in case it was all nullified when the "war criminal" took over in Israel. Arafat was once again a "freedom fighter".

Then I watched Ariel Sharon in action, and I saw a moderate, whose actions were quite different from that Israeli hard right (despite the slanderous mischarecterization of them) And I said so, I said this man is a moderate. I was told I was a fool, but people who, as you say, knew history better. Or something.

And I was right. (Whether or not Sharon goes farther, to have gotten this far confirms my rightness)

And you know whats its worth? Bupkiss, as we say in Yiddish. That and a dollar ten will get you a local bus ride.


So look, you can argue yesterdays blog wars all you want. But unless you can relate it convincing to something happening NOW, no one cares.

Posted by: liberalhawk at October 11, 2005 08:47 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Ah, so its really about playing gotcha with other bloggers, as I suspected.

Is that a gotcha of my gotcha?

Its a metagotcha.

Posted by: liberalhawk at October 11, 2005 08:49 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

But seriously, I would be concerned about more than a drop in Coke sales if we invade Syria. Our standing in the global community should be one factor amongst many, many that should be discussed and analyzed before such a move.

It doesn't have to be so absolute, all or nothing. It isn't everything, but it ain't nothing either. Again, obvious statement but we still have people in respected circles that think we should deliberately offend and debase historical allies and international orgs. I'm just pleading for sanity.

And yes, Condi is doing a much better job of making the case for sanity.

And if you think the only impact is some AOl and Coke sales, you are very wrong. There have been very real realignments of interests, despite the healing of our rift with Europe. From an article in the Financial Times:

A decade ago, American triumphalists mocked those who argued that the world was becoming multipolar, rather than unipolar. Where was the evidence of balancing against the US, they asked. Today the evidence of foreign co-operation to reduce American primacy is everywhere -- from the increasing importance of regional trade blocs that exclude the US to international space projects and military exercises in which the US is conspicuous by its absence.

Full article here:

http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/000283.html

Fred Kaplan discussing the NIC:

It is true that the US remains the only country capable of projecting military power throughout the world. But unipolarity in the military sphere, narrowly defined, is not preventing the rapid development of multipolarity in the geopolitical and economic arenas -- far from it.

In this new world, a mere 15 years away, the United States will remain "an important shaper of the international order" - probably the single most powerful country - but its "relative power position" will have "eroded." The new "arriviste powers" - not only China and India, but also Brazil, Indonesia, and perhaps others - will accelerate this erosion by pursuing "strategies designed to exclude or isolate the United States" in order to "force or cajole" us into playing by their rules.

America's current foreign policy is encouraging this trend, the NIC concluded.

Link:

http://slate.msn.com/id/2112697/

Posted by: Eric Martin at October 11, 2005 08:56 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

My gripes put in present context, and how they impact today's policies:


As per my prior post on Pakistan, get mountains of aid to affected regions in in order to improve our image which will in turn help Musharraf to fight terrorism, and help to curtail some of the rampant and most pernicious anti-Americanism. Further, as Dan pointed out on LAT:

A lot of the Pakistani jihadi groups maintain fairly sizeable social service wings. The LeT, which is the one I'm most familiar with, has a huge infrastructure in this regard and the financial network to recoup any of the losses tied up during the quake, so they're probably going to be leading the charge as far as local relief efforts go.

In other words, if the US doesn't help out the not-so-nice people will ...

Contrast that with people that don't think the expenditure of money would be justified and that public opinion in Pakistan is unimportant.

Posted by: Eric Martin at October 11, 2005 09:10 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"Contrast that with people that don't think the expenditure of money would be justified and that public opinion in Pakistan is unimportant"

I have no idea who that would be. Certainly not Bill Kristol. And not the current admin, judging by the immediate dispatch of helicopters to Pakistan.

Are you spending too much team reading LGF?

Theres a reason that bloggers tend to link to the things theyre arguing against. That way I can no if theyre taking issue with something important, or just obsessing over some absurd extremist. When Greg linked to Wretchard we knew what was coming. And since we knew just how much we did or didnt think of wretchard, we could put in in context. Attacking a nameless they makes it hard for me to "context" your point. Its rather different if you are taking issue with John Podhoretz, or Zalmay Khalilzad. Or if youre taking issue with Darling or Ledeen for something they said in 2002.

Posted by: liberalhawk at October 11, 2005 09:37 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"Again, obvious statement but we still have people in respected circles that think we should deliberately offend and debase historical allies and international orgs. I'm just pleading for sanity."

Only high official i can think of who came close to deliberated offending was Rummy "old Europe". And to be fair, that was in RESPONSE to people saying Europe opposed us. He didnt raise the issue.


"And if you think the only impact is some AOl and Coke sales, you are very wrong. There have been very real realignments of interests, despite the healing of our rift with Europe. From an article in the Financial Times:

A decade ago, American triumphalists mocked those who argued that the world was becoming multipolar, rather than unipolar. Where was the evidence of balancing against the US, they asked. Today the evidence of foreign co-operation to reduce American primacy is everywhere -- from the increasing importance of regional trade blocs that exclude the US to international space projects and military exercises in which the US is conspicuous by its absence.

