Pew Global Attitudes Survey: U.S. Image in Pakistan

A new Pew Global Attitudes Project poll was released on June 21, 2011 detailing the U.S. image in Pakistan.  The survey data is available at the link here.

Many of these findings echo NSF research completed in March-April of 2011.  The Spring 2011 NSFR report titled “The U.S.-Pakistan Relationship: Towards a Complementary Strategy” analyzed many of these trends and suggested a complementary strategy for achieving U.S. objectives in Pakistan.

To improve the relationship, the report suggested a number of initiative (details found on page 14):

  • Restructuring American aid to Pakistan by emphasizing targeted project investments that are highly visible to the Pakistani public. Several common sense ideas include power plants and natural gas facilities.
  • Establishing anti-corruption controls to facilitate future American aid and support.
  • Emphasizing U.S. communications and branding. America must rebrand its image, sense of purpose, and policy actions in the eyes of Pakistan’s public.
  • Encouraging cultural diplomacy that leverages civilian cross-cultural exchanges and study abroad opportunities.
  • Increasing medical collaboration in projects that provide visible assistance to the Pakistani people.
  • Setting a new diplomatic tone to make it more likely that the two countries listen to one another.

The new Pew Global Attitudes survey on Pakistan reinforces a number of the trends identified in the NSF report.  There are ten notable results from the Pew Global Attitudes survey data:

1.  The Pakistan military remains the most respected and influential group in the country.  The media is a close second.

2.  Pakistanis support U.S. financial and humanitarian aid, and intelligence and logistical support, but strongly disapprove of U.S. military action.  In addition, despite billions of dollars in U.S. aid given to Pakistan, over a quarter of the population either does not know or says the U.S. provides no aid to Pakistan.

      

3. Pakistani opinion of the U.S. did not deteriorate further after the death of Osama bin Laden.  However, the negative trend for the past decade has continued.

4.  The U.S. is viewed as favoring India over Pakistan.

5.  Kashmir remains a critical foreign policy issue for India and Pakistan.

6.  69% of Pakistanis favor removing U.S. and NATO troops from Afghanistan, and 62% oppose U.S. anti-terrorism efforts. There is also declining support for the U.S. military in fighting extremists.  Concurrently, there is waning support for the use of Pakistani troops to fight extremism.

       

7.  There is opposition to the death of Osama bin Laden, although only 21% of Pakistanis expressed confidence in him.  The opposition primarily stems from the U.S. SEAL operation.

      

8.  The major problems facing Pakistan include the economy, water, and security, unemployment, and education.

       

9.  Drone strikes remain a major source of anti-American sentiment.

      

10.  There is a widening gap in the approval of Pakistan’s relationship with India.

These trends suggest a tough road ahead for U.S.-Pakistan and Pakistan-India relations.  However, the negative trend need not continue.  By implementing a complementary strategy, one that considers the strategic objectives of both countries, these relationships could be improved and U.S. objectives in the region could be achieved.

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