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Here are some news stories and articles which might be of interest to you. I've posted the opening section, and if you want to read more, you can click on "Read the whole article" to go to the original item. You'll find a variety of things here -- current news, political analysis, opinion pieces, articles about religion -- things I've happened to read and want to share with you. It's your Reading Room, so take your time. Browse. You're certain to find something you'll want to read.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Anti-Americanism: Alive and Well in the Age of Obama

Islamic countries distrust the United States under the leadership of President Obama about as much as they did under President George W. Bush. What's going on?

by Joseph Loconte

Throughout the Bush presidency, opinion polling from the Pew Research Center trumpeted America’s “abysmal” approval ratings across the globe. The problem, pollsters suggested with numbing regularity, was that a “cowboy president” had inflamed the Muslim world—and America’s European allies—with his “unilateral” war on terrorism. The remedy, of course, was a new administration with a fresh approach: a president committed to multilateralism, smart diplomacy, and American soft power. Right on cue, a Pew report hailed Barack Obama’s election for inspiring “global confidence” in U.S. leadership and rescuing America’s reputation from eternal perdition.

This hagiographic storyline, however, is evaporating like a morning mist. A newer Pew survey suggests that most Islamic countries distrust the United States under the leadership of President Obama about as much as they did under President George W. Bush. Yes, majorities of the Muslim populations interviewed still believe that America plays a mostly destructive role in the world. Most view the United States as “an enemy” and “a military threat” to their own country. Most disapprove of the American-led effort to combat terrorism. Large numbers, in fact, voice strong support for terrorism and Osama bin Laden. Western Europeans, though expressing positive personal views of Obama, show little enthusiasm for key U.S. foreign policy objectives. In other words, anti-Americanism is alive and well in the age of Obama.

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Fr. Phillips is the founding pastor of Our Lady of the Atonement Catholic Church, the first Anglican Use parish, established on August 15, 1983. Not that there is any confusion, but he is on the left, shown in his younger, less gray-headed days.