Full article here:

http://www.thewashingtonnote.com/archives/000283.html

Fred Kaplan discussing the NIC:

It is true that the US remains the only country capable of projecting military power throughout the world. But unipolarity in the military sphere, narrowly defined, is not preventing the rapid development of multipolarity in the geopolitical and economic arenas -- far from it.

In this new world, a mere 15 years away, the United States will remain "an important shaper of the international order" - probably the single most powerful country - but its "relative power position" will have "eroded." The new "arriviste powers" - not only China and India, but also Brazil, Indonesia, and perhaps others - will accelerate this erosion by pursuing "strategies designed to exclude or isolate the United States" in order to "force or cajole" us into playing by their rules.

America's current foreign policy is encouraging this trend, the NIC concluded."

As far as i can tell, the trade shifts involve playing by THEIR rules on international trade - and the EU is as much on the receiving end as we are. And the rise of multipolarity is something people have been talking about since BEFORE the cold war ended - its an inevitable result of changing GDP ratios. See Paul Kennedy, Rise of the Great Powers.

As for the role of Americas current foreign policy Id have to the original, as I Fred Kaplan has a tendency to spin things.

Posted by: liberalhawk at October 11, 2005 09:42 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Note the GMI poll was released in December 2004.

That was right after the Bush reelection, and before the Iraqi election. May well have been a low point in relations. That was back when folks in the US were talking about moving to Canada, and there was in general an absence of sanity.

Have the numbers changed since?

also folks who DONT identify Visa or Dell with the US are taking a pretty shallow view of the whole subject, I suspect.

I wonder what answers you would get asking Britons about French multinationals? Or asking europeans, many of whom are genuine socialists, about multinational corporations in general?

If you look at the four boxes, there are plenty of firms that are American identified, and yet popular - including Microsoft! And the firm thats most american identified, and most unpopular is Marlboro. There could be a lot of reasons for that.

I think youre trying to get this evidence to say more than its capable of saying.

Posted by: liberalhawk at October 11, 2005 09:52 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Are you spending too much team reading LGF?

Perhaps. How much is too much anyway?

I don't think the Bush team has been particularly bad on this issue, but not everything I say is a swipe at Bush. $50 million is a solid number, but I would go for the smother with love approach.

As for attributing the anonymous statement to an author, maybe it is the LGF-effect, but are you really suggesting that there isn't a current in the American body politic that: (a) disregards the importance of foreign public opinion; (b) doubts our ability to affect such public opinion even if they acknowledge its impact; and/or (c) rejects the notion that the US should be spending tens of millions of dollars helping out foreign nations - especially ones such as Pakistan that are not altogether friendly to the US - in order to affect that opinion?

If that is indeed the case, I withdraw my statement in full. If not, then you will have to accept the fact that it was not intended for Kristol or Bush. They are not my only bete noirs.

As for links, I'll do my best. I do have a day job though. Sheesh.

Posted by: Eric Martin at October 11, 2005 10:27 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"Are you spending too much team reading LGF?

Perhaps. How much is too much anyway? "

Id say about 1 nanosecond. Really one thing the net does, is make us worry about fringe phenomena that were too small to achieve visibility without an electronic forum.

Does LGF represent a widespread phenom? I dont know? How about say, folks who follow alternatvie history? Jewish homeschoolers? Jews against circumcision. Advocates for Greater Finnland. Etc, etc. Lots of loons out there. Hell I wouldnt be surprised if theres a forum for Greater Finnish Jewish homeschoolers against circumcision.

Posted by: liberalhawk at October 11, 2005 10:41 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Liberalhawk,

"Contrast that with people that don't think the expenditure of money would be justified and that public opinion in Pakistan is unimportant"

I have no idea who that would be. Certainly not Bill Kristol. And not the current admin, judging by the immediate dispatch of helicopters to Pakistan.

Are you spending too much team reading LGF?"


Well, you might have heard a little bit about John Bolton.

Then again, maybe you haven't - if not, start at The Washington Note.

Posted by: JC at October 11, 2005 10:42 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Flash

AP reports a new deal on Iraq constitution, at least one Sunni party supports it.

Posted by: liberalhawk at October 11, 2005 10:43 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Thats the Iraqi Islamic Party.

BBC confirms.

Posted by: liberalhawk at October 11, 2005 10:53 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

If Eric is looking for who opposes giving millions of dollars in aid to influence foreign public opinion, that would be most of the American people.

Foreign aid in general has never been a popular cause in this country. It is approved for specific purposes -- like disaster relief -- as a component of national security policy and as a token of public trust in the people running our foreign affairs, which trust for various reasons has been at a low ebb for many years now. Now personally I think the foreign aid budget is too low, and too saddled with Congressional earmarks and restrictions. The political reality is that what public support there is for foreign aid is not going to increase, and if anything is likely to dissipate, unless a major effort justified by more specific objectives than "influencing foreign opinion" is made by American political leaders.

Posted by: JEB at October 11, 2005 10:59 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Advocates for Greater Finnland. Etc, etc. Lots of loons out there. Hell I wouldnt be surprised if theres a forum for Greater Finnish Jewish homeschoolers against circumcision.

Hey, how'd you know I'm quarter Finnish...?


JEB - I agree on all counts.

JC - John Bolton would be the most obvious choice. Yet I missed it. Thanks.

Posted by: Eric Martin at October 11, 2005 11:33 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"Hell I wouldnt be surprised if theres a forum for Greater Finnish Jewish homeschoolers against circumcision."

