Newspaper article The Christian Science Monitor
Assessing US popularity abroad
In response to your Dec. 6 article "US unpopular among key allies": As an American professional who works internationally on issues of sustainable development with many experienced scientists and technical experts employed by federal agencies, I see frustration rise as expertise is ignored and overridden by political policy.
Unjust and ill-conceived US policies and programs exact an enormous cost, globally and locally. Their harmful human and environmental impacts damage the credibility of American expertise, and endanger ordinary Americans.
In my travels, I encounter a common rise in frustration and resentment toward the US government for its aggressive pursuit of overtly selfish, unjust, and globally harmful policies and actions. Resentment is not confined to intellectual, scientific, technocratic, or development professionals; it crosses ethnic, cultural, economic, and even political lines. For our own benefit, and for the rest of humanity, it is time to challenge the narcissistic reflection we see in a distorted media mirror.
Homeland security should mean more than militarizing police and creating a surveillance society that threatens the personal dignity and civil rights of every American. Security for our homes demands a greater investment in social and economic justice. Security for our land requires greater environmental protection and regulation of industry, as toxic wastes threaten each and every one of us far more than foreign terrorists. Callous speculative commerce, such as Enron and its political supporters, might be viewed as domestic terrorists who threaten the very fabric of our social, economic, and environmental security. John A. J. Brownson Iowa City, Iowa
Regarding "US unpopular among key allies": You report on the US's decreasing favorability rating in Muslim countries. Yes, this is true as evidenced from the polls, but your article fails to emphasize important elements that cause these skewed opinions - namely, that these are the countries which have neither democracy nor freedom of the press. …