Welcoming back the world divider

By Mark Follman

Published January 19, 2005 3:58PM (EST)

As Washington makes final preparations for Thursday's inaugural bash, a new poll out from the BBC World Service shows some pretty dark sentiment around the globe regarding President Bush's encore in the Oval Office.

"On average across all countries, 58% of people -- and 16 out of 21 countries polled -- said they believed Mr Bush's re-election to the White House made the world more dangerous," the BBC reports. "Only three countries -- India, Poland and the Philippines -- out of 21 polled believed the world was now safer."

"The survey found that 47% now viewed US influence in the world as largely negative and such unfavorable feelings extended towards Americans as a whole. None of the countries polled supported contributing their troops to Iraq.

"'This is quite a grim picture for the US,' said Steven Kull, director of the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA), which carried out the poll with GlobeScan. 'Negative feelings about Bush are high and are generalizing to the American people who re-elected him.'"

"Most negative feelings were found in Western European, Latin American and Muslim countries. They include traditional US allies such as Germany, France, Britain and Italy as well as neighbours Canada and Mexico."

Also noteworthy is that Turkey -- a U.S. ally and the only Muslim member of NATO -- topped the anti-Bush list, with 82 percent believing his reelection would be negative for global security. "Other predominantly Muslim countries -- Indonesia and Lebanon -- were also high up the list," the survey adds. "But, any warmer feelings in Indonesia towards the US following its tsunami relief operations would not show up as the poll was carried out before the disaster struck, says the BBC's Dan Isaacs."

You'd hate to have to rely on catastrophic natural disasters to restore America's standing around the world still, according to the BBC, Kull says the results do not constitute a definitive worldwide majority, "suggesting there may be some underlying openness to repairing relations with the U.S."

We suppose the question is, do those amenable folks have four more years?

Mark Follman

Mark Follman is Salon's deputy news editor. Read his other articles here.

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