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To See Ourselves as Others See Us

How Publics Abroad View the United States after 9/11

Ole R. Holsti

Publication Year: 2008

Holsti, the authority on American foreign policy attitudes, investigates others' views of us. It's not pretty. It matters. Read this. ---Bruce Russett, Dean Acheson Professor of International Relations, Yale University, and editor of the Journal of Conflict Resolution "Clearly and engagingly written, Holsti's book ranks among the most important---and most objective---of the post-9/11 scholarly studies. It deserves a large readership, both within and beyond academe." ---Ralph Levering, Vail Professor of History, Davidson College In terms of military and economic power, the United States remains one of the strongest nations in the world. Yet the United States seems to have lost the power of persuasion, the ability to make allies and win international support. Why? Immediately after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, leaders and citizens of foreign nations generally expressed sympathy for the United States. Since then, attitudes have changed. Drawing upon public opinion surveys conducted in 30 nations, Ole R. Holsti documents an increasing anti-American sentiment. His analysis suggests that the war in Iraq, human rights violations, and unpopular international policies are largely responsible. Consequently, the United States can rebuild its repute by adopting an unselfish, farsighted approach to global issues. Indeed, the United States must restore goodwill abroad, Holsti asserts, because public opinion indirectly influences the leaders who decide whether or not to side with the Americans. Ole R. Holsti is George V. Allen Professor Emeritus of International Affairs in the Department of Political Science at Duke University and author of Public Opinion and American Foreign Policy.

Published by: University of Michigan Press


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Title page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. vii-viii

List of Tables

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pp. ix-x

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pp. xi-xiv

The ruins of the World Trade Center towers and the Pentagon were still smoldering from the September 11 terrorist attacks when many stunned Americans joined President Bush in wondering, as he did in his speech to Congress nine days later, "Why do they hate us...

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Chapter 1. Introduction

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pp. 1-16

The opening sentence of Charles Dickens's classic novel of the French Revolution, A Tale of Two Cities, could serve as an apt description of contemporary American foreign policy. In fact, each of these familiar quotations frames some central themes in this book,...

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Chapter 2. How Publics Abroad View the United States and Its Foreign Policies

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pp. 17-63

Following the September 11 terrorist attacks on New York and Washington, President Bush appointed a committee of distinguished experts headed by former ambassador Edward Djerejian...

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Chapter 3. How Publics Abroad View Americans and American Society

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pp. 64-87

The evidence presented and analyzed in chapter 2 reveals that publics abroad have indeed become increasingly critical of the United States and some of its major foreign policy undertakings during the years since the September 11 terrorist attacks. For...

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Chapter 4. The Impact of "How They See Us" Seven MiniCase Studies

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pp. 88-171

Because neither democracies nor authoritarian countries conduct foreign policy by plebiscite, the impact of public opinion - much less opinions about a single country, even one as important as the United States - cannot be assumed. The survey data described...

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Chapter 5. Explanations for Anti-American Opinions

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pp. 172-191

Almost as soon as Europeans began colonizing the vast area that ultimately became the United States, some foreign visitors who came to these shores shared their observations and evaluations of the American peoples, customs, values, and institutions. Unlike those...

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Chapter 6. The Impact of American Policies

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pp. 192-220

The previously cited Djerejian committee report that pointed to American policy as the primary determinant of how the United States is viewed abroad was based largely on evidence from Arab and Muslim countries of the Middle East and South Asia. The data presented...


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pp. 221-228


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pp. 229-234

E-ISBN-13: 9780472022298
E-ISBN-10: 0472022296
Print-ISBN-13: 9780472050369
Print-ISBN-10: 0472050362

Page Count: 248
Illustrations: 39 tables
Publication Year: 2008

OCLC Number: 614572839
MUSE Marc Record: Download for To See Ourselves as Others See Us

Research Areas


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Subject Headings

  • United States -- Foreign public opinion.
  • United States -- Social conditions -- 21st century -- Public opinion.
  • United States -- Foreign public opinion -- Case studies.
  • Anti-Americanism.
  • United States -- Relations.
  • United States -- Foreign relations -- 2001-2009 -- Public opinion.
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