Public Agenda and Foreign Affairs Magazine have published the results of a survey of American opinion about U.S. foreign policy. The results should make those of us concerned about our role in the Mideast sit up and take notice. It also should make the Bushites do the same, but that’s a hopeless proposition I’m afraid:
Only 1 in 5 Americans (19%) gives the United States an “A” or “B” grade for “having good relations and reputation with Muslim countries,” while twice as many (39%) give a “D” or “F.” Nearly three-quarters worry that our actions in the Middle East are aiding the recruitment of terrorists, with 37 percent saying they worry “a lot.” That’s up four points since January.
The U.S. role in egging on the war in Lebanon has not won plaudits among the American public:
This summer, the Israeli-Hezbollah conflict and Iran’s quest to develop a nuclear program were major news stories. The public gives mediocre grades to the United States for “doing our best to bring peace between Israel and the Arab world,” with one-third giving a “D” or “F.” Since January, there was a nine-point jump (to 23%) in the percentage of those who say it’s “totally justified” to say U.S. policies are too pro-Israel to broker peace, while 47 percent also consider it “partly justified.”
In other words, 70% say it’s either “totally” or “partly justified” to say that our policy is hopelessly skewed to favor Israel and thus renders us ineffective as an honest broker in ending the conflict.
56% gives us a grade of C or lower in bringing peace between Israel and the Palestinians. The U.S. receives the same grade for bringing peace between Israel and the Arab world. I’d say we can safely call that a failing grade.