Well, personally, after watching the movie Cool Runnings, I wanted to setup a movement for Greater Rastafari in the Scandanavians -

but hey, I'm lazy, so it didn't happen!

Posted by: JC at October 12, 2005 12:35 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

John Bolton would be the most obvious choice. Yet I missed it. Thanks.

an even more obvious choice would be Bush himself. Lets not forget that Bush was opposed to going to the UN on the Iraq issue --- and that were it not for Tony Blair explaining to Bush that Britain's hands were tied unless Bush went the UN route, it probably never would have happened. The fish rots from the head down, as they say.....

Posted by: p.lukasiak at October 12, 2005 12:42 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Eric Martin,

In 1945 the US GDP was 50% of the world's. It was the conscious objective of US policy to give up that advantage by helping the rest of the world try to catch up. Now you try to portray it as some kind of defeat if the US is working hard to help India, China and the other tigers jog up the path we have cleared, while we're up on point trying to clear more of the economic trail. I'm not a Pollyanna, I know we have some real problems with public relations; but I think you are stretching when you try to say some consultant is selling some report saying American corporations may have some problem sometime with antiAmerican sentiments. When you are pressed for data supporting this assertion the case folds.

Posted by: wayne at October 12, 2005 01:02 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Hmmm, Wayne do you have data that refutes this contention? Although I would like to pretend that its the case, I do not know everything or even where to go to find everything that I reluctantly acknowledge that I don't know. Alas, I don't have economic data contrasting overseas sales of the companies listed over the past ten to twenty years. Do you?

Ultimately, I can't say if its true or not, but I did cite the polls, and the underlying methodology - and the same appeared in The Atlantic which doesn't mean they're gospel, but The Atlantic isn't exactly a hackish periodical either.

I mean, the logic doesn't seem a stretch. Again, why is it hard to believe that brand preference could be influenced by emotional impulses - and by extension, increased anti-American emotional responses and rational choices could impact American products? That is, in fact, the strategy of every ad agency worth its salt - to establish brand loyalty by creating favorable connotations and emotional connections. I would hardly say the case "folds" but it sure would be nice to have data either supporting or refuting the underlying contention.

I wonder if, indeed, the companies listed in the study followed the advice and have been trying to put distance between their brands and "America" for their overseas markets. If so, it would seem to indicate that at least the people in charge of capitalizing on such brands don't think the case is so flimsy.

Posted by: Eric Martin at October 12, 2005 01:30 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

EM,

Sorry if my last entry came off as a bit snarky, that is not my intention. My point is some things do move sales figures (ads that convince your subconscious that you'll have a lot more sex if you buy their deodorant), some things just don't really generate that much emotion. That was my point - I think being "AntiAmerican" is mostly a pose in these countries -- it's mostly a way of saying you are patriotic (or the religious equivalent) or not a chump to US influence, but not something that moves people at a serious level.

Posted by: wayne at October 12, 2005 02:00 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

The advertising messages that are offered as effective in a developed Western country are not likely to be similarly effective in the developing world. Most successful multinationals have staffed their foreign operations with locals and have also developed management personnel from the local economies. Where third party affiliates are involved, they are frequently owned and managed by the locals. These folks are presumably tuned into the likes and dislikes of their cultures and steer the advertising and marketing in their jurisdictions with sensitivities to the local customs and values. The notion that a particular brand will be seen first as American and after that as a competitive product in the market place needs more concrete proof for my nickel.

An officer friend who returned from a stint in Afganistan, informed that winning the hearts and minds of the locals often involved providing goods that had been the merchandise of the smugglers during the Taliban reign. What were these? Head and Shoulders shampoo. American soaps. Crest and Colgate toothpaste. American brand cigarettes, etc. These were being distributed in large quantities and were warmly received.

Over the past five decades, I have fortunately had many opportunities to travel throughout Europe and Southeast Asia. Regardless of the era, wherever I went I saw the youth emulating American styles, music, dress, and mannerisms. When you see young Thais and Indonesians emulating the Rap ghetto culture by listening to the music and dressing like they lived in the "hood" you have to think something is up in their attitudes toward Americans. When you talk to them, though, they don't see what they are doing as American as much as the current style of being young. I think the same mental state applies to American brands overseas. People all over the world have become comfortable using the products and they will continue to use them notwithstanding misgivings about American foreign policy.

As a final note, Eric, I marvel at your ability to keep track of the Arabic names. I also very much appreciate the thoroughness of your observations and the terrific debate that you are stimulating.

Michael

Posted by: Michael Pecherer at October 12, 2005 04:30 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Anti-americanism is a bit more complex than a total rejection of all American people, products and ideas.

In Europe, as far as I know (I'm French), most people don't agree with some aspects of US: cult of the money, arrogance, links between religion and politics, individualism. GWB is the perfect incarnation of this symbol, as Ronald Reagan was. US is the symbol of what the left-winged don't want.

It doesn't mean that people boycott US products or throw stones on tourists in Paris. They continue to watch US movies, listen to US music, and drink Coke. The mainstream medias don't miss an opportunity to criticize US, that's right. But no one calls for a boycott of US products.

