US foreign policy alienates the Muslim world
Ever since President Bush unilaterally declared the war on Iraq, and as its pretenses are falsified, so is anti-Americanism getting widespread in the Arab and Muslim world.
According to a recent global attitudes survey carried out by the Pew Research Center, "The bottom has indeed fallen out of Arab and Muslim support for the United States."
For example, in Turkey, a secular Muslim, non-Arab democracy and a stalwart member of NATO, favorable opinion towards the U.S. dropped from 52 percent three years ago to 15 percent in the spring of 2003. The situation is not much different in other Muslim and Arab countries.
Given this, the U.S. Congress mandated a bipartisan 13-member Advisory Group on Public Diplomacy for the Arab and Muslim World. Its report released on Oct. 1, calls for a new White House office to manage strategic direction and government coordination of public diplomacy in promoting national interest by informing, engaging and influencing various people.
The report concludes, "America can achieve dramatic results with a consistent, strategic, well-managed, and properly funded approach to public diplomacy, one that credibly reflects U.S. values, promotes the positive thrust of U.S. policies, and takes seriously the needs and aspirations of Arabs and Muslims for peace, prosperity, and social justice."
However, Michael Holtzman, a public affairs advisor in the Clinton administration, doubts that "recommendations like spending millions more on public relations" will be of much help, and "the entire operation needs rethinking."
This because, the State Department, which oversees such efforts, seems to view public diplomacy not as a dialog but as a one-sided exercise, resulting in speaking at the world with simplistic and often offensive propaganda.
For example, a $15 million advertising campaign, called "Shared values" was intended for broadcast in Muslim countries. Several Arab countries refused to run these ads, and they were subsequently dropped when the test audiences said that they did not touch on the main issues that divide America and the Muslim world.
Although Holtzman suggests that this enterprise should rather be public, the issues, much more than diplomacy, are of the U.S. policies towards the Arabs and Muslims, that need to be addressed earnestly.
Even the public diplomacy advisory panel admits, "Foreign policy counts." That "surveys show clearly that specific American policies profoundly affect attitudes toward the United States. That stands to reason. For example, large majorities in the Arab and Muslim world view U.S. policy through the prism of the Arab-Israeli conflict. Arabs and Muslims overwhelmingly opposed the post-9-11 U.S. military campaign in Afghanistan, as well as the use of force against Iraq, and the U.S. war on terrorism in general."
Writing in Foreign Affairs, September/October, under the heading "Taking Arabs Seriously" Marc Lynch observes that a new elite has emerged in the Arab world that "increasingly sets the course for the street and palace alike." And that the Bush administration "needs to recognize that the elite Arab public can speak for itself, deeply resents being ignored or condescended to, and is more than capable of directly observing American words and deeds for inconsistencies."
Therefore, it is vital to realize that, whereas the American core values are admired and respected worldwide, it is the reality of our unbalanced and counterproductive foreign policies that negatively impacts global public opinion.
It is these policies that must be addressed not on our immediate hegemonic interests, but on what will be good and lasting for America in befriending rather than antagonizing the 1.5 billion world Muslims. Moreover, these policies need to be based on uniform standards of international law, political equity, social justice, and respect for human rights.
Siraj Islam Mufti, Ph.D. is a researcher and a free-lance journalist.
Topics: George W. Bush, Muslim World
I ask often why Arabs will believe their own governments when their claims in the various battles with Israel have been so blatantly false. The Israeli forces are always being driven into the sea by the victorious Arab nations. When everyone wakes up the next day, the Israeli's have even more land and have destroyed Arab arms.
Perhaps teh Arab love of poetry and oratory makes a well turned lie that corresponds with a hope believable. But there are Arabs all over the world who still believe that the Zionists caused the attack on the World Trade Center.
American efforts will never be expansive enough to persuade Arabs (unless the have been educated in the West). If they were, the American public and press would pillory them for exagerating.
