According to a recent poll conducted by WorldPublicOpinion.org, 41% of Jordanians believe that the US “opposes democracy in Muslim nations”, making it the highest of 21 nations polled. Moreover, 40% of Jordanians believe that the US does favor democracy in Muslim nations, as long as they are cooperative with the US. Only 6% believe that the US favors democracy in these countries without any preconditions. The survey was conducted a few weeks ago with the central theme being US military presence in the region, with 21,740 respondents in 21 nations around the world.
Interestingly enough, the poll also revealed that while 40% of Jordanians and 80% of Egyptians believe the US has no goals to create a viable Palestinian state, 59% of Palestinian respondents believe that it is. I wonder what accounts for the cynicism outside the occupied territories? In the report it seems “explained” by the fact that Palestinians live the realities on-the-ground instead of seeing it from the outside-in. In my opinion, such an explanation would make more sense had the numbers been reversed and the majority of those living such a reality had a more cynical (or realistic) outlook on America’s intentions for them.
The most controversial questions where on US military presence in the Gulf, where 76% of Jordanians find themselves in opposition to such presence, as do 91% of Egyptians, 90% of Palestinians and 77% of Turks.
I find these last numbers regarding military presence pretty interesting. While the overwhelming majority of Jordanians disapprove of such military bases in the Gulf, I am forced to wonder how they went about responding to such a question in light of the general social perception in Jordan that, although not as apparent as Gulf nations, the Kingdom does host US military presence in some shape or form. Whether this perception is true or not is less of the point as the perception is. And perceptions, be they true or false, have a way of making things real. Without a doubt, if you speak to most Jordanians you will find the reluctant admission that there is such presence in their country, and it is not much-appreciated by the locals.
As for democracy, such numbers don’t come a surprise to me. Jordanian is like the traumatized youngest kid in the family, witness to the on-going domestic abuse of its mother and siblings by the new step-father. The cynical or pessimistic outlook on the region is pretty much a national past-time.
ht: Jordan Times