Tag Archives: public opinion

Pakistanis Shifting Attitudes Toward Taliban

Since 9/1 there has been a split within many Muslim societies between those who regard Osama bin Laden and other groups urging violence as the embodiment of the Muslim religion versus those who believe that Osama and the Taliban are threats to the existence of their societies. Just about every poll of Pakistanis over the past decade has revealed a significant percent which favors the Taliban and distrusts the United States. A recent poll carried out by Socio-Economic Development Consultants in Islamabad reveals a dramatic shift in Pakistani opinions. More than 80% of Pakistanis now regard the Taliban and al-Qaida as threats to their society. The violent behavior of the Taliban in the Swat Valley where they beat young women, forced men to grow beards or killed those who opposed them shocked most Pakistanis. For the first time they saw the true face of the Taliban and it was a shocking sight.

According to political analyst Rasul Bakhsh Rais: “some people had this feeling that Taliban were good people and very religious and they have good intentions and they’re nationalists. But, today the sentiment against the Taliban is very strong because they are a disruptive force. They don’t present an alternative to the modern nation-state. They don’t have a vision for the economy.”

Now, is the time for massive Western aid to help Pakistan construct a modern education system that will wean bright young boys and girls from the oppressive and narrow Taliban education provided in the madrassas.

Iraq– The Coming Forgotten War?

In the summer of 1953, I returned home from service during the Korean War. One day, shortly after being home, I chanced to meet someone I knew from school, he asked where I had been, and I responded, serving in the Army. There was a look of confusion on his face, and he mumbled, “Oh, Korea, I’ve been busy in my new job.” The Iraq War is slowly entering the twilight zone of American interest. It was the most avidly followed news story for most of the first half of 2007, but it has not been the most closely watched story in any week since mid-October according to a Pew survey. The portion of news stories on the war has dropped in recent months as concern about the economy increasingly absorbs interest of the American public.

After several weeks of declining casualties, eight soldiers died on Monday, one on Tuesday and three yesterday. Few Americans have any idea as to the number of men and women who have died fighting in Iraq or Afghanistan and only a handful could offer anything resembling the accurate figure as to the number who have been wounded. Bush has sold many the view things are improving due to the famous “surge” even as evidence increases of Iraq government inefficiency and corrpution. A recesion most probably will go even further in pushing Iraq out of front page news.

The war in Iraq is slowly fading from the conciousness of many Americans because only a milliion and a half serve in the armed forces. Ninety-nine percent of Americans have no direct connection to the war. Will this attitude change?

Jpanese Public Opinion Hostile To North Korea

Since the end of World War II, Japanese public opinion has been remarkably quiet when it comes to exerting pressure on the government concerning foreign policy issues, but the average Japanese citizen apparently has his/her back up against any further relations with North Korea until the abduction of their citizens by the North Koreans is finally resolved. Over the pa;t twenty years, for some strange reason, the North Korean government has abducted Japanese civilians and most have never been returned. Although Japan has been actively involved in current negotiations with North Korea over atomic weapon issues, its government is unable to initiate significant economic relations with their northern neighbor until the abduction issue is cleared up. Public opinion has been shaped by the media for the first time in Japanese history and the government is attempting to figure out how to deal with this new phenomenon.