American opinion of the Arab world has also decended to an all time low.THe perception is that there is nothing that will satisfy these people except the destruction of Israel. Most Americans feel that the deal that Arafat turned down gave more than Arabs would ever hope to get.Arafat wants the struggle as do many other Arab leaders-they do not want peace. Americans can really do nothing about this and still keep a sense of fairness. Americans take rhetoric more seriously than most--and certainly moreso than the Arabs.The terrorism must stop first. Then other things are possible.But if a polulation supports terrorism, Americans don't and should not care about their opinion
YOu only posted HALF of my paragraph...you see problems begin when people selectively interpret what others are saying...quote the rest of that paragraph? Ok I will do it for you:
"The attacks in Turkey are disgusting...stop throwing blame around, the fact is that there is a human casualty, and it's due to the fact that the Turkish government is irresponsibly neglecting it's population in making backroom deals with NATO and the conservative US administration. This is unnacceptable and should be exposed for what it truly is. using Turkey as a tool to offset the European Union. That's pathetic...and the Muslims and Jews of Turkey should stand united and in outrage against the government in power....thsi secular, Godless mentality is disgusting and totally unnacceptable...This is not representation, it is a mask, a disguise....if you want to liberate Turkey, take off it's American shackles and let its economy free to exchange with the world"
So Mohammad, why don't you tell me why the only tape released by the US Government out of all four Osama tapes, is the one that incriminates him, yet the guy sitting there dressed up as Osama loooks NOTHING LIKE HIM? Explain that to me, I did an entire study on this matter analyzed the composition of hte video with one of Osama's real videos, one released from Al-Jazeera...ARE U HAPPY....? Probably not but what can one do, people like you are tearing yourselves another asshole by be ignorant to the actions of your "SECULAR GOVERNMENT"....please, save it for someone who cares.
Saif said: "Criticize me, abuse me, I welcome your anger." A) You open yourself to criticism. B) I would never abuse anyone and never have in my 50++ years. C) I never conduct my affairs in anger. Others may feel your reasoning as justification for angry response because you do not connect. May be you should seek clarification instead of contempt.
Saif said: "I cannot comprehend the plight of the Palestinians, etc - since I haven't lived their experience." Bingo. There you have it. Perhaps you should try to put yourself in their shoes a little. It is human nature to turn into a beast when cornered. One does not have to be a muslim to re-act violently in order to repel violence. However, if you have read the Quran well, it also orders a Muslim to fight ONLY in defence. So, Palestinians, Chechins and "others" as you put it do so after having received excessive years of violence. It is natural to do so.
Consider yourself lucky that you have not been put in such a position as clearly you do not understand what it is like to be. Wisdom does not come from sitting behind a lap-top and philosophising. It takes years of hardship living amongst people who are disadvantaged - so pray that Allah does not test your faith by putting you through such experiences.
As for being proud of your education, that may be demeaning to some since you imply that those who have not had US education are narrow minded.
Judging by your words, when I worked in the US after my university education, your were most probably not born yet! (or a toddler). Having worked in a few countries for nearly 30 years, I have learned to be humble, just like my uneducated father was - education means nothing if you loose compassion for others. Do not confuse that with contempt.
May Allah bless all with his love. Salam. Your brothe
Right. Oh, except the video tapes of Bin Laden admitting to it, or rather taking credit for it. Or are you one of the conspiracy theorists who believe that tape was built in some Hollywood basement? Do you believe that the bombings in Bali and Turkey were Al Qaeda? What about the bombings in Saudi Arabia?
Akbar Khan also wrote: ...the fact is that there is a human casualty, and it's due to the fact that the Turkish government is irresponsibly neglecting it's population in making backroom deals with NATO and the conservative US administration
No, there are human casualties because a group of bastards drove a couple of trucks full of explosives into a busy square and blew everything up. The people that died were alive seconds before that, regardless of what their government was doing.
One wonders why you feel the need to be an apologist for the drivers of the truck.
leave saif. there is always a black sheep in the herd. he just doesnt have any idea what is happening to world. one who is proud of western upbringing has no idea what has happened during colonial era. has no idea that western powers rigt from crusades through colonialism and two world wars have killed so many that no race can ever even dare to compare. he has no idea how indian muslims including latest in gujarat have been treated. if it happened to his family he would have not been able to even talk a word. and he is proud of western upbringing and same time says that i love islam but is not influenced by islam's phiolosophy and think west has prpopagated broad thinking. let him go to his masters bush and sharon. they will treat him as they have treated likes of rushdies and ataturk.
world is really full of ignorants and hypocrites who want to be honored by jews and christian media as broad thinkers while ignoring anything done by those perpetrators.
www.gracelinks.org --- the cup is half full , let's think with human hearts not feeble minds so that the rest may follow.
