The findings of a just-published American opinion poll of Arab views of the U.S. come as no surprise. The poll indicates a massive 80 percent of Arabs distrust the U.S. If anything, the only surprise about the poll, [...] — is the implicit suggestion that 20 percent of Arabs do trust the U.S. It is hard to find anyone here in the Kingdom at the moment who has anything good to say about the U.S. The anger at President George W. Bush’s blundering, bloody intervention in Iraq, his persistent refusal to rein in the Israelis (especially now with Palestinian suffering greater than ever before) and his administration’s total failure to understand the Middle East and the bizarre notion that American-style democracy can and should be transplanted here have pushed resentment to a peak.
We Arabs have had our fill of being treated by the U.S. administration (and its followers in the U.S. media) as delinquents who have to be re-educated into the ways of polite and responsible society. If the U.S. treated its European allies with the same patronizing contempt and insistence on change, they would turn on it in fury, not just the European public, but governments as well. That Arab governments have not is proof of their reliability and loyalty. But it is hard work trying to remain friendly with a government that is so objectionable, so arrogant — and so wrong in everything it does in the Middle East.They are referring to the 2008 Zogby/University of Maryland Arab opinion poll (PDF). There are so many interesting statistics that I'm not sure how to tackle posting about it yet. Just take a gander at all the slides in the pdf.
For the Arab in the street at the moment, a distinction is still made (as seen in the poll) between the American people and the American government. The object of dislike is Bush himself and the scale of the dislike is unprecedented. It should be astonishing that the same poll found that he topped the list of world politicians Arabs disliked the most — 63 percent dislike Bush compared to Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert’s 39 percent.
One thing I learned: the Arabs love France, want to move to France, want their kids to be educated in France and think that France is the society with the most personal freedom. So, it looks like I'm a genius, n'est-ce pas?