Obama’s Mandate Has Not Curtailed Anti-American Feelings

Pakistan is the country holding the most anti-American feelings.

In Islamabad, McDonald’s is the meeting place for young people, but Pakistan is the U.S.’ proudest adversary. Yemen, Egypt, Algeria, Greece and “liberated” Iraq also round out the list of top countries holding anti-American feelings.

The Obama “trademark” has not been enough to wipe out anti-American feelings worldwide. In certain countries, anti-American feelings are in inverse proportion to the penetration of U.S. consumer goods, but certainly not in Pakistan, which, according to a recent Gallup survey, is the leader among the U.S.’ proudest adversaries.

According to the political analyst Joseph Nye, who created and developed the terms soft power and hard power, soft culture, or the appeal of American cultural values, should gain the upper hand over hard power instruments such as weapons and violence in the long run. In Islamabad and Karachi, where McDonald’s is the preferred meeting place of young Pakistanis – some of whom have Muslim beards – nobody cares.

Among the top 10 countries that have turned their anti-American feelings into proud nationalistic displays, there are some countries whose leaders work side by side with Washington. This is not always directly beneficial to the population. Everyone knows that U.S. drones carry out air attacks on Pakistan as part of their war on terror against the Taliban. Even in Yemen, the government, following the expulsion of pro-Western ex-President Saleh, continues to fight al-Qaida with the help of the White House. Even though Egypt has replaced the ousted pharaoh Mubarak with the Muslim Brotherhood, its collaboration with its friend, the U.S., has not decreased. Having been “liberated” by U.S. forces 10 years ago, other countries appearing on the list are Algeria, Lebanon, Greece and Iraq. Then, there is Iran, which gives the impression, though, that it is actually its government that is ostensibly burning the American flag, and the Palestinian territories, which are eagerly awaiting President Obama’s visit. (Obama will visit Ramallah on Thursday after visiting Israel.)

Is Israeli support the main reason for anti-American feelings that are resistant even to the powerful slogan “yes, we can”? In the Middle East, this is probably the case. Then there is Serbia, which is far from having any type of alliance with the Muslim world, and where 57 percent of the population claims to oppose the world leadership held by Washington and only 20 percent of the population approves of Obama’s leadership. And then, there is Israel. While it is true that America’s friend Israel is not part of Gallup’s list of White House enemies and that Jerusalem and Tel Aviv’s streets are full of welcoming flags for the American president, Israel admits to harboring feelings of distrust toward the U.S. never before seen. (Only 18 percent of Israelis swear that they unconditionally support Obama.)

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