Friday, June 30, 2006

Russia, U.S. Hold Different Views on Iran, UN, China — Poll

Created: 29.06.2006 12:40 MSK (GMT +3), Updated: 12:40 MSK

"muclear iran"--In order to gain a better understanding of how Americans are viewed around the world, WorldPublicOpinion.org recently released the findings of its own poll based on over 2,000 interviews with Russian and American citizens in April 2006. The poll focused on dividing Russian and American sentiments on political and economic issues pertaining both to one another and to other international actors, specifically China and Iran, Falls Church News Press reports.

One of the central objectives of the poll was to measure tensions between the United States and Russia. WorldPublicOpinion.org asked five main questions to gauge this: Do you think (name of country) has a mainly positive or mainly negative influence in the world? How favorably do you view their a) system of government, b) economic system, c) use of military power and the threat of force, and d) head-of-state?

Predictably, both Russia and the United States view their own acts and institutions favorably, with two notable exceptions: 60% of Russians view their economic system unfavorably (compared with 31% favorably), while 51% of Americans view George W. Bush unfavorably (compared with 45% favorably, which is considerably higher than recent polls suggest).

Russians also seem fairly divided on their own system of government, with 47% giving favorable ratings compared to 43% voting unfavorably.

Impressions, the one of the other, however, tend to differ. The poll shows that the United States has negative views across the board on Russian government, economy, policy, and leadership. Americans did, however, believe that Russian foreign policy has had a positive effect on the United States and its interests.

Russia, meanwhile, views American government and economy very positively, while registering unfavorable ratings on all other fronts. Most spectacularly, 74% of Russians believe America uses military power and the threat of force negatively, compared with only 13% who gave the U.S. positive ratings.

From these questions, the polls show clearly that citizens of both countries favor American government and economic systems, but are down on George W. Bush.

This data suggests several conclusions about alliances between these countries moving forward. The numbers indicate Russia’s preference for China as a partner in world affairs.

The study also gauged perceptions on nuclear proliferation, in general, and Iran’s nuclear ambitions, specifically. Both Americans and Russians believe that the United Nations should take an active role in discouraging countries from acquiring nuclear weapons, and that Iran is currently attempting to develop them. Americans, perhaps because they recognize that the United States is viewed unfavorably by much of the world, seem to be more alarmed at the prospect of this new proliferation, with 64% saying they would be very concerned, compared with only 29% of Russian citizens.

More importantly, however, is the methodological divide between Americans and Russians in regards to how to deter these nuclear ambitions. While 24% of Americans regard bombing Iran’s nuclear facilities as an option, only 7% of Russians agree with this course. And though over 70% of both countries would prefer continuing diplomatic efforts over military strikes, 68% of Americans believe the United Nations should vote to impose economic sanctions against Iran if it persists, compared with only 23% of Russians.

Both countries are largely divided on Russian President Putin’s effort to negotiate a deal with Iran to exchange nuclear fuel for assurances that Iran will not pursue nuclear weapons. It is marginally favored by Russians and marginally rejected by Americans.

In analyzing the data, the organization was able to make many wide-ranging, if general, assertions. While Russia and the United States are in unison on some important issues, they differ greatly on others. While they both had negative views of Iran’s nuclear program, they disagreed on the use and effectiveness of economic and military sanctions. While they agreed on the role of the United Nations in discouraging nuclear proliferation, they held very different views towards China, as well as each other’s role in the world.

The poll also indicates that while Americans are ambivalent about their government’s use of military force, the role of Russia and China in international affairs, and their own President, they are consistently very positive about their own democracy and role in the world. This runs at odds with Russian sentiment, which questions America’s global policy in praxis.
Source:moscow news
posted by ali ghannadi

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