The US image, however, has taken the strongest hit in Pakistan where an overwhelming majority (74 per cent) considers America an enemy. The latest data from the Pew Global Attitudes Survey revealed that 80 per cent Pakistanis held an unfavourable view of the US.
Whereas the US continues to drop bombs on Pakistan from drones, which have reportedly killed several civilians and children along with others, and for months had refused to apologise for ‘accidentally’ killing 24 Pakistani soldiers at the Salala check-post, one could hardly blame Pakistanis for not cozying up to the Americans.
What a difference three years make. In 2009, President Barack Obama was applauded by the youth at Cairo University and was honoured by the Norwegian Nobel Committee, which awarded him the Nobel Peace Prize. By 2012, thanks to the unilateral international policies pursued by the Obama administration, the admiration had turned into despair and, in some instances, contempt. Pew Data revealed that since 2009 the approval of President Obama’s international policies in Muslim-majority countries declined by 56 per cent. Even in China, President Obama’s international policies saw a 53 per cent decline in approval from 57 per cent in 2009 to 27 per cent in 2012. At the same time, the US drone strikes in Pakistan, Yemen, and elsewhere met a widespread global opposition.
President Obama himself failed to meet global expectations on several fronts. When he was first elected President, many (including the Nobel Committee) thought that he would usher in an era of multilateralism; seek international approval for any military action; and be an honest broker in the Middle East. Pew data however reveal that President Obama has failed to meet expectations on all these fronts.
The Obama administration’s ‘my way or the highway’ foreign policy has alienated peoples all across the globe. Pew data reveal that apart from Brazil, India, and China, Europeans and Muslim majority countries were of the view that the US acted unilaterally. In India 44 per cent of the respondents were of the view that the US was mindful of her interests. However, a year earlier in 2011, 57 per cent Indians held the same view. Similarly, in 2009, 41 per cent of the global respondents were of the view that the US would consider their country’s interests in making foreign policy decisions. However, only 26 per cent believed the same in 2012.
Whereas, the US image continues to suffer because of Obama administration’s unilateralism, President Obama, however, boasted to supporters at a fundraiser of restoring America’s image globally. Earlier in February he told donors in Los Angeles that “[o]ne of the proudest things of my three years in office is helping to restore a sense of respect for America around the world, a belief that we are not just defined by the size of our military.”
The gullible supporters of the Democratic Party in Los Angeles might have bought President Obama’s claim of restoring America’s image abroad. The fact remains that drone attacks in Pakistan and the unilateral American foreign policy, which is driven by Pentagon rather than the State Department, has caused many to lose confidence in the US and President Obama.