[I hope my English is understandable]

Posted by: gilou at October 12, 2005 11:26 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

those who are in denial about the potential for economic losses due to anti-American sentiments in international markets have obviously forgotten their precious "freedom fries" campaign designed to boycott all things French.

And those who deny that there is no relationship between American brands and foreign policy need to google the term "Coca-Cola diplomacy", and read a little bit of history....

Posted by: p.lukasiak at October 12, 2005 12:33 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Its interesting to see Ronald Reagan brought up, quite correctly I might add, as someone who also was identified with all that was bad about the USA by the social and media elites of Euroland - just as Bush 43 is today

And what was the net effect - the liberation of New Europe and a slew of new friends

So maybe we can look back in 20 years at the friends we will have in the Middle East and still be listening to the Old Europeans whine about our cowboy ways

BTW - very interesting release of an internal AQ memo detailing the enemies plans as well as their interest in the Vietnam gambit

Its quite clear that the enemy is fighting a media war - they cannot defeat the CoW in any way but if they can manage to create enough carnage then they will enable their allies in the West ( like Luka ) to generate enough opposition that we pull out and leave the people of Iraq and the ME to the tender mercies of secular despots and islamist tyrants once again ( which was considered THE reason "they" hated us before it was because we "invaded" Iraq - it makes ones head spin )


Again - perhaps we should be holding our own MSM more accountable in how they report on events - what play do they give to the voices in Iraq and the ME who are not blowing up and chopping heads

I understand the media tends to report the negative anyway - but its a shame there is no story in 25M more human beings struggling toward a democratic future.


As for going to the UN - well that worked out so well didn't it...just a session to kick the US around a bit after all

Should have gone the Clinton/Kosovo route after all eh

Posted by: Pogue Mahone at October 12, 2005 04:17 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

P.L wrote :
"those who are in denial about the potential for economic losses due to anti-American sentiments in international markets have obviously forgotten their precious "freedom fries" campaign designed to boycott all things French."

There was no retaliation in France concerning US products or interests. A lot of French don't realize the extent of French bashing in the US, unless they are expatriates. And "freedom fries" missed the target because in France these fries are supposed to come from Belgium, so nobody here understand why these fried potatoes are supposed to be French... Frankly, the vast majority don't care about the name of fried potatoes on US Congress menu.

BTW, we call a sandwich with French fries inside, an "American sandwich". And it was not renamed. Bon appétit !

Posted by: gilou at October 12, 2005 05:51 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

"Its interesting to see Ronald Reagan brought up, quite correctly I might add, as someone who also was identified with all that was bad about the USA by the social and media elites of Euroland - just as Bush 43 is today

And what was the net effect - the liberation of New Europe and a slew of new friends"

Bingo.
Leftists were wrong then, and they're wrong now.
Can't wait until I can get to Warsaw, Poland and visit "Reagan Square".

Posted by: Mike at October 12, 2005 07:31 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Gilou, you confirm my perspective. I generally go to France for August each year and have many friends there. I speak tolerable French. While I often hear criticism along the lines that you mention, I can honestly say that on not one occasion in all the time that I have spent in your lovely country have I ever felt not wanted at a personal level or ostracized because I am American. Indeed, I have always experienced delightful hospitality and often animated discussion of these issues that never degenerates into personal attacks. I have always found the French to be very interested in American ideas etc.

Yes, it is perhaps true that some of my countrymen mouthed some generalized anti-French comments. I always thought the
"Freedom Fries" idea was someone in the media talking to some nut and making a story about it on an otherwise slow news day. Put a bottle of nice French wine on the table and a bit of Brie and I rather expect that no boycott will materialize except, perhaps, with persons whose culinary apogee is a slice of American cheese on Wonderbread with catsu

Posted by: Michael Pecherer at October 12, 2005 11:55 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

While I can agree with you for the most part Michael you should really understand that as an American in Europe it is close to impossible to spend a day in public without dealing with at least one ignorant stereotype about Americans

We're too fat, too lazy, don't read, have no culture, are arogant and generally insensitive, too driven by love of money, don't care about the environment

the list goes on and on

Ask any european what they think of when they think of America and you'll get some part of the list

Posted by: Pogue Mahone at October 13, 2005 03:41 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Grandstanding again there Pogue?? Par for the course though.

I'm reading from your comments that you somehow attribute the fall of communism with the Actions of Ron "gun-slinger" Reagun?? Get real!!!! Communism fell because it was an abject failure as a political system and people realised that all communism did was promote dictatorships and accumulation of wealth in the political ruling class. It had absolutely nothing to do with anything Ron Reagan did. How could it. Communism collapsed from the inside. Yes capitalism offered the alternative to Communism that the people wanted, but to assume somehow Ron Reagan aided that process is pure revisionism.

Beside Ron Reagan was hardly some icon for Freedom and democracy. Afterall he presided over the massive increase in cocaine addicts in major American citys, due directly to the big influx of cocaine from Nicarauguan Contra rebels in return for guns and finance to fight their dirty little insurrection?? Aided admirably by CIA operatives??? Yes 'Ol Ronnie was a real good guy and a the Contra Rebels struck a blow for freedom... or was that state sanctioned freedom for blow?

Let me know if you want some sources to verify this...

