Released: July 23, 2009
Lessons from the 2009 Global Attitudes Survey
At a briefing for journalists at the National Press Club in Washington, D.C. on July 23, 2009, Pew Research Center President Andrew Kohut, joined by Pew Global Attitudes Project co-chairs former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright and former Sen. John C. Danforth, described the major findings from the latest Pew Global Attitudes survey and discussed its implications for U.S. foreign policy and the global climate of opinion. In the following edited excerpt from the briefing transcript, ellipses have been omitted to improve readability.
- Andrew Kohut, President, Pew Research Center and Director, Pew Global Attitudes Project
- Madeleine K.Albright, former U.S. Secretary of State, currently principal, the Albright Stonebridge Group
- John C. Danforth, former U.S. senator (R-Mo.), currently partner, Bryan Cave LLP
- Moderator, Don Kimelman, Managing Director, The Pew Charitable Trusts
DON KIMELMAN: Pew Research Center’s Global Attitudes Project was created in 2001 with a mandate to measure public opinion around the world on the topic of globalization, which was the biggest controversy at that time. Before the first poll could get into the field, however, the attacks of 9/11 happened. The Pew Global Attitudes Project agenda was soon expanded to include attitudes towards Muslim extremism, American leadership on the war on terror and related issues.
Since 2002, Global Attitudes has released two dozen reports on a wide range of issues of transnational concern from globalization to democratization, to China’s growing influence, to how Muslims and westerners view each other. But the project’s most widely cited findings have involved the dramatic decline in support for America among key allies and throughout the Muslim world. For better or worse, the Global Attitudes Project has become the de facto scorekeeper on the vital matter of how America is perceived around the world.
Andy Kohut, the Pew Research Center’s president, has a fresh batch of numbers to share with you today, the results of Global Attitudes first survey since President Obama took office. I think you’ll find plenty of interesting material in this rich and comprehensive report.
Understanding global public opinions seems essential for any policymaker or concerned citizen trying to make sense of today’s increasingly interrelated world. For that reason, The Pew Charitable Trusts has been proud to support the Global Attitudes Project since its inception.
ANDREW KOHUT: The poll that we’re talking about today includes nearly 27,000 interviews in 25 nations. The survey was done May 18th through June 16th. Most of these were personal interviews, though there were phone surveys in North America, Western Europe and Japan. And they’re fairly in depth. This was not a quick poll.
This poll updates the image of the United States, views about the president, views about American policies that we’ve been tracking over the years. And of course this year we also look, in great depth, at how people around the world view Barack Obama. In particular, we examine the impact of his Cairo speech on attitudes in Israel and the Palestinian territories. Subsequent reports in this series will look at public opinion in Mexico and public opinion in Pakistan, two troubled countries in some depth.
As Don noted, we’ve been one of the principal chroniclers of the rise of antiAmericanism over the past eight years. But now we’re beginning to document a revival of the American image in many parts of the world, reflecting confidence in Barack Obama.
In many countries’ opinions, the views about United States are now as positive as they were at the beginning of the decade before President Bush took office. That was pretty surprising to me. I’m not at all surprised that Barack Obama is popular. We knew that from the surveys we had done last year and the surveys we’ve seen since. But his popularity has translated into a change in attitudes towards the United States.
The improvements have been most profound. The numbers have moved the most in Western Europe, where having a favorable view of the United States has soared. I’ll give you two key numbers: In Germany, 31% last year said they like the United States. That number was 64% this year. That was the first one to come in. And I thought, wow, the Germans, this has to be strange. Then the French numbers came in. They went from 42% to 75%. That was the case in Spain and Britain as well, with really profound changes.
But it’s not only Western Europe. Opinions of the United States were better in the key countries of Latin America, Africa and Asia. In Brazil, for example, [favorable attitudes toward the U.S. rose] from 47% to 61%; in Mexico from 47% to 69%.
The disappointing finding from the point of view of the United States is that the needle barely moved among the Muslim publics that we questioned. Most Muslims in the survey continue to distrust the United States and disapprove of its policies, the new president notwithstanding.
In Turkey, for example, last year we had a 12%-favorable rating. That’s now 14%, which is to say it hasn’t moved statistically. In the Palestinian territories, favorables went from 13% [in 2007] to 15%. No change. Similarly in Pakistan. There were small gains in Egypt and Jordan. But marginal gains. Really no change in public opinion, no significant change in public opinion about the U.S.
The big boost is in Indonesia, where most people, I think 79%, know of Barack Obama’s time there. America’s favorable rating went from 37% to 63%.
