Survey reports widespread opposition to US drone policy
WASHINGTON: The Obama Administration's unilateral actions on foreign soils as part of its counterterrorism policy, particularly the use of drone attacks, are widely opposed by people around the world, the Pew Research Center said.
The Center, in the latest survey of international opinion about the United States' image and its policies, found that more than 50 percent of population in 17 out of the 21 countries surveyed, opposed attacks.
Washington uses unmanned drones to target suspected militants in Pakistani tribal areas and other countries, including Yemen and Somalia.
"There remains a widespread perception that the US acts unilaterally and does not consider the interests of other countries," Pew's Global Attitudes Project found.
Citing public opinion, the Pew Center said in predominantly Muslim nations, American anti-terrorism efforts are still widely unpopular.
"And in nearly all countries, there is considerable opposition to a major component of the Obama administration's anti-terrorism policy: drone strikes. In 17 of 20 countries, more than half disapprove of US drone attacks targeting extremist leaders and groups in nations such as Pakistan, Yemen and Somalia."
According to the survey, Americans are the clear outliers on this issue - 62% approve of the drone campaign, including most Republicans (74%), independents (60%) and Democrats (58%).
The US administration has not reacted immediately to findings of the survey.
The Pew findings come as President Obama gears up for his re-election campaign, four years after his rise to the top in American politics.
Obama's security advisors have been publicly defending drone strikes lately, saying they are an important part of the overall strategy to get rid of al-Qaeda linked terrorists.
However, several American and European experts have started questioning the values of frequent strikes, with many of them saying these strikes, which also kill civilians, do more harm than good.
Islamabad has been strongly voicing its opposition to drone strikes on its tribal areas, calling them a violation of international laws and the country's sovereignty.
The US reliance on force and unilateral actions, including drone strikes, has also angered the Pakistani public.
"Roughly a year after he ordered the Abbottabad raid that killed Osama bin Laden, just 7% of Pakistanis have a positive view of Obama, the same percentage that voiced confidence in President George W. Bush during the final year of his administration," the survey found.
Outside of Pakistan, however, Obama consistently receives higher ratings than Bush did in 2008. This is particularly true in Western Europe and Japan, but it is also true in several predominantly Muslim nations where Obama's ratings, while not especially high, are nonetheless more positive than his predecessor's.
The 21-nation survey was conducted by the Pew Research Center's Global Attitudes Project from March 17-April 20.
The poll also finds that, despite disappointment with Obama's policies, there is still considerable support for his re-election in many countries, especially in Europe. (APP)
Source: Survey reports widespread opposition to US drone policy - geo.tv