Chinese dictatorship enjoys better image than U.S.

Published 7:14 am Monday, June 27, 2005

By Staff
Two years after the United States invaded Iraq, the communist dictatorship that rules China enjoys a more favorable image in many countries, according to an international poll released June 23.
People in 11 of 16 countries surveyed by the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press rate China higher than the United States, despite the Bush administration promoting democracy throughout the globe and the dispatch of hundreds of millions of dollars in relief aid to Indian Ocean nations staggered by the devastating Dec. 26 tsunami.
The 11 are Britain, France, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands, Russia, Turkey, Pakistan, Lebanon, Jordan and Indonesia, the world's most populous Muslim country.
Tsunami aid influenced Indonesians' positive opinions about the United States to improve to 38 percent, from a low of 15 percent two years ago.
People in Poland and India are more upbeat about America. Canadians rate the two about even.
Countries rating the United States lower also are more likely to question the war in Iraq and U.S. efforts on terrorism.
The overseas image of this nation slipped sharply after the 2003 Iraq invasion, Pew polling found, and it has not rebounded in Western Europe's Britain, France, Germany and Spain.
Polls were taken from late April to the end of May with samples of about 1,000 people in most of the countries.
What does President Bush say? At a joint news conference June 20 with European leaders that international relations strained by the war in Iraq are returning to normal.
He remains determined to complete the mission of establishing democracy in Iraq.
Americans are viewed as too religious by majorities in France and the Netherlands and pluralities in Britain and Germany.
By contrast, 58 percent of Americans say the country is not religious enough.
Attitudes toward the United States in former Soviet bloc nations are more positive than in Western Europe. In Russia, people expressing favorable views rose from 36 percent in 2002 to 52 percent in 2005.
The Iraq war draws broad international opposition, with little optimism that elections will foster stability.
Support for the U.S. war on terrorism has eroded in Europe since 2003. Even Canadian opinion is evenly divided.
U.S. hostility has intensified in Turkey, where the unfavorable view increased from 32 percent a year ago to 46 percent.
The top U.S. commander in the Persian Gulf told Congress June 23 that the Iraqi insurgency is undiminished and that foreign fighters continue to swell its ranks.
Gen. John Abizaid, who heads U.S. Central Command, agreed with his superior that the operation in Iraq will succeed, but he distanced himself from Vice President Dick Cheney's May statement that the insurgency was "in its last throes."
Asked by U.S. Sen. Carl Levin, D-Mich., whether he agreed with Cheney's assessment, Abizaid declined to answer directly. He said the insurgency is essentially unchanged from six months ago. "There's a lot of work to be done," he said. "I'm sure you'll forgive me from criticizing the vice president."
Levin, ranking Democrat on the Senate Armed Services Committee, called the Bush administration's strategy in Iraq unacceptable.
In the hearing's most dramatic moment, Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., accused Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld of incompetence and asked for his resignation.
He twice offered his resignation to President Bush, who asked him to stay.
Cheney, in a June 23 interview on CNN, stuck by his comments. Throes "can still be a violent period. The point would be that the conflict will be intense, but it's intense because the terrorists understand if we're successful at accomplishing our objective, standing up a democracy in Iraq, that's a huge defeat for them."
Howard Stern signs off E! July 8. It's the cable channel's highest-rated program.
Original desperate housewives reunite: A "Knots Landing" retrospective airs on CBS this fall. Instead of the women of Wisteria Lane, the ladies of Seaview Circle who lusted after their neighbors for 14 seasons got back together June 21 - Michele Lee, Donna Mills and Joan Van Ark. The San Fernando Valley cul-de-sac prime time soap shot from 1979-93. Nicollette Sheridan appeared on both shows.
Go figure: Like five J.K. Rowling titles before it, "Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince" won't be available in electronic form in July.
Young people are more open to new technology, but digital format e-books tend to be adult bestsellers such as Dan Brown's "The Da Vinci Code" and David McCullough's "1776" - not titles by Rowling, Lemony Snicket or R.L. Stine.
Eleanor Mondale, 45, daughter of former vice president Walter Mondale, has been diagnosed with brain cancer. Her vision bothered her in recent months, but didn't believe anything was seriously wrong until suffering two seizures May 16 on a camping trip. Doctors determined she has two tumors, both in her frontal lobe. She will undergo seven weeks of oral chemotherapy and radiation at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn. The week before she married local rock star Chan Poling. "It's bad, but not that bad," she said from her farmhouse in Prior Lake. "I've got a really good chance to beat it."
A treasure trove of John Lennon memorabilia, including an oil painting from his student days, a handwritten "All You Need is Love" manuscript, a table from the home he shared with first wife Cynthia, a bedspread from the first "bed-in" for peace with Yoko Ono in Montreal and a tunic thought to have inspired the colorful costumes on the "Sgt Pepper's Lonely Hearts Club Band" cover will be sold July 28 by Cooper Owen auction house. It expects to raise $2 million at The Hippodrome nightclub in central London.
Kalamazoo crime spree: Someone is swiping parking meters - poles and all - from the city's downtown. Fifty-seven of Kalamazoo's approximately 1,000 meters were removed in 10 days. Thefts began June 10. None of the meters hold more than about $10 in change. Several stolen meters, some damaged beyond repair, have been recovered alongside roads and in local parks.
Sources: AP, USA Today, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Detroit Free Press.