Israel was the only country in the survey, the only public of the 25, where the current U.S. rating is lower than it was. It’s still pretty high at 71%. But it was 78% in 2007.
Personal confidence in Obama is fueling this resurgence in most of these countries. Belief that he will do the right thing in foreign affairs is almost universal. The numbers are extraordinarily high. And in these countries, lack of confidence in President Bush had been endemic since the war in Iraq, 2003. The Obama-Bush gaps are phenomenal.
In France and Germany, Obama’s ratings are higher than Nicolas Sarkozy and Angela Merkel’s ratings in their own countries in terms of having confidence in their conduct of foreign policy. Its important to understand one thing that we found from our analysis: Views of the U.S. are being driven by personal confidence in Obama, not so much by reactions to the things that he has done. It’s in how they see Barack Obama in personal terms, how much belief they have in him.
Even in Muslim countries where the U.S. remains unpopular, significant percentages of the people that we polled said that they have some confidence in him. In Egypt and Jordan, 42% and 31% respectively. Those are pretty high numbers compared with what we had seen about the way Muslims viewed President Bush over the years.
We did a full survey both before and after Obama’s Cairo speech in Israel and in the Palestinian territories to see what impact it had on public opinion about the United States and on views of Obama. Our conclusion, from the data, is that it wasn’t transformative. U.S. favorability ratings rose only 5 percentage point in the Palestinian territories. Obama’s personal ratings also increased only marginally. But what did happen, rather dramatically, is that in Israel favorable views of the United States fell by 13 points comparing the before- and after-speech polls.
We did see, however, some signs of progress in terms of Palestinian attitudes that give some hope. And that is for the United States, we found many more Palestinians after the speech saying they thought Obama would consider their country’s interests [when making international policy] in the future. That percentage rose from 27% to 39% following the Cairo speech — a good positive rating. So while the needle didn’t move overall, there were some indications that Palestinians heard what Obama was saying but they weren’t quite ready to trust him.
One of the most significant things in terms of Muslim attitudes is that for the first time we have more confidence expressed in the American president, albeit modestly, than in Osama bin Laden. In the Bush years, larger percentages in many — not all, but, I would say, in most — of these countries expressed more confidence in bin Laden than in President Bush.
More generally, the poll found broad approval for most of Obama’s foreign policies. There was support everywhere for closing Guantanamo and withdrawing troops from Iraq. No surprise there. What was surprising was how little support — and how much opposition — there was about sending more troops to Afghanistan. In every country, save a few, most people said this is not a good idea. That includes the NATO countries. In fact, the NATO countries for the past two years have been saying we want our troops out. So it’s not surprising that there’s lack of support for more troops.
Nonetheless, there are very high expectations of Obama. People think he’s going to seek international approval before using force; he’s going to be a multilateralist; and that he’s going to convince the United States to take action on climate change.
I should add, however, that for all of the positive opinion, problematic perceptions of the United States continue. Overwhelming numbers of people say that the United States is having a big influence in their country in a general way, and a majority of these people say it’s not a good influence.
The U.S. is not now seen as acting multilaterally even though people expect Obama to be multilateral. Majorities in 20 of the 25 countries surveyed believe that the U.S. economy is hurting their own countries. This has not, however, translated into a lower U.S. image, as we speculated that it might last year, and that’s perhaps one of the dividends of Obama’s strong popularity.
The most positive sign for U.S. policy is that there’s renewed support among our allies for U.S.-led efforts to combat terrorism. We saw [starting] in 2002 a [steady decline in] support for U.S. efforts to combat terrorism. Now, it’s gone back up in most of the countries, save the Muslim countries.
Some of the other things that we covered in the poll: The global recession is taking quite a toll. Most publics expressed dissatisfaction with national conditions. This is the second year in a row that people rated their national economy much worse than they did the year before.
Economic ratings have soured the most in Europe: Britain, Germany, Spain, Poland and Russia. But despite this recession, global publics continue to endorse a free market economy. Most continue to say that global trade, not free trade, but global trade is a good thing.
And there is not a rejection of capitalism. Large majorities, however, do call for protection against foreign influence and they would like to see their country protect them in trade relations. Most also favor greater restrictions on immigration.
Large majorities of the publics in all 25 countries see global warming as a problem. Again, the Americans and the Chinese are less intensely concerned about this than other publics.
