Poll: Most Palestinians favor Iran nukes

Survey also shows that unease with American foreign policy has intensified.

jp.services2 (photo credit: )
(photo credit: )
Iran's potential acquisition of nuclear arms is favored by majorities in only Pakistan, Bangladesh and the Palestinian territories, a poll released Wednesday showed. The international survey conducted by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center also indicated that unease with American foreign policy and with President George W. Bush had intensified in countries that are some of the closest US allies, while Russia and China also face growing international wariness. Support for the US-led war in Iraq, the NATO military action in Afghanistan and worldwide American efforts against terrorism have dropped since 2002, and views of the US in much of the Muslim world remain particularly negative. In one measure of Bush's unpopularity, the poll showed he is less trusted on foreign policy than Russian President Vladimir Putin by allies Britain, Germany and Canada, even as faith in Putin has plummeted. About half in the US say they have little or no trust in either leader's conduct of foreign affairs. Bush's sagging numbers partly reflect widespread opposition to the US war in Iraq. Of the countries surveyed - which included the US - more people favored the removal of American forces from Iraq in all but Israel, Ghana, Nigeria and Kenya. "Even though there is a mixed view of the United States around the world, there is increasing disapproval of the principal cornerstones of our foreign policy," said Pew President Andrew Kohut. The State Department declined to comment on the report. The poll covered 46 nations plus the Palestinian territories. The US is still seen favorably in most countries surveyed, including India, Japan, Italy, Israel and many countries in Africa. American culture and technology are widely admired, and many believe a better life can be had by moving to the US. Yet wide-ranging majorities think the US does not consider their interests when formulating foreign policy; worry that US customs are hurting their countries; and think the US contributes to the gap between rich and poor nations. As the US has waged its battle against terrorism over the past five years, its overall image has worsened. It has dropped from 75 percent favorable in Britain in 2002 to 51 percent now; from 60 percent to 30 percent in Germany; and from 64 percent to 56 percent in Mexico. Views of the US have also slipped in Russia, Indonesia, Canada, China and India. The US is seen favorably by 9 percent in NATO ally Turkey, the lowest of any country measured; 13 percent in the Palestinian territories; and by 15 percent in Pakistan and 20 percent in Jordan, both terror-war partners. Though Putin is popular in Russia, his worldwide image has declined. Only in China, Ukraine and a handful of African nations did most express trust in his foreign policy. Views of Russia are mixed, with slightly favorable opinions in the US, China, India and South Korea. Majorities in most European countries express worries about reliance on Russian energy, following last year's Russian cutoff of natural gas to Ukraine during a clash over prices. Though more than half the nations polled have positive views of China, its image has widely worsened. China is seen most favorably by countries in Africa and Latin America, where its trade has recently grown, and in Asia, though two-thirds in regional rival Japan view it negatively. Majorities in most countries think China's economic growth is good for them, with concerns expressed in Western Europe and India. Unease with Beijing's military was wider spread, with majorities in most countries surveyed expressing worries - notably neighbors Japan and South Korea, much of Europe and the US