The precipitous rise in anti-Americanism is startling. America's image has dramatically deteriorated over the past five years, and even the American people themselves are less well regarded than in the past. From the war on terrorism to antiglobalization protests to entrenched resistance to U.S. initiatives at the United Nations, Americans feel assailed from all quarters.
To understand why the world has turned against the United States, the Pew Research Center, under the leadership of Andrew Kohut, has undertaken an unprecedented series of global opinion surveys—more than 91,000 respondents in fifty nations—to discover how the world views America and its people. In America Against the World, Kohut and Bruce Stokes unveil the sobering and surprising results of these surveys, looking at the role played by U.S. attitudes and values in the dynamic rise of anti-Americanism. They reveal that:
—More than 70 percent of non-Americans say the world would be improved if America faced a rival military power. Americans overwhelmingly disagree.
—Two-thirds of Americans think that the preemptive war can be justified, while few Europeans agree.
—Most people around the world believe that America ignores their interests in making foreign policy, yet 67 percent of Americans feel that the United States pays attention to the interests of other countries—a disconnect of a major order.
—Americans take enormous pride in their way of doing business and practicing democracy, but citizens of other nations rank Australia, Britain, and Canada higher than the United States as places to go for economic opportunity and freedom.
—Ninety-four percent of Americans believe in God—compared to 60 percent of the British, 56 percent of the French, and 50 percent of Germans. Spiritually, America has more in common with Muslim countries like Egypt and Pakistan than with its European allies.
In what is perhaps their most provocative finding, Kohut and Stokes discern that what has pushed the world away is not simply the war in Iraq but also the American public's exceptional individualism that often results in go-it-alone attitudes. And it doesn't help that Americans' pervasive religiosity and deep patriotism are often exaggerated and misunderstood by America's critics.
Former Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright argues in her foreword that we cannot stop the spread of anti-Americanism without truly understanding who we are. America Against the World provides the insight to take that step.