"May you live a long life so that you may do lots of Good Deeds" - Hadith (do the research and 'independent' reflection yourself)
Let's admit we are roughly 50% of the problem, let's change our attitudes so that the rest may follow. "A person follows the Deen of their companion, so when with someone, always be the better of the two."
I guess when you live in a country where the majority cant even find Iraq on the world map such delusions are common.
Newton's law of fundamental of physic.
Listen to me and listen to me carefully...if the teh Bush Administration wishes to bring the USA to teh Middle East, I AM ALL FOR IT!! But you know what, the USA I am talking about is not the United States of America. I am talknig abotu a different, BETTER kind of USA...the United States of Arabia has a better ring to it, don't ya think?
The attacks in Turkey are disgusting...stop throwing blame around, the fact is that there is a human casualty, and it's due to the fact that the Turkish government is irresponsibly neglecting it's population in making backroom deals with NATO and the conservative US administration. This is unnacceptable and should be exposed for what it truly is. using Turkey as a tool to offset the European Union. That's pathetic...and the Muslims and Jews of Turkey should stand united and in outrage against the government in power....thsi secular, Godless mentality is disgusting and totally unnacceptable...This is not representation, it is a mask, a disguise....if you want to liberate Turkey, take off it's American shackles and let its economy free to exchange with the world
As my previous post reinterates, Americans need to grow up and deal with the hard facts of their failed and disgraceful policies. The rape of Iraq by these megalomaniacs should serve to remind those that have forgotten that such is the way of the descendents of the crusaders.
I wanted to de-toxify Saif but anyhow brother Ahmed has given the similar tone reply already.
In most cases one countries, the US, foreign policy is NOT in the best interest of other countries because they have a capitalist society, ie we see something and we capitalize on it.
Middle easterners need to stop crying out like little brats and do something to fix their situation. They are the most ignorant, backwards, lied to, cheated, and lost group of human beings on the planet...and it's being done by their very own leaders.
If the Arab world, not the Muslim world, the Muslim world if OK, it's the Arab world that's in a pot of hot water...however if the Arab world wants to restore their empires of the past...the need to replace the criminals that run their countries.
Too bad Islam had to come from these flee infested, arrogant over proud tribal losers.
In regards to muslim massacres, please go ask any Armenian you find about what the Ottoman Turks did to them in the early 1900s. What I was trying to point out however, is that the restraint shown by the American's to it's muslim citizens in the aftermath of 9/11 shows firstly there is definetly something good in this country if not from the current government than from the common citizen, who is more open minded than we'd like to believe. Secondly, being from the subcontinent having seen as a real example the tribalism shown by muslims in neighboring countries after the destruction of the Babri mosque and the subsequent retaliation against hindu minorities is fact. Why do I have less compassion for muslims? Because I love Islam, and the bellicosity demonstrated by some muslims acting like the chosen people, having really nothing to show in terms of progress in the last few centuries is really a sad state. It is only valid to critcize oneself and trying to find the answers for our failures, for it is also fact that today we are poor, divided and weak.
I am proud of my western upbringing and education, it helps me have an open mind and feel compassion for everybody, not just because someone calls themself a muslim.
Sometimes truth comes even from the mouth of the enemy, and what the western media says sometimes has a grain of truth in it, What brand of Islam does Osama follow? What ideology did the Sept11th attackers follow? ask yourself and the answer will reveal itself.
There are many Jews and Christians who still live in Muslim countries without any state sanctioned threats, and rightly so. Personally, I would defend any Jew or Christian in my Muslim community to death, for their right to practice their faith. Such rights can not be allienated by the thugs amongst us, but you are utterly wrong to imply that we are collectlively thungs, for by your assupmtion that is what a thug would do.
And yes, we have had our share of "911's" if you look at imperialists history in Muslim lands over the last 200 years. From Algeria to Iran, our history is full of forced domination by the various super-powers of the day. During such times millions of people have lost their properties and lives. No one has errected plaques for their memories. Most of us have prayed to Allah for patience. Facts speak louder. Christian Crusaders and the Zionists have shed more Muslim blood than anyone cares to admit.
Look at the plight of Palestinians. Put yourself in their position first and then judge them for what they do. Do you think if some foreigner killed your father, raped your sister and stole your home that you are going to thank him!!
Americans are starting to demolish Iraqi homes since IDF has given them lectures on how to deal with "terrorists" - I wonder what would you do if you were one of those Iraqis?
When Americans start seeing us as equals and treat us like human beings then we shall see a change.
