World News and Trends: World opinion judges the United States

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World opinion judges the United States

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With decidedly mixed feelings, according to results of a survey of 38,000 people in 44 countries released in December by the Pew Global Attitudes Project.

"Despite an initial outpouring of public sympathy for America following the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, discontent with the United States has grown around the world over the past two years," begins the report."Images of the U.S. have been tarnished in all types of nations," including longtime allies, poor countries "and, most dramatically, in Muslim societies."

While America and its citizens have a considerable reservoir of goodwill and are viewed favorably by a majority in most countries surveyed, compared to survey results from two years ago, favorable views of the United States have fallen in 19 of the 27 countries where comparable data are available. Critical views were especially strong in Germany and France, where huge majorities oppose U.S. military intervention to depose Saddam Hussein in Iraq (see "The Coming Clash Between Europe and America," beginning on page 16).

The report also notes that "true dislike, if not hatred, of America is concentrated in the Muslim nations of the Middle East and in Central Asia, today's areas of greatest conflict." Among supposed U.S. allies, 75 percent of Jordanians, 69 percent of Pakistanis and Egyptians and 55 percent of Turks held unfavorable views of the United States.

While the United States "is nearly universally admired for its technological achievements . . . in general, the spread of U.S. ideas and customs is disliked by majorities in almost every country included in this survey."

Many countries see the export of sleazy American culture, such as music, movies and other entertainment that wallows in violence, sex and materialism, as significant threats to their families and children, and this no doubt contributes to increasing negative views toward the United States. As Proverbs 14:34 Proverbs 14:34Righteousness exalts a nation: but sin is a reproach to any people.
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tells us, "Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a reproach to any people."

Not coincidentally, the survey also found that 80 percent of Americans interviewed thought that moral decline was a significant problem for their nation.The big question is whether they have the heart and will to reverse it.

For a biblical perspective on these trends and where they are ultimately leading, please request our free booklet The United States and Britain in Bible Prophecy.(Sources: The Pew Research Center, Associated Press.)