Shifting Tides?

Poll results in Indonesia show that US sponsored tsunami relief may be having an effect on public opinion.

In the first substantial shift of public opinion in the Muslim world since the beginning of the United States’ global war on terrorism, more people in the world’s largest Muslim country now favor American efforts against terrorism than oppose them.


  • For the first time ever in a major Muslim nation, more people favor US-led efforts to fight terrorism than oppose them (40% to 36%).  Importantly, those who oppose US efforts against terrorism have declined by half, from 72% in 2003 to just 36% today.
  • For the first time ever in a Muslim nation since 9/ 11, support for Osama Bin Laden has dropped significantly (58% favorable to just 23%).
  • 65% of Indonesians now are more favorable to the United States because of the American response to the tsunami, with the highest percentage among people under 30.
  • Indeed, 71% of the people who express confidence in Bin Laden are now more favorable to the United States because of American aid to tsunami victims.
  • hat tip – Bill Strong

    FILED UNDER: Terrorism, World Politics,
    Kate McMillan
    About Kate McMillan
    Kate McMillan is the proprietor of small dead animals, which has won numerous awards including Best Conservative Blog and Best Canadian Blog. She contributed nearly 300 pieces to OTB between November 2004 and June 2007. Follow her on Twitter @katewerk.


    1. Left of Liberal says:

      Fantastic news! And as far as I am concerned, this proves my theory that humanitarian aid is more effective and money better spent than warfare.

    2. zz says:

      Humanitarian aid has limits. It’s useful for dealing with immediate suffering. It can’t address the issues of tyranical regimes that you see in countries like NoKo and Iraq under Saddam. For example the US has donated plenty of food to NoKo but because of various issues like diversion of food to the military and control of the distribution of the food that reaches civilians and total control of information and media in the country, humanitarian aid has done little good. Likewise, humanitarian aid did little for Afghanistan under the Taliban. Indonesia is different because it is more or less democratic and the media is far freer.

      Also I’ll give you a counterpoint: military aid to the Kurds brought us higher approval from them than humanitarian aid to the Indonesians.

    3. Red says:

      Minds are changed in many ways, there is no such thing as only one way to do things. Different situations call for different measures.

      This is tremendous news and just rides the wave of the efforts that the Bush Administration has done in the recent past. The benefits of this are endless. Also, the fact that Iraqi’s were given the right to vote is just as significant.

      Giving people rights and a chance to live are always appreciated no matter what Country one is from.