Whilst I don't agree with a lot of what Luka says he at leasts has a helll of a lot better understanding of what makes these people tick - one of the things you constantly miss because you get so caught up in your own rhetoric. If you can't get inside the head of your enemy and understand what makes them tick you've got not a snowballs chance in hell of figuring out effective ways to combat them.

Just to reiterate this Muslims perceive America in particular (and by proxy Israel which is largely seen as a proxy for America) as at best a diplomatic bully seeking to further her own interests at the expense of the Islamic world (through US desire for Oil), and we all know what the worst impressions of the US are by the muslim populace. This I know because I work with the Head of the Fedaration of Muslims in NZ. And when you put yourself in the shoes of Muslims you can see why. Failure to act in the balkans while muslims were being slaughtered by Christians, Israel/Palestine, Further back the deposition of the Democratically elected leader of Iran in the 50's and so forth.

Whether Muslim perceptions are right or wrong, (and to be honest if I were Muslim - who by and large see each other as brothers first, and ethnicity comes second - I could understand that sentiment) as most of the educated writers here posit, the simple fact is Anti-American sentiment IS an impediment to ending Terrorism against the US. I'm not Muslim, but I've been highly anti-American foreign policy since the OIF invasion. Quite simply because the case war was not particularly credible, AND because of the way the US failed to engage with other nations and their pig headedness in marching to war. This sentiment exists the world over, and so add to that the sense of persecution many muslim people feel its not too hard to understand what the current situation gives succor to the extremists and why muslims in general are not as vociferous in the condemnation of such activities as they perhaps should be.

BTW that doesn't mean I don't like American people who at an individual level are some of the nicest most friendly people I've met - and I have several good friends who are American. Nor would I treat an American person offensively just because they are American. Nor does it stop me drinking coke. BUT it does make me realise why Islamic extremists are on the rise at the moment, and why the muslim world (which from a cultural perspective alone is distinctly different from American culture) is so anti-american. And as most people here agree anti-americanism gives succor to the Islamic extremists.

Telling the Arab world they ought to be thankful for deposing Saddam is a bit like the Muslim world telling you to be thankful Hurricane Katrina only killed a few people. Can you understand that concept??

Your pointless grandstanding adds no value to this debate (which aside from this has been an enlightening and informing one), and unfortunately I've never seen you ever acknowledge a viewpoint contrary to your one eyed ethnocentric view of the world. Which sadly means I've largely wasted the last 15 minutes typing this to try and illustrate why you ought to try to understand the muslim perspective from... well the muslim perspective, but I am trying...

Posted by: Aran Brown at October 13, 2005 03:47 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

I always thought the
"Freedom Fries" idea was someone in the media talking to some nut and making a story about it on an otherwise slow news day.

That's probably true, although it should be noted that the "nut" in question happens to be a US Congressman. Though that is not necessarily a shocking revelation.

Posted by: Eric Martin at October 13, 2005 03:33 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Aran - I only got this far "I'm reading from your comments that you somehow attribute the fall of communism with the Actions of Ron "gun-slinger" Reagun??" and stopped reading your rant

Rea-GUN - oh - I get it

Like Chimpymchalliburton


I see - calling them names

well- you have convinced me sir with your superior points

Too bad you can't convince enough of the US public

Two Election wins, Two terms for Bush, Two USSC picks ( including Chief Justice - and maybe one more to come ), Republican control of BOTH houses of congress

I see you have plenty to whine about these days

But no - don't call the 40th President Rea-GUN

That really hurts : )

Posted by: Pogue Mahone at October 13, 2005 05:31 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Your such an insufferable blowhard Aran - your pontificating would be funny if it wasnt this kind of thing that lent support to the enemy and nurtures their desire to replay Vietnam in Iraq ( along with the post-war bloodbath that your kind never even seems to have heard about )

" Yes capitalism offered the alternative to Communism that the people wanted, but to assume somehow Ron Reagan aided that process is pure revisionism."

Whatever - - you'll never credit Reagan with anything - your so one sided in your opinions so what else is new. If the Iraq is a beacon for democracy and freedom for the entire ME in 20 years we can predict how much credit you will give to Bush 43 for staying the course despite your "wisdom"
and you know what - who cares what you think
Still harping about the Contra's??? Get a clue already - you lost that one too - thank God for the people of Central America


" If you can't get inside the head of your enemy and understand what makes them tick you've got not a snowballs chance in hell of figuring out effective ways to combat them. "

What makes you think I don't know what makes them tick? They have been quite clear about it ( read the latest AQ memo ) - so I actually know what they want.

And understanding what makes them tick makes me more vocal in saying we cannot accomdate these islamo facists one ioto

Is that clear to you

"Just to reiterate this Muslims perceive America in particular..."


Blah blah blah - and you actually include as one of our "crimes" our failure to act in the Balkans???? Are you kidding? We were the ones who DID act finally - and they hate the US for that and not France? What an idiot you are

Its always the same isn't it - we were BAD when we worked with the despots - we are BAD when we depose them - we are even BAD when we save muslims ( not in time! ) - we are always BAD aren't we Aran

"Whether Muslim perceptions are right or wrong, (and to be honest if I were Muslim - who by and large see each other as brothers first, and ethnicity comes second - I could understand that sentiment) as most of the educated writers here posit, the simple fact is Anti-American sentiment IS an impediment to ending Terrorism against the US. "

Well Muslim perceptions are wrong - get it.

