How the East Views the West: An Examination of Trends in Attitudes of Arab Citizens from 2006-2014
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There has been a heightened interest in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region, but little attention to how citizens of different Arabic speaking countries view U.S. regional foreign policy. Today, the United States is the most critical and dominant international player in the Arab world. Understanding the region and its people can help avoid the policy failures of the historical and recent past. This study seeks to better understand and explain the attitudes of MENA country citizens on U.S. relations. This study incorporates a quantitative methodological approach and social theory to inform an interpretative framework grounded in post-colonial theory. A secondary data analysis was conducted using data from three waves (2006-2008; 2010-2011;and 2012-2014) of the Arab Barometer. There were approximately 1,000 participants per country per interview wave (N=34,928). The 14 countries included in the survey were: Jordan, Palestine,Lebanon, Algeria, Yemen, Egypt, Iraq, Morocco, Sudan and Tunisia, Bahrain, Saudi Arabia,Kuwait and Libya. The dependent variables were responses from three statements addressing U.S. relations focused on U.S. foreign policy, American people and American/ Western culture. The independent variables were country of origin and time controlling for age, sex, religion,educational level and the issue of Palestinian statehood. Mixed effects ordinal logistic regressions were conducted. Results of this study suggest that there are many nuances to consider when gauging opinions of the U.S. across the MENA region. Overall, countries were more variable in whether they viewed military intervention as justified than they were in their attitudes towards the American people.However, their opinions of military intervention did not change as much as their opinions of American people, which appeared to be more temporally volatile. Views on American and Western culture tended to be slightly more positive than views of American people and significantly more positive than views on intervention in the region. Implications for social work practice, policy, advocacy, education and research are discussed.
U.S. Foreign Policy