Anger at America in the Muslim world is one of the major challenges for American foreign policy. It has created the conditions within which al Qaeda and other anti-American groups have been able to thrive and pose a daunting threat to the United States. With the election of President Barack Obama, views of America have improved in other parts of the world, but in the Muslim world, hostility has not abated. When the Obama administration called for Egypt’s President Mubarak to step down, many hoped Egyptians would warm toward the United States—but this has not occurred. How widespread is hostility toward the United States in the Muslim world? What are its roots and why is it so persistent? How much support is there for radical groups that attack Americans and why? What can the U.S. do?
On May 18, Steven Kull, a political psychologist with the Program on International Policy Attitudes at the University of Maryland, presented findings from his new book, Feeling Betrayed: The Roots of Muslim Anger at America (Brookings Institution Press, 2011). The book is the result of a five-year study of Muslim public attitudes, which included conducting focus groups and surveys throughout the Muslim world, as well as comprehensively analyzing the surveys of other organizations. Kull summarized his key findings and their implication for U.S. foreign policy, as well as discussed the implications of recent developments in the Arab world. Shibley Telhami provided introductory remarks and moderated the discussion. Wendy Chamberlain, president of the Middle East Institute, also provided commentary.
After the program, the participants took audience questions.