[OPE] America's place in the world

From: Jurriaan Bendien <adsl675281@telfort.nl>
Date: Fri Dec 04 2009 - 17:45:36 EST

Study: Americans are tired of handling the world's problems

Haaretz 04/12/2009

By Shlomo Shamir, Haaretz Correspondent

As U.S. President Barack Obama rallies public support for his decision to
send reinforcements to Afghanistan, isolationist currents are being felt in
opinion polls on a scale not seen in a number of years.

According to a poll commissioned by the Pew Research Center
http://people-press.org/report/569/americas-place-in-the-world, 49 percent
of Americans think the U.S. "should mind its own business" in its dealings
with world affairs and "to let others get along on their own." The figure
represents an increase from 30 percent in December 2002. Just 32 percent of
respondents expressed support for the president's decision to deploy more
forces to Afghanistan, while 40 percent agreed that the president should
begin to wind down the U.S. military presence in the country.

In addition, 46 percent said the Afghan government needs to prove itself
capable of neutralizing the threat posed by radical Islamists. Forty-one
percent of those polled said they felt the U.S. was fulfilling a less
central role as the world superpower in comparison to ten years ago. The
survey's authors said the economic crisis was the likely factor contributing
to the increasing isolationist sentiment in U.S. public opinion. Americans
are also displeased with a situation whereby U.S. troops are waging two
simultaneous wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

Among those polled, 44 percent were convinced that China is the leading
global economic power today. Just 27 percent said the U.S. was the top
economic giant. As for the Middle East, 51 percent of respondents said they
viewed Israel more favorably than the Palestinians, while 12 percent said
they had greater sympathy for the Palestinians. About one-fifth of those
polled said they had no opinion on the matter. The poll reflects a sampling
of 2,000 participants who completed the survey between October 28 and
November 8 of this year. http://www.haaretz.com/hasen/spages/1132664.html

The Financial Times however has a comment according to which the US is still
no. 1:

Why Obama does not want a multipolar world order
By Zaki La´di
December 3 2009

Power is currently expressed in terms of three assets: material wealth,
without which nothing is technically possible (the collapse of the Soviet
Union is a case in point); strategic power, which implies the capacity to
project force to one's periphery and beyond; and, finally, what might be
called the power instinct - that is, the will to weigh in on world affairs.
This last can be through one's ideas, capabilities or attractiveness.

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Received on Fri Dec 4 17:58:06 2009

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