Come in peace and you will be honoured but if you come with daggers drawn (politics) then accept the consequences. An age old Arab custom.
You gave some good points, mainly at the end, but you also spoke a lot of non-sense. Such as: >>
It seems that you have been brain-washed by Western media in how you view Muslims. Beside some individual Muslims or small group, where else in the Islamic history have you ever seen any Muslim government that has commited massacre against non-Muslims the way the Muslims are slaughtered by non-Muslims today. Plus, in your post you seem to be showing compansion for non-Muslims and never for the Muslims at all. And I like the way you use the following terms that are always repeated by the Western Media to demonise the Muslims: the salafi and wahabi hate mongers.
You come across as one of those who have migrated to the West or Western eduacated and think of themselves highly enlighted and intellectual and now see the Islamic world as barbaric and backwards. The reality is the West has everything do with the conditions of the Muslims around the world. All of the corrupted leaders around the Muslim world have been supported militarily and financially by the West. It has nothing to do with our scholars. Scholars do not run governments.
similarly, the United states's best friend in the middle east "Israel" is administering genocide in the west bank and Gaza with the help of it bloodline American tax dollars.there for since this is fact of life , the united states of america will never winn the hearts and minds of the Iraqi people and the muslims world wide in general.
Anti-americanism is a natural outcome of american militrism abroad. Nominal democracy at home and iron fisted dictatorship abroad is how it is. When nations like Japan, Canada have their own versions of PNAC, armies in over 110 countries, along with invasions against defenseless nations, they'll be similar sentiment against them.
Its simple but a ugly truth most americans cant handle.
Yes you are right but partially because it is not acceptable in Islam of killing innocents but are wrong thinking this settlers in the land of Palestine are innocents? Give me a break. Please go to Palestine and live just for a day you you would learn as did Rachel Currie the American girl killed by Israeli bulldoger while saving their home. Imagine your father was driven out of home because he was a Palestanian muslim, your brother is jail because he want to resist the occupation of your homeland. Your sister has been deprived of medical care and lost her newborn because could not cross the boarder created in their back yard by those army of the terror. They search your home middle of the night to terrorize you, finally your home has been demolished by them simply you are in a neighbourhood in a refugee camp that has a home of a person supports the idea to defend their rights. Could you imagine your helplessness, you know what... possibility you would be one of those brave desperate people that could do anything including sucide because simply living in a hell is may be better so why living. This is not supporting terrorism but simply human degradation of a normal life that has hope and dignity. Think again. Regarding there would be blood of non muslims if it happened 9-11 in Muslim country- I do not buy it also, look they killed about 17,0000 Iraqis, 24,000 Ifghanis, 100,000+ if Bosnia, 90,000 in Kashmir all the Muslim blood, they are pretty cheap anyway and they can get away with that, look those countries no non muslims are getting killed simply for their religion although Muslims are majority there. So it is wrong two wrong does not do one right by friend but it is good you are thinking. This is what we need to think and study more. Iqra the first revealed word is more than necessary today as it was during those times of the early muslims.
That's exactly right. That's what the west doesn't understand. We Muslim's are one for all.
Unless the opressor is 'one of ours', then it's hands off for us (Iraq before the US came, Syria, the list can go on). Or, unless the opression is systemically against females by our males, then we don't really care.
It's not so hard to imagine why the West doesn't think of us in the same way you do.
US foreign policy is in US national interest.
Isreal's foreign policy is in Isreali interest.
Canadan foreign policy is in Canada's interest.
Mexican foreign policy is in Mexico's interest.
Spain's foreign policy is in Span's interest.
UK foreign policy is in the UK's interst.
Arabia's policy, all of it, is in the Saud's family interest.
Egyptian policy, all of it, is in Mubarak's interest.
Somali policy, all of it, is in it's rulers interest.
ALL MUSLIM COUNTRIES, with the exception of the Malay's and a few others, have policies that benifit only the RULING CLASS!!!
The ruling class of these countries are in bed with western interests.
It's that simple.
Muslims need to look at the head of the snake, which lives in their own homelands if they want to change their situation.
There is a historical precedent of a vibrant, rich, harmonious Islam living at peace with Jews and Christians, let's look back and rediscover our rich heritage of discourse, science and the vast works of the great Islamic thinkers. Let us pull ourselves out of this heidious state we're in and start acting like those who submit to AllAH.