But even in these hard times, 23 of 25 countries favor environmental protection, even at the expense of slower economic growth and some loss of jobs. What we did find, however, was more sensitivity on prices. Only 14 of the 25 countries favored taking steps to deal with global climate change if it meant that prices would increase. We also found little public consensus around the world as to which country is best to take the lead in dealing with the problem of global climate change.
MADELEINE ALBRIGHT: I continue to do a great deal of traveling under somewhat different circumstances than before. But basically what I find so interesting about this is that the numbers [in the survey] support the anecdotal evidence that I find in my travels, whether it’s talking to leaders or non governmental organizations or various groups of people abroad.
There is just a great sense of anticipation and admiration for President Obama and a way of viewing America differently. And so I do think that it’s always good to get the numbers to support that.
What we do need to understand, however, is that there is an increasingly complicated international situation, that there are issues out there that have never been dealt with before. Issues that require a different approach, a different way of looking at what America can do, whether the multilateral institutions work, how they can work.
So whoever was president of the United States at this time was going to be operating in a very, very difficult situation. Some might describe it as chaotic, and some might just describe it as challenging. But it clearly is very complicated. There are also remnants still of having had a different president for eight years. And I do think that these numbers show that the U.S. had really fallen into a pretty deep hole — that we were not respected internationally. And in some cases we were feared.
The popularity of President Obama is really across the board. The numbers differ a little bit, but it really is pretty remarkable. And so the question is: So what? I mean, it is very nice to have a president who is very popular. But as somebody who has been and continues to be interested in U.S. national interests, I believe that his personal popularity and the kind of new respect for the United States for having elected him I think translates positively for our national interests.
If you think about the issues that are out there that have to be dealt with, whether they are issues of how to fight terrorism, nuclear proliferation, dealing with the economic issues, looking at energy, environment, those kinds of issues that cannot be dealt with by one country alone, having a president who is viewed as somebody who wants to use multilateral tools, wants to reach out, is respectful of other countries’ interests is something that in fact I think is very important to U.S. national security interests. I think that there is no question that there is kind of an ambivalence about the United States. I think people in other countries want us to lead and yet are a little concerned about how we lead. Ever has it been thus. I mean, we are the most powerful country in the world.
But I do think that these new numbers on President Obama mitigate some of that concern, especially given his approach. He goes into countries. He meets with the leaders. He has town hall meetings. He is approachable to the extent that any American president can mix and mingle. So I think that helps us a lot.
Hes done some very smart things that play well to this popularity. He has put together a team that also reaches out. And he does in fact listen to what people have to say and is this is my term an inspired truth teller in terms of what the United States might have done wrong in the past. [But he also says the U.S. is] willing to change and uses that then in a way to say, well, you in X country haven’t exactly done the right thing either.
I think it is going to be interesting to see what happens with this amazing set of numbers for a particular American president and how he translates his personal support and popularity into dealing with these particular issues. I personally prefer to see an American president with these kinds of numbers to the ones that were there previously. It offers huge opportunities.
JOHN DANFORTH: This survey is really a remarkable feat, as I think all Pew Research surveys are. Imagine going to all of these countries and asking all of these people all of these questions, it really is terrific.
It’s great to be popular. It’s wonderful. But I don’t see where it gets us. And that’s how I read this report. If our goal is, as I think it should be and I know Secretary Albright thinks it should be to have a more multilateral approach in dealing with real problems in the world, including the problem of terror and rogue states, the environment and everything else, I do not understand how this information gives us much encouragement.
In fact, I find it somewhat discouraging. I think that the popularity of President Obama and the increased popularity of the United States is a function of a less assertive and more passive approach particularly to dealing with terror. The survey shows that when we talk about issues, most countries favor our withdrawal from Iraq. They favor our closing down of Guantanamo. And they oppose getting into Afghanistan.
So insofar as the position of the United States is more passive, they like that. Insofar as it is getting more troops in Afghanistan, they don’t like that. So I don’t quite see where the multilateral cooperation is coming from; 82% of the French respondents say they favor closing Guantanamo. But when the president asks France to take detainees, France agrees to take exactly one person.
So I think there’s a disjuncture between the popularity of the president and the willingness to step up to multilateral responsibilities to do much.
On the question of the environment and global warming, there’s widespread view that, yes, this is a problem. But several of the countries that responded say that while we should do something about it, we shouldn’t do something about it if there’s a price tag to it.
In general, people say in most countries, almost all of them, I think, that they support more international trade. They like international trade. But, please, we want government to protect us. So I don’t see the growth in popularity as translating into anything that’s real.
