Most countries oppose U.S. Gulf presence

Dec. 16, 2008 at 3:47 PM
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WASHINGTON, Dec. 16 (UPI) -- A worldwide survey of 21 nations indicates widespread opposition to the U.S. policy of stationing naval forces in the Persian Gulf, pollsters say.

In the poll, which surveyed 21,740 respondents between July 15 and Oct. 24 from 21 nations ranging from the United States to China to Pakistan, the U.S. approach to the Middle East got poor grades around the world, WorldPublicOpinion.org, a Washington polling group, said Tuesday.

When asked whether the U.S. having naval forces based in the Persian Gulf is a good idea or a bad idea, majorities in 14 of 20 nations said it is a bad idea, three said it is a good idea, and three were evenly divided.

WorldPublicOpinion.org said majorities that opposed U.S. naval forces in the Gulf were highest in the Middle East, led by Egypt (91 percent opposed); however, the same view was also fairly strongly outside the region, such as in Mexico (74 percent) and Russia (63 percent).

Even in Europe, views on the question leaned negative, with U.S. policy opposed by a majority in Germany (52 percent) and a plurality in Italy (43 percent). The group said the poll carried a margin of error of 4 percentage points.

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