Winning: A Well Kept Secret

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September 11, 2013: Recent global opinion polls show that the U.S. is again perceived as the most favorable country. For example, about 64 percent of the people on the planet now have a favorable attitude towards the United States. This varies a lot, from a low of 10-20 percent in many Moslem nations (where Islamic radicalism and conspiracy theories are popular) to over 80 percent in many African nations (where American efforts to curb AIDs and other diseases is particularly appreciated). But overall, in the last five years, 25 percent more foreigners have changed their opinion of the U.S. to favorable.

The U.S. standing in popularity polls took a beating after the American led invasion of Iraq toppled dictator Saddam Hussein. The UN, and many member states, are against this sort of thing. Dictatorships always are and China and Russia were particularly vehement in their objections. Many other UN members were aghast because many of them had been complicit in corrupt practices with Saddam Hussein. This corruption has been an open secret for decades but had gotten worse by 2003. The extent of the payoffs and stealing in the Iraqi "Oil for Food" program embarrassed a lot European nations. The corruption in the Iraqi program was also an open secret. But after 2003, many records and Iraqis willing to testify became available. It was hard to ignore the rumors after that, and suddenly, UN corruption in peacekeeping operations became newsworthy.  In the United States politics did its usual wartime magic. The party in opposition (in this case the Democrats) supported the war for a little while and then turned on it. Republicans do the same thing, but these days the mass media is largely pro-Democratic and all this criticism lowered the opinion of the U.S. in global opinion polls.

But over time people outside the United States, especially the many who want to move to America, reverted to their usual attitudes. Even in many Moslem nations the locals began to admit they liked the United States. A large part of this has to do with America’s unique attitude towards migrants. Moslem migrants to the United States have always been regarded as more loyal to their adopted country than those who went to Europe and other non-Moslem areas. This was largely because the United States has always been more accepting of migrants, being a nation of migrants. This is widely known in Moslem nations, where surveys regularly show the United States as the favorite destination of those seeking to migrate. Even though most Moslem nations have anti-Americanism as a popular attitude (or even an official policy), the United States remains the most desired destination. Opinion surveys of Moslem migrants in the United States shows that this community is more satisfied with their experience in America than non-Moslem migrants. This was reinforced when, after September 11, 2001, American leaders openly praised the loyalty of American Moslems. This was not forgotten, even though there were many American Moslems who cheered on the Islamic terrorists and some even sought to join them. But these numbers were small and even al Qaeda warned its operatives to be careful around American Moslems because many of them were more loyal to America than Islamic radicalism and would inform the police of any suspicious behavior.

 

 


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