And I think that it is important to try to have a more cooperative approach with other countries in dealing with these problems. But that must mean that they cooperate. Now, one of the questions in the survey asks about following America’s lead in combating terrorism. And most people said yes, we would follow America’s lead. But it seems to me that the meaning of that is: We’ll follow America’s lead insofar as America doesn’t really want to do much.
So that is my general reflection on this survey. I think that the goal of America should be to try to have a concerted effort in dealing with real problems. And I don’t see in this information a willingness to deal with real problems.
ALBRIGHT: I have to say I disagree with that. And I think that the things that Sen. Danforth is commenting on are actually what I had mentioned as part of remnants of past policies. Really the reason that they are glad that we’ve closed Guantanamo is that Guantanamo was part of what undermined America’s capability and reputation. And that the way that the past administration had fought terrorism, this is my personal belief, created more terrorists. Even [former Defense] Secretary [Donald] Rumsfeld agreed to that.
So I think that what I find that is important here is that there is a different view of American leadership and of Americans for having elected this particular president, which I think still does need to be translated. There’s no question about that. But we are on a better glide path to restoring our reputation and our leadership than we were for the previous eight years.
KOHUT: I would just add one thing. While I agree with Sen. Danforth that there’s a wariness of American assertiveness, I don’t think you can discount the importance of Obama’s popularity. Because if and when we get to a new policy as opposed to old policies, which have a lot of baggage and were very unpopular, what Obama’s popularity will do and the better view of the United States will do, is to allow people to at least listen and consider. If we’re dealing with a president whose favorable ratings were 21% rather than 60%, you wouldn’t even get that audience.
DANFORTH: I don’t want to just preempt it with the three of us talking, but I just I think the president is being heard. I think he’s telling people what they want to hear. He’s apologizing. He’s saying we’ll get out of Iraq and close down Guantanamo, but when he does ask for something, I don’t see that he gets anything.
He hasn’t been at it very long, and really there are only three questions here that I’m pointing to. One is Iraq, one is Afghanistan. One is Guantanamo. Maybe there are other questions that could be asked in other surveys. Maybe there are other things that we could ask the people of the world or at least some of the countries of the world to help us with. But I don’t see any indication in this that anybody is willing to pay any price and bear any burden for much of anything.
QUESTION: Canadian Broadcast Corporation. I’m wondering if you can comment on how important it is to Americans that they are viewed more favorably in the world. Does it make a difference to them?
KOHUT: We’ve seen for some time the United States feeling that restoring America’s close relationships between the U.S. and allies was a very important foreign policy goal. And this, I think, can only be seen as good news to most Americans. I might add that Barack Obama’s approval ratings with regard to foreign policy at this point are markedly higher than his approval ratings with respect to most domestic policies, and this is probably part of that.
ALBRIGHT: I do think that people prefer to be viewed positively and be popular. I think that we are going to have to see how this is translated into real things on the ground. Americans when Americans feel more secure. But I think a lot of Americans understand the extent to which our fate is tied to that of other countries. And therefore as we get into more partnerships and cooperation, people will see that positively. Ultimately, though, as any country, people care about what’s going on domestically.
DANFORTH: It’s nice to be popular. Everybody likes to be popular. And we want our country to be popular. And I think we like it when the president or then still Sen. Obama makes a speech in Germany and there are hundreds of thousands or millions or whatever the number was of people listening. That’s terrific. You’d rather have people cheer you than throw eggs at you.
But I think this gets beyond feeling. Take Guantanamo. I mean, maybe it made us unpopular. And surely it did. But what are we supposed to do with these people? Just let them go? So where is the help from the rest of the world? They’re not going to take them. So that’s my whole point. I mean, it’s not that the popularity is bad. It’s wonderful. But where do we go from here?
And if the popularity is based more on a more passive and less assertive approach, then what do we do in the real world of terror and rogue states?
QUESTION: I’m with the South African Broadcasting Corporation. My question is: I see that [Obamas] popularity in the two countries in Africa you researched is very high. Did you find out if, like in Germany and France, he might be more popular than the leaders there.
KOHUT: We did not do that. We hope in future surveys to broaden our coverage of Africa. And periodically we’ve done as many as 15 African countries. And we did not compare Obama’s popularity to the popularity of the leadership of these countries as we did in Western Europe.
QUESTION: [Inaudible] from Russia. My question is for Secretary Albright. Madam Secretary, how do you explain the lingering doubts, the lingering concerns in Russia and the U.S. about Russia, which is also in the survey and what does it tell you about the future of our relations especially in the effort to reset the relationship?
