Public Opinion Of The U.S. In Pakistan Falls Dramatically
We’ve known for quite some time that the average Pakistani has a negative opinion of the United States, but a new Gallup poll shows that this antipathy has grown to record levels:
WASHINGTON, D.C. — With President Barack Obama’s first term characterized by strained relations between Pakistan and the U.S., more than nine in 10 Pakistanis (92%) disapprove of U.S. leadership and 4% approve, the lowest approval rating Pakistanis have ever given.
Pakistanis’ approval of the leadership of their ostensible ally, the United States, has historically been quite low. However, perceptions began to change, albeit modestly, through much of Obama’s first term. As recently as May 2011, 27% of Pakistanis approved of U.S. leadership, the apex of support. Noticeably, approval declined after the May 2011 killing of Osama bin Laden, carried out by the U.S. military without the assistance of the Pakistani military — an event that many Pakistanis viewed as a blatant disregard for Pakistani sovereignty.
These findings are based on a survey conducted from Sept. 30-Oct. 16, 2012, in Pakistan. The survey directly followed massive demonstrations against the release of an anti-Muslim film made in the U.S.
It’s arguably the case that the time at which the survey was taken coincided with a time when anti-Western ire had been stirred up, and that therefore these numbers may be a bit inflated, however I doubt that they would be all that different if the survey were taken today. It’s not just the film, after all, that influences what Pakistanis are thinking. They’ve got ten years or war, drone strikes, and decades of American support for repressive regimes. We’re leaving Afghanistan in 2014, but one wonders what we’re leaving behind in Pakistan.