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Poll: U.S.-Led War in Iraq Widens Rift with Europe

The speed of the war in Iraq and the prevailing belief that the Iraqi people are better off without Saddam Hussein have modestly improved the image of America overseas, but opinions of the U.S. are markedly lower than they were a year ago, according to an extensive poll by the Pew Global Attitudes Project.

Andrew Kohut, director of the Pew Research Center for the People and the Press, tells NPR's Melissa Block that the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq has widened the rift between Americans and Western Europeans. The war and occupation of Iraq continue to inflame Muslim world and have weakened international support for the war on terrorism, he says.

The Pew Global Attitudes Project surveyed 16,000 people in 20 countries and the territory governed by the Palestinian Authority in May, 2003. The results of that survey were compared to a broader survey of 44 nations conducted in 2002 that polled attitudes about globalization, democratization and the role of Islam in government and society.

The biggest casualty of the war in Iraq may be public confidence in the United Nations. The polls shows that positive ratings for the world body have tumbled. And in most countries that are friendly to the United States, only modest percentages have confidence that President Bush will do the right thing in international affairs.

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