Saddam was a brutal bastard who killed more muslims that anyone else in history. Got it yet?

So getting rid of Saddam SHOULD be cheered by muslims - rather than reacted to as this "we must stand with any muslim against any infidel" bullshit. I understand why THEY think this way - what I don't understand is why YOU legitimise this idiocy


"I'm not Muslim, but I've been highly anti-American foreign policy since the OIF invasion."

So you were a supporter of the Afghanistan campaign? Yes or No

"This sentiment exists the world over, and so add to that the sense of persecution many muslim people feel its not too hard to understand what the current situation gives succor to the extremists and why muslims in general are not as vociferous in the condemnation of such activities as they perhaps should be."

Indeed - perhaps they should be - but since Bush bashing sorts like you legitimise their angst - why should they have to confront the illogic of their idea's

"BTW that doesn't mean I don't like American people who at an individual level are some of the nicest most friendly people I've met -"


and some of my best friends a jews : )


" BUT it does make me realise why Islamic extremists are on the rise at the moment,"


Islamic extremists have been "on the rise" for 30 years Aran - not "at the moment" Heres a clue for you - Bali happened BEFORE Iraq was liberated They hate us Aran - both of us - and you craven appeasement and desire to "understand" them won't save you anymore than some jew who "understood" the Nazi's position saved him at Treblinka in 1942

( apologies for Godwins law infraction )

And my desire to understand their ideology is as deep as our desire to understand the Nazi's ideology needed to be

get it yet?

"and why the muslim world (which from a cultural perspective alone is distinctly different from American culture) is so anti-american. And as most people here agree anti-americanism gives succor to the Islamic extremists."


And your parroting their justifications ( different culture so hey - why not oppose the ouster of the largest mass murderer of your own people - really bright ) keeps this going

( not to give you too much credit - by "you" I mean the "not in our name/no blood for oil/ Bush = Hitler" moron brigade )

"Telling the Arab world they ought to be thankful for deposing Saddam is a bit like the Muslim world telling you to be thankful Hurricane Katrina only killed a few people. Can you understand that concept??"


Um no - because that was about as poor an analogy as I have EVER read.

Hows this one - if Bush had stopped Katrina in its tracks with his secret Halliburton wind machine - its like telling the Democrats in New Orleans they should be grateful, and not hateful, at Bush ( in Jesse Jackson speak ;) )

But if the Democrats were still hatefull at Bush BECAUSE he stopped the hurricane and saved thousands of lives - because in their culture it was shameful to have had to been helped by a non-Democrat then I would expect every sane person to say to them "are you fucking nuts?"

"Your pointless grandstanding adds no value to this debate (which aside from this has been an enlightening and informing one),"

And you regurgitation of the Bushchimpymchalliburton understanding the world is adding what exactly???

"and unfortunately I've never seen you ever acknowledge a viewpoint contrary to your one eyed ethnocentric view of the world. "

This from the guy who wrote "Yes capitalism offered the alternative to Communism that the people wanted, but to assume somehow Ron Reagan aided that process is pure revisionism"

Um - there is almost nobody who does not allow SOME credit to Reagan for the end of Communism in 1989 Aran

( why didn't it happen in 1979 or 1999 - theres a hint for you )

I didn't and don't say he did it alone flying into Red Square with a big S on his chest - that would be moronic

Almost as moronic as saying he had nothing whatsoever to do with it - of course thats you position

and you call my view of the world "one eyed"? Seems you clearly have a single view of events - and Republican US Presidents are always wrong and never did anything good


"Which sadly means I've largely wasted the last 15 minutes typing this to try and illustrate why you ought to try to understand the muslim perspective from... well the muslim perspective, but I am trying..."


It took you 15 min to regurgitate all that Democratic party pablum?

But thanks - nice to have a non-muslim who isn't in the ME and has probably never been there explain to me "the muslim perspective"

Got any idea's on how the Eskimo's feel about things too?

Posted by: Pogue Mahone at October 13, 2005 06:28 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

If the mission was to increase our popularity in the Muslim World by invading Afghanistan and Iraq, I can guarantee you that it has been a miserable failure. Zarquawi's poll numbers are not so good in Iraq right now, and I daresay are decreasing with the death of every Iraqi Shiite.

I would like to see the pollsters ask people's opinions of OBL. I suspect that our popularity and his are not inversely linked. That is why I am not worried too much about that 96% disapproval rating in Egypt. On the other hand, the "splodeydopes" who kill Muslims have a much more toxic PR problem it seems to me.

Posted by: Chuck Betz at October 13, 2005 07:14 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Our popularity may increase in the long term - a short term increase in US popularity was never in the cards

On the other hand - we're not very popular in Germany these days but at least they aren't blowing people up so maybe popularity is over-rated

Posted by: Pogue Mahone at October 13, 2005 07:27 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Speaking of our more "nuanced", "cultural", "morally superior", "intellectually sophisticated" European cousins:

Most Americans fail to grasp how deep anti-Americanism now runs in Europe and how the slow response to Katrina - and the poverty it exposed - could trigger almost fanatical anti-American sentiment in Europe.

