“We never see the smoke and the fire, we never smell the blood, we never see the terror in the eyes of the children whose nightmares will now feature screaming missiles from unseen terrorists… known only as Americans.” — Martin Kelly

‘Listen more’ is world’s message to US: A new BBC international opinion poll reveals widespread disquiet about the United States’ role in Iraq and its other foreign policy priorities.

What is striking in this survey is how negatively the US is seen across a range of diverse countries. Indeed the same policies are, in many cases, even unpopular in the US itself.

This, then, raises an obvious question. Is it simply the Bush administration’s foreign policy or the whole image of America that is unpopular?

Comparable surveys suggest that there is still strong support around the world for the values enshrined in US society. But it looks as though America itself is seen to be living up to those values less and less.

As a result, America’s soft power – its ability to influence people in other countries by the force of example and by the perceived legitimacy of its policies – is weakening.

And in a turbulent, globalising world, where the US – rightly or wrongly – is associated by many with the disruptive effects of globalisation, soft power matters more than ever. It is a resource that once squandered is very difficult to build-up again.

Scores killed in Iraq bloodshed

Bush by the Numbers

A Fool’s Errand in Baghdad

Number Of Iraqi Civilians Slaughtered In America’s War On Iraq: ≥ 655,000

Uruknet: Information from Occupied Iraq