To See Ourselves as Others See Us

How Publics Abroad View the United States after 9/11
Ole R. Holsti

As anti-American sentiment grows abroad, the U.S. is losing the power of persuasion


In terms of military and economic power, the United States remains one of the strongest nations in the world. Yet the United States seems to have lost the power of persuasion, the ability to make allies and win international support.

Why? Immediately after the terrorist attacks of 9/11, leaders and citizens of foreign nations generally expressed sympathy for the United States. Since then, attitudes have changed. Drawing upon public opinion surveys conducted in 30 nations, Ole R. Holsti documents an increasing anti-American sentiment. His analysis suggests that the war in Iraq, human rights violations, and unpopular international policies are largely responsible. Consequently, the United States can rebuild its repute by adopting an unselfish, farsighted approach to global issues.

Indeed, the United States must restore goodwill abroad, Holsti asserts, because public opinion indirectly influences the leaders who decide whether or not to side with the Americans.

Ole R. Holsti is George V. Allen Professor Emeritus of International Affairs in the Department of Political Science at Duke University and author of Public Opinion and American Foreign Policy. Visit Ole Holsti's website.

Praise / Awards

  • "Holsti, the authority on American foreign policy attitudes, investigates others' views of us. It's not pretty. It matters. Read this."
    —Bruce Russett, Dean Acheson Professor of International Relations, Yale University and Editor of the Journal of Conflict Resolution

  • "Clearly and engagingly written, Holsti's book ranks among the most important—and most objective—of the post-9/11 scholarly studies. It deserves a large readership, both within and beyond academe."
    —Ralph Levering, Vail Professor of History, Davidson College

  • ". . . in To See Ourselves as Others See Us[Holsti] attempts to bring methodological rigor to the discussion of why global public opinion matters. Holsti makes a compelling argument that while "foreign policy is not conducted by plebiscite," the question of how others see us is an important research and policy question. Not because we want people to like us; but because it helps us in this world strategically, economically and morally."
    —Christopher R. Cook, The Behrend College, Pennsylvania State University

Look Inside

Copyright © 2008, University of Michigan. All rights reserved.

Classroom Resources

Discussion Questions | Word doc

Product Details

  • 6 x 9.
  • 248pp.
  • 39 tables.
Available for sale worldwide

  • Hardcover
  • 2008
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-07036-7

Add to Cart
  • $99.95 U.S.

  • Paper
  • 2008
  • Available
  • 978-0-472-05036-9

Add to Cart
  • $29.95 U.S.

Related Products



  • U.S. image abroad, international public opinion, U.S. foreign policy, Iraq war, 9/11 terrorist attacks, Bush administration decisions, NATO relations