In Britain, an opinion columnist in The Guardian encouraged his readers to withhold hurricane aid: "America needs [political] change not charity." In Germany, it was worse. Columnist Philipp Mausshardt of the German Tageszeitung felt "joy" that Katrina "hit the richest country in the world" and "would be even happier to know that it destroyed the homes of Bush supporters and members of the military." Andreas Renner, a German state minister (of the conservative party, typically more sympathetic to the Bush administration), claimed that "Bush should be shot" for his delayed response to Katrina victims. German Environmental Minister Jürgin Trittin suggested that Katrina was America's due retribution for not signing Kyoto.

This is the TYPICAL nonsense you hear from European "FRIENDS" and "ALLIES", democracies who OUGHT to know best, but are so warped partly by their own domestic, economic, demographic, political, cultural failures and failings that they can't help but lash at America every single chance they get. The Euros, increasingly seeing their relative world power decreasing and their precious socio/ecominc system beginning to crumble are more and more adopting the role of agrieved "victims", in other words they're mirrowing the pathologies of the Arab World, ironically. Part of the point is that the US is for all intents and purposes, the world's pinata and much if not most of the antipathy generated is more a reflection of local factors than what the US has or has not allegedly done.

Listen, I live in Montreal, Quebec, probably the most European city in North America and officially bilingual. The anti-Americanism here is overwhelming, nevermind the rest of Quebec, which skewers Canada's overall perceptions. I'm a supporter of President Bush and especially his Iraq policy and people look at me like I'm some kind of insane lunatic. It mostly doesn't matter if you can put together cogent arguments that shut them the f%ck up. That's irrelevant. But here is the reality: the US is an economic, military, cultural and political powerhouse. Even amongst your staunchest allies, there is bound to be some degree of resentment because most reasonable human beings have a tendency to be wary of so much power being concentrated for all intents and purposes in Washington, New York or Los Angeles to be a bit simplistic. Magnify that by whatever order is necessary for those who believe, whether unfairly or not, that American policies are somehow against their own moral compasses. And when most of the other Western countries for instance are generally to the left, politically/culturally/socially/economically (heck even journalistically) of America's more sane Democrats, well, you can draw your own conclusions.

I don't think there's much that can be done about this, at least as long as there is no other major credible threat out there and everybody realises how much "Uncle Sam really isn't that bad after all". As long as Europe continues its precipitous decline and the Arab/Muslim world remains the backward cesspool that it is, well, it ain't lookin' good...Hopefully Iraq will begin the process of changing the Middle Eastern dynamic and the Europeans will wake up from their own self-induced nightmares...who knows?

At the end of the day, y'all got to remember that it's not always about America, even when they say or claim it is. It sucks I know, but then again, you ARE the world's sole superpower; it comes with the territory. So the next time you hear about the next populace that is outraged by something America has allegedly done/or not, smile and nod and then go about your business ;)

Here's another must read article.

Aran, you would put the Soviet politburo to shame with your revisionist history, if it still existed, as the majority of leftists and Sovietologists, you know, all the so-called experts claimed it would ad-nauseum and never failed to remind anybody who would listen. President "Reagun" thought differently of course, and was mocked and castigated mercilessly (the way President "ChimpyMcBushitler is today vis-a-vis Iraq and the Middle East, coincidentally enough), especially by the more "intellectually sophisticated" types like yourself. I wonder who was right about that, hmmmmmmmmm. Needless to say, if Iraq does end up laying the foundations, however precarious and imperfect, for a more liberal, democratic Middle East, President Bush no doubt would have had nothing to do with it. It was all inevitable anyway, right Aran? But if it all goes horribly wrong, as you never fail to remind us it will, they there can be no doubt whatsoever as to who will be to blame for THAT, huh?

Posted by: Mike at October 14, 2005 08:06 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Speaking of our more "nuanced", "cultural", "morally superior", "intellectually sophisticated" European cousins:

Most Americans fail to grasp how deep anti-Americanism now runs in Europe and how the slow response to Katrina - and the poverty it exposed - could trigger almost fanatical anti-American sentiment in Europe.

In Britain, an opinion columnist in The Guardian encouraged his readers to withhold hurricane aid: "America needs [political] change not charity." In Germany, it was worse. Columnist Philipp Mausshardt of the German Tageszeitung felt "joy" that Katrina "hit the richest country in the world" and "would be even happier to know that it destroyed the homes of Bush supporters and members of the military." Andreas Renner, a German state minister (of the conservative party, typically more sympathetic to the Bush administration), claimed that "Bush should be shot" for his delayed response to Katrina victims. German Environmental Minister Jürgin Trittin suggested that Katrina was America's due retribution for not signing Kyoto.

This is the TYPICAL nonsense you hear from European "FRIENDS" and "ALLIES", democracies who OUGHT to know best, but are so warped partly by their own domestic, economic, demographic, political, cultural failures and failings that they can't help but lash at America every single chance they get. The Euros, increasingly seeing their relative world power decreasing and their precious socio/ecominc system beginning to crumble are more and more adopting the role of agrieved "victims", in other words they're mirrowing the pathologies of the Arab World, ironically. Part of the point is that the US is for all intents and purposes, the world's pinata and much if not most of the antipathy generated is more a reflection of local factors than what the US has or has not allegedly done.

