Some interim conclusions

The terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 were truly a matter of worldwide shock and concern. The degree of globalization in the world was remarkably illustrated by the fact that within two hours about 80 percent of the world's population appeared to have heard of the attacks.34

However, public opinion in the world reacted very differently to the attacks and to the ensuing American counterattacks. There was much sympathy for the American plight, but also considerable caution with respect to the possible reactions, resulting in a preference for peaceful over military means and for avoiding civilian targets.

Given this caution, it is not surprising that only in a very limited number of countries (mostly West-European but including Canada, Israel and India) was there a majority supporting the military counterattacks by the US. Also understandable to some extent was the fact that even fewer people supported the participation of their own country in these military actions.

Out of some sixty countries for which polling data are available, only one sixth can be classified as truly supportive of the US. No fewer than 40 percent should be classified as outright opposed. Support, moreover, declined considerably between September and December 2001.

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