A worldwide poll asking people who they think the biggest threat to world peace is out, and the answer might be surprising to those who think the world bows down to U.S. supremacy. The World Independent Network and Gallup International conducted the poll at the end of 2013, and had more than 66,000 participants across 65 countries. It found that, worldwide, people think that the U.S. is by far the biggest threat to world peace today.
We got 24% of that vote. Pakistan and China followed (distantly) with 8% and 6% of that vote, respectively. Iran, Israel, North Korea, and Afghanistan all tied at 5%. Syria got 3% and Russia got 2%.
When it comes to bringing about world peace, we tend to try doing it with war.
Why do people feel this way, especially when the U.S. also had the highest number of people who’d move here if they could? Perhaps it’s because we continue to try and be the world’s police We try to achieve world peace through war, and people look at us and see a country that will do anything to start a war. They saw us lie about Iraq having strong ties to Al Qaeda and a major hand in Sept. 11. Then they watched us lie about having concrete intelligence that Iraq had weapons of mass destruction. They watched us use these two lies as a pretext for invading a sovereign nation. We started something there we couldn’t finish, and Iraq is no better off now than they were when Saddam Hussein was first overthrown.
One author, Andrew Alexander, believes we have a certain ignorance about the world and how it works. The Cold War didn’t need to happen, he says. The war on terror is the same policy with a new name, and doesn’t need to happen this way either. At the end of WWII, it was the threat of communism sweeping across the world in a “red tide,” unless we did something to stop it. Today, it’s the threat of terrorism sweeping the world, unless we stop it.
According to Alexander, there’s evidence from that time that the Soviet Union wanted to establish a good working relationship with the West. Truman, however, decided to set the stage for the U.S.’s role as the world’s police, and destroyed hopes of world peace breaking out.
Americans are tired of America’s role as the world’s police.
There’s a problem, though. Americans are tired of playing the world’s police. It’s not that people want the U.S. to become an isolationist nation. Rather, we’re just sick and tired of looking at every “bad” government in the world and watching our leaders say, “WE are the ones who have to stop this,” when nobody asked for us to do that in most cases. More than 60% of Americans polled in Sept. 2013 said that they would prefer we stop sticking our noses in where they don’t belong.
Americans also, overwhelmingly, don’t believe we should remove dictators where we can. Yet, we insist that we need to “spread the light of democracy” around the world, and oust the leaders of other sovereign countries. Other countries see that and probably wonder if, or when, it’ll be their turn. When will we use war against them to try and instigate “world peace?”
The world still sees us mostly favorably, even though we’re a big threat to world peace.
There is some interesting information that counters this, though. Many countries have a more favorable opinion of us overall now than they did when George W. Bush was our president. Much of Europe sees us favorably, along with much of Asia, including primarily Muslim countries like Indonesia. Pacific countries like Australia also have a favorable view of us.
Americans want it, and the world wants it. It’s time for us to stop being the world’s police. We need to stop using war as a path to world peace, because that’s clearly not working. The rest of the world sees that, now we need to see it too.