The Bush administration’s foreign policy has created huge difficulties for America around the world. According to a new Pew Research Center poll, the American public is well aware of the United States’ declining favor in the eyes of the world and is distinctly unhappy about it. The poll found that 71 percent believe the United States is less respected by other countries than in the past, double what that figure was in 1984 when this question was first asked. Moreover, of this 71 percent, 67 percent believe the decline in respect is a problem, and 56 percent believe it is a major problem. The latter figure is up 13 points since 2004.
Lest there be any doubt that President Bush and his foreign policy are heavily implicated in this lack of respect, consider the results from a June WorldPublicOpinion.org poll conducted in 20 nations around the world. The poll asked the publics of these countries how much confidence they have in U.S. President George Bush to do the right thing regarding world affairs. Across the 20 countries, a paltry average of just 23 percent could muster that level of confidence, compared to an average of 66 percent who had not too much confidence or no confidence at all.
The task of restoring confidence in U.S. leadership around the world will be a difficult one. But these data suggest that not having the Bush administration setting foreign policy anymore—as will be the case in six months or so—should make that task a little easier.