Listen, I live in Montreal, Quebec, probably the most European city in North America and officially bilingual. The anti-Americanism here is overwhelming, nevermind the rest of Quebec, which skewers Canada's overall perceptions. I'm a supporter of President Bush and especially his Iraq policy and people look at me like I'm some kind of insane lunatic. It mostly doesn't matter if you can put together cogent arguments that shut them the f%ck up. That's irrelevant. But here is the reality: the US is an economic, military, cultural and political powerhouse. Even amongst your staunchest allies, there is bound to be some degree of resentment because most reasonable human beings have a tendency to be wary of so much power being concentrated for all intents and purposes in Washington, New York or Los Angeles to be a bit simplistic. Magnify that by whatever order is necessary for those who believe, whether unfairly or not, that American policies are somehow against their own moral compasses. And when most of the other Western countries for instance are generally to the left, politically/culturally/socially/economically (heck even journalistically) of America's more sane Democrats, well, you can draw your own conclusions.

I don't think there's much that can be done about this, at least as long as there is no other major credible threat out there and everybody realises how much "Uncle Sam really isn't that bad after all". As long as Europe continues its precipitous decline and the Arab/Muslim world remains the backward cesspool that it is, well, it ain't lookin' good...Hopefully Iraq will begin the process of changing the Middle Eastern dynamic and the Europeans will wake up from their own self-induced nightmares...who knows?

At the end of the day, y'all got to remember that it's not always about America, even when they say or claim it is. It sucks I know, but then again, you ARE the world's sole superpower; it comes with the territory. So the next time you hear about the next populace that is outraged by something America has allegedly done/or not, smile and nod and then go about your business ;)

Here's another must read article.

Aran, you would put the Soviet politburo to shame with your revisionist history, if it still existed, as the majority of leftists and Sovietologists, you know, all the so-called experts claimed it would ad-nauseum and never failed to remind anybody who would listen. President "Reagun" thought differently of course, and was mocked and castigated mercilessly (the way President "ChimpyMcBushitler is today vis-a-vis Iraq and the Middle East, coincidentally enough), especially by the more "intellectually sophisticated" types like yourself. I wonder who was right about that, hmmmmmmmmm. Needless to say, if Iraq does end up laying the foundations, however precarious and imperfect, for a more liberal, democratic Middle East, President Bush no doubt would have had nothing to do with it. It was all inevitable anyway, right Aran? But if it all goes horribly wrong, as you never fail to remind us it will, they there can be no doubt whatsoever as to who will be to blame for THAT, huh?

Posted by: Mike at October 14, 2005 08:07 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

Again, the invasion of Iraq did not create anti-Americanism, but it did bolster it. Our policies should be informed by these trends, though we need not become slavishly devoted to poll data. But we would be foolish to disregard the fact that the successful realization of our goals - be they foreign policy objectives or sustained economic growth - are intimately tied to how the global community views us in an increasingly interconnected world.

Eric, it's not a popularity contest. It matters to an extent what the world thinks, but again, it's not always about you guys. Sometimes it's hard to make the distinction, but it needs to be made. Because you cannot let yourselves be guided by the fads or the irrational whims of others. Leaders or people who find themselves in leadership positions understand that. Iraq, IMHO of course, was the right thing to do. You may disagree with that for whatever reasons and that's fine. But if you believe it was the right thing to do in the long run, then it is worth the short term difficulties.

As I've stated in the previous comment, much if not all of the anti-Americanism one would find abroad is based mostly on incorrect or distorted history, irrational and illogical premises and for many countries, an burgening inferiority complex vis-a-vis the US and as a esult, playing the role of agrieved victim or troubled teenager to get attention. For the most part, foreign policy is an excuse to bash. I mean please, some of the best selling "foreign policy" authors here in Quebec for instance are Michael Moore and Noam Chomsky. Explain to me how people who take these morons seriously can be rationally reasoned with, at least for the foreseable future?

Posted by: Mike at October 14, 2005 08:31 PM | Permalink to this comment Permalink

This is one of the silliest posts I've seen on BD. If you want to measure a brand's performance, you look at sales, awareness, recognition, sales, pricing power, sales, sales, and did I mention... sales?

The most accurate poll is the one taken every day at millions of cash registers from hundreds of millions of consumers. All talk about customers' unfavorable perceptions is utterly meaningless if not accompanied by hard data showing decreased sales. Ditto for favorable perceptions and increased sales: if you try to bullshit a group od investors about how, say, Adidas is now going to kick Nike's butt in Europe because of the Iraq War, they'll laugh you out of the room. Show the hard numbers, if you have any, but spare us these horseshit polls.

I highly doubt that any major reverse has occurred for SBUX, Nike, McD's etc during the last five years. As poster "Gilou" and most Frenchmen know, McDonalds is so deeply enmeshed into the routine of millions of French families and young people that it's extremely unlikely that any increase in popular, not elite, hatred of the US (which rose more sharply after the Soviet Union fell than after GWBush's Iraq War, btw) has caused McDonalds' French sales to reverse their trajectory during the last five years.

If I'm wrong, then please bring forth the *sales* data. Show us the currency-adjusted ten year sales trend line for a) European and b) French and German sales for McD's, SBUX, Nike etc and then you can talk about the pounding that US brands are taking in Europe. Otherwise, this is just more horseshit from the financially illiterate punditocracy.

Posted by: thibaud at October 18, 2005 05:05 AM | Permalink to this comment Permalink
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