November 19, 2009
This publication is now archived.
Concern about terrorism varies significantly around the world, with the highest levels found in the Middle East, South Asia, and Western Europe—all regions that have suffered significant terrorist attacks. Despite 9/11, Americans are only average in their level of concern. Download full chapter (PDF).
In most countries polled, a majority of the public has negative feelings about al-Qaeda, but in some countries (majority-Muslim, in most cases), these are only pluralities, and significant numbers have positive or mixed views of al-Qaeda. Worldwide, the numbers expressing positive views of Osama bin Laden have declined, but in some predominantly Muslim countries, one-fifth to one-third still express positive views toward him. Download full chapter (PDF).
Large majorities around the world think the UN Security Council should have the right to authorize military force to stop a country from supporting terrorist groups. Download full chapter (PDF).
In North America and Europe, publics mostly give poor marks to the quality of transatlantic cooperation against terrorism. In the European Union, publics on average also give the European Union’s performance against terrorism a lukewarm assessment, while a large majority thinks more decision-making on terrorism should take place at the European level. Download full chapter (PDF).
In the struggle between the United States and al-Qaeda, the predominant view among world publics is that neither side is winning and that the “war on terror” has not weakened al-Qaeda. In recent years most have also seen the war in Iraq as increasing the likelihood of terrorist attacks around the world. Download full chapter (PDF).
Majorities or pluralities in most nations reject the view that, when dealing with terrorism suspects, rules against torture and the secret holding of detainees should be relaxed. However, in several countries majorities favor making an exception when dealing with a terrorist suspect who may have information that may save innocent lives. Majorities in the United States, Britain, Germany, and Poland, and a plurality in India endorse provisions of the Geneva Conventions that forbid detainees being held in secret or without access by the International Committee of the Red Cross. Download full chapter (PDF).
In 2006, majorities in Great Britain, Germany, and Poland (and a plurality in India) believed that U.S. detention policies in place at Guantanamo were illegal, whereas a slight majority of people in the United States believed they were legal. In none of the five countries—including the United States—did a majority or plurality think the United States seeks to enforce a policy against torture in interrogations. Only minorities supported allowing the United States to use their country’s airspace for rendition of a terrorist suspect to another country, if that country had a reputation for using torture. Download full chapter (PDF).
In seventeen countries worldwide, majorities in only nine of those countries believe al-Qaeda was behind the September 11 terrorist attacks—though in none of the other countries does a majority agree on a different possible perpetrator. Even in European countries, the majorities that say al-Qaeda was behind September 11 are not large. Publics in the Middle East are especially likely to name a different perpetrator (Israel or the United States itself). Download full chapter (PDF).
Maximalist finds lessons in the past that anticipate and clarify our chaotic present, revealing the history of U.S. foreign policy in an unexpected new light. More
This clear and authoritative book presents a sweeping account of China's global resource quest and the unrivaled expansion of its economy. More
The story of the tragic and often tormented relationship between the United States and Pakistan, and a call to prepare for the worst, aim for the best, and avoid past mistakes. More
This Independent Task Force report finds that as more people and services become interconnected and dependent on the Internet, societies are becoming increasingly vulnerable to cyberattacks.
This Independent Task Force asserts that Turkey is an increasingly influential regional and economic power and calls for the United States and Turkey to forge a new partnership.
The authors argue that it is essential to begin working now to expand and establish rules and norms governing armed drones, thereby creating standards of behavior that other countries will be more likely to follow.
The author examines Pakistan's complex role in U.S. foreign policy and advocates for a two-pronged approach that works to quarantine threats while integrating Pakistan into the broader U.S. agenda in Asia.
The authors assess the political, security, and economic challenges facing U.S. policymakers in Afghanistan and evaluate a range of policy options.
CFR is seeking candidates for the following 2014–2015 fellowship program. For more information, please email email@example.com.
Edward R. Murrow Press Fellowship:
March 1 Application Deadline
To request permission to reprint or reuse CFR material, please fill out this permissions request form (PDF), referring to the instructions on page 1.
The annual worldwide threat briefings of the intelligence community began with Director of National Intelligence James Clapper's briefing to...
Terrorism Research Links provide news, definitions and history, terrorism organizations and networks, responses to terrorism, resources on...
Sarah Kreps and John Kaag argue that the use of drones in armed combat raises important ethical questions that the American public has chosen...
Unconventional wars are our most pressing national security concern. They're also the most ancient form of war in the world. Max Boot...