United? Not With Other Nations We’re Not


What is it about global cooperative bodies that Americans are so averse to? The World Cup? Not so into it. The United Nations, Kyoto, the Convention on Biological Diversity, the list goes on. America is not exactly a team player.

A new Gallup poll shows that the American public continues to look down on the supreme international body, with Americans giving the U.N. its lowest approval ratings ever.

Back in 2003 the U.N.’s public image took a southward turn after Bush’s go-it-alone strategy took its course. But that was when we thought there were WMDs, etc. and there was actually support for this war. Now, at a time when opposition to the war is at its peak, and Bush’s approval rating is at its nadir (32%), the U.N. still can’t catch a break.

Gallup’s latest measure of the United Nations’ job performance is the lowest Gallup has seen since it began asking Americans as much in 1953: Only 29% of Americans believe the U.N. is doing a good job of trying to solve the problems it has face while 66% say it’s doing a poor job. That puts the U.N. in the same boat as Bush as far as American’s confidence and job approval rating.

The ill feelings could be due to corruption charges against U.N. officials; particularly those involving former Secretary General Kofi Annan’s son. But that was nearly two years ago, there’s clearly more to it. And if we don’t have faith in our president or in the United Nations, who then do we trust? Maybe no one, or maybe we just don’t care enough about the issues to value the body tasked with dealing with global challenges.

Worth noting: today’s record negative perception of the United Nations follows a period from May 2000 to January 2003 when the organization received some of its most positive ratings from the American people — routinely exceeding 50%.

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