The Sunday Telegraph – Hatred of America unites the world. By Niall Ferguson

How does that old Randy Newman song go? “No one likes us – I don’t know why. / We may not be perfect, but heaven knows we try.”

But who hates Americans the most? You might assume that it’s people in countries that the United States has recently attacked or threatened to attack. Americans themselves are clear about who their principal enemies are. Asked by Gallup to name the “greatest enemy” of the United States today, 26 per cent of those polled named Iran, 21 per cent named Iraq and 18 per cent named North Korea. Incidentally, that represents quite a success for George W. Bush’s concept of the “Axis of Evil”. Six years ago, only 8 per cent named Iran and only 2 per cent North Korea.

Are those feelings of antagonism reciprocated? Up to a point. According to a poll by Gallup’s Centre for Muslim Studies, 52 per cent of Iranians have an unfavourable view of the United States. But that figure is down from 63 per cent in 2001. And it’s significantly lower than the degree of antipathy towards the United States felt in Jordan, Pakistan and Saudi Arabia. Two thirds of Jordanians and Pakistanis have a negative view of the United States and a staggering 79 per cent of Saudis. Sentiment has also turned hostile in Lebanon, where 59 per cent of people now have an unfavourable opinion of the United States, compared with just 41 per cent a year ago. No fewer than 84 per cent of Lebanese Shiites say they have a very unfavourable view of Uncle Sam.

These figures suggest a paradox in the Muslim world. It’s not America’s enemies who hate the United States most, it’s people in countries that are supposed to be America’s friends, if not allies.

I think we’re equating people with governments again. Whatever.

The paradox doesn’t end there. The Gallup poll (which surveyed 10,000 Muslims in 10 different countries) also revealed that the wealthier and better-educated Muslims are, the more likely they are to be politically radical. So if you ever believed that anti-Western sentiment was an expression of poverty and deprivation, think again. Even more perplexingly, Islamists are more supportive of democracy than Muslim moderates. Those who imagined that the Middle East could be stabilised with a mixture of economic and political reform could not have been more wrong. The richer these people get, the more they favour radical Islamism. And they see democracy as a way of putting the radicals into power.

I think we’re equating religion with a social structure to perpetuate political power again. Whatever.

Nor is Britain the only disillusioned ally. Perhaps not surprisingly, two thirds of Americans believe that their country’s foreign policy considers the interests of others. But this view is shared by only 38 per cent of Germans and 19 per cent of Canadians. More than two thirds of Germans surveyed in 2004 believed that American leaders wilfully lied about Saddam Hussein’s weapons of mass destruction prior to the previous year’s invasion, while a remarkable 60 per cent expressed the view that America’s true motive was “to control Middle Eastern oil”. Nearly half (47 per cent) said it was “to dominate the world”.

The truly poignant fact is that when Americans themselves are asked to rate foreign countries, they express the most favourable views of none other than Britain, Germany and Canada.

I think we’re equating people with… Oh forget it. Canadians may enjoy hating us but their government isn’t stupid enough to tell us to take a hike. And since most news stories about Canada tend to be about what their government is doing rather than what my Socialist aunts are talking about over dinner, I hardly think this is all that perplexing.