Global poll ranks countries ‘using their influence for bad’, and the US sits close to the top

Support us and go ad-free

In a poll of people from 24 countries, the US has ranked near Saudi Arabia, Israel, Russia, and Iran in terms of using its global influence for bad purposes.

The poll

The Ipsos Mori study for King’s College London surveyed 17,000 people online in 24 countries.

People saw Iran as the most likely to use its influence for bad, at 31%. Russia and Saudi Arabia followed close behind on 25% each, while Israel received 24% and the US got 22%.

The poll mostly surveyed people from nations either in the West or allied with Western interests. These included: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Chile, France, Germany, Great Britain, Hungary, Italy, India, Japan, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, Poland, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Spain, Sweden, Turkey, and the US.

So while the presence of perceived Western foes like Iran and Russia was fairly unsurprising, the presence of the US – and key Western allies like Saudi Arabia and Israel – was perhaps less expected.

The ferocious five

Both Russia and Iran have mostly been in the news in recent years for their role in backing the Assad government amid Syria’s brutal conflict. Iran’s place at the top of the list, meanwhile, comes amid full-blown efforts by the US to put increasing pressure on the country via crippling sanctions and military threats.

Because several Western governments perceive Iran and Russia to be enemies, they’ve featured frequently in the mainstream media. But the actions of the other three countries topping the Ipsos Mori poll are just as worthy (if not more so) of media coverage.

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

In recent years, for example, the Saudi dictatorship has created the world’s worst humanitarian crisis in Yemen. And its links to terrorism, particularly in Syria, also deserve a prominent mention.

Israel, meanwhile, continues with its politics of apartheidoccupationmass murder of civilians, and alleged war crimes and ethnic cleansing.

Regarding the US, academic Noam Chomsky has previously pointed out that the superpower regularly tops international polls as the “gravest threat to world peace… by a huge margin”. And the evidence backs that up – because the US has meddled abroad (disastrously) for many, many decades.

Interacting with other countries

The poll also found that 53% of people believed their countries’ armies should always put avoiding civilian casualties ahead of their national interest. Meanwhile, 36% thought their countries should only trade with nations with good human rights records; though a similar proportion (33%) deemed that their countries should trade with any country if it helps their economy, regardless of that country’s human rights record.

So there may be some disagreement on what people think their countries’ foreign policies should be. But one thing is clear: many people – even in Western countries – see the US and its allies to be just as bad an influence on the world as their enemies. And if we’re going to build a better, more peaceful world, that kind of awareness is an important place to start.

Featured image and additional reporting via Press Association

Support us and go ad-free

We need your help to keep speaking the truth

Every story that you have come to us with; each injustice you have asked us to investigate; every campaign we have fought; each of your unheard voices we amplified; we do this for you. We are making a difference on your behalf.

Our fight is your fight. You’ve supported our collective struggle every time you gave us a like; and every time you shared our work across social media. Now we need you to support us with a monthly donation.

We have published nearly 2,000 articles and over 50 films in 2021. And we want to do this and more in 2022 but we don’t have enough money to go on at this pace. So, if you value our work and want us to continue then please join us and be part of The Canary family.

In return, you get:

* Advert free reading experience
* Quarterly group video call with the Editor-in-Chief
* Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
* 20% discount in our shop

Almost all of our spending goes to the people who make The Canary’s content. So your contribution directly supports our writers and enables us to continue to do what we do: speaking truth, powered by you. We have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence our vital opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right-wing mainstream media.

With your help we can continue:

* Holding political and state power to account
* Advocating for the people the system marginalises
* Being a media outlet that upholds the highest standards
* Campaigning on the issues others won’t
* Putting your lives central to everything we do

We are a drop of truth in an ocean of deceit. But we can’t do this without your support. So please, can you help us continue the fight?

The Canary Support us