Commentary Magazine


Contentions

Exhausted and Blind

A new BBC World Service poll highlights a dangerous trend hampering the West’s ability to deal with Iran’s nuclear ambitions. The world community is so sick and tired of dealing with problems originating in the Middle East that they’re just about ready to quit trying solving them. Moreover, while Iran is the least liked country, Israel only ranks two positions above it (with Pakistan in between).

Iran had the poorest average ratings of the countries people were asked to rate, with 55 per cent feeling it has a negative influence in the world. Fourteen of the twenty one countries see it as having a negative influence… The largest number of countries – 19 out of 21 – give negative ratings to Israel.

Here’s what the world thinks about Israel:

Views of Israel have remained consistently negative with on average about one-half (51%) having a negative view and only one in five (21%) having a positive view. Nineteen countries have a predominantly negative view of Israel’s influence and only the United States leans positive while Russia is divided. (It should be noted that most polling was completed before the Israeli military action in Gaza.)

And about Iran:

Global views of Iran continue to be among the most negative out of all countries evaluated. On average out of countries polled in both 2008 and 2009, more than half (55%) continue to say Iran’s influence is mainly negative, while just 17 per cent say its influence is mainly positive. Fifteen countries view Iran’s influence negatively, only one country (India) leans toward viewing it positively, and five are divided. This is actually a bit of an improvement over last year when 17 countries had mostly negative views of Iran, while only Egypt leaned positive and Indonesia was divided.

Outside of the Unites States, Israel and Iran are largely thought of as countries that might as well destroy each other. World leaders working on this problem not only face a challenge regarding international diplomacy; they first need to convince their publics why they should even care.


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