And also: Can you explain to us what is your view of the new approach of Secretary Clinton who now describes a, quote/unquote, multi partner world as opposed to the multipolar world? Thank you.
ALBRIGHT: On the issue of U.S.-Russia relations, I think that, again, you can’t snap your fingers and have something be totally different. We have had a very long adversarial relationship with Russia throughout the Cold War. There was a real attempt in the ’90s to change that and to have a respectful interaction with the Russians.
What I have seen in my own dealings is that there is a lack of trust between the U.S. and Russia for a number of different reasons. And when President Obama and Vice President Biden have spoken about the reset, it is in order to develop, I think, a pragmatic relationship between two very important countries. It is true, at least in what I’ve seen of Russian polling, that the younger generation in Russia is actually quite distrustful of the United States.
I also think that President Obama’s approach, when he was in Moscow, was one in which he did what he does in other countries. He tells it like it is. His appearance at the New Economic School in Moscow, I think, explained where he wanted the relationship to go. And yet now there are going to be some very practical effects. The question is how the strategic arms controls talks will go, what the relationship is going to be on NATO, Russia and at the same time reaching out, wanting to work with Russia but also making clear that we don’t believe in spheres of interest. So I think there’s going to be on both sides a very practical and pragmatic approach, cooperating where we can.
On the Secretary Clinton question, I think that this has to do with the way that the United States believes that we should be operating in the 21st century, that there are issues that cannot be dealt with by any country by itself and that partnerships are needed. And that — this is not the way Secretary Clinton put it — we are not in the 19th century of a concert of powers, and we are not in the 20th century of a balance of powers, [but more in a world] of multi partnerships where there has to be cooperation in order to resolve global warming or nuclear proliferation or world hunger. It’s a very practical approach, the way I see it.
And I would just make the following statement: We have to remember it is July 23rd. He has been in office six months and two days. And I think that there’s no way that one can undo the effects of the last eight years that quickly. When we do this again in eight years we’ll see where we are. But I think that at the moment this is a very encouraging set of numbers with some warning signs that are out there that need to be considered. I think the Afghan issue and the lack of support for that is something that obviously has to be taken into account.
QUESTION: Voice of America. For Dr. Kohut, is there anything in your research that suggests the sustainability of President Obama’s personal popularity or maybe he’s enjoying a honeymoon on the world stage similar to the one that he’s enjoyed at home?
KOHUT: No, there’s nothing here that gives an indication of what the future will hold. I think the one thing that would argue that these numbers are pretty robust or opinions about him are pretty robust is how consistently positive people are and the way his personal approval ratings and confidence in him has translated into changed opinions about the United States.
That would argue that this is a pretty powerful set of perceptions, which is not to say that they’re not going to change. We just can’t predict the future.
It’s very much like opinions about him domestically. His approval ratings continue, strong overall approval ratings continue even in the face of declining approval ratings with regard to specific issues. But there’s no magic formula in this survey that says, well, he can take one hit, two hits, three hits. But the numbers are pretty strong and they’re pretty consistently strong internally.
QUESTION: Toronto Star newspaper. I’m just curious to know if the panelists think, is there a point where you’re too popular internationally? Is there any downside domestically to Barack Obama in some of the nearly stratospheric numbers that we see in Western Europe, which, unless I’m misreading them, seem to suggest he’s more popular there than he is in his overall approval ratings here in the United States?
KOHUT: Well, given the fact that the public has long seen an important objective of American foreign policy to restore the image of the United States all around the world, I don’t think in a general sense you can expect that there’s a lot of danger here.
ALBRIGHT: I know Sen. Danforth will say it’s nice to be popular. It is nice to be popular. And I think that people feel better if we are liked. Americans now don’t have to say they’re from Canada when they travel around.
But the bottom line is ultimately he will be judged a lot on how much attention he pays to domestic policy. And so I think that that is important and the two go together. And a lot of the issues that are domestic policy issues, such as energy, ultimately have a foreign policy dimension.
DANFORTH: It’s nice to be popular. (Laughter).
I think President Obama is an enormously attractive person, and very, very gifted politician. Very, very able. I think that most Americans for now like the idea of our president being popular in the world and like the idea of our country being better thought of in the world. However, the number one responsibility of President Obama is to protect the people of the United States in a very dangerous world.
And the ultimate question is going to be: How effectively is he doing that? And what steps is he taking? And how able is he to garner support from other countries to help us in that effort. Those are going to be the ultimate questions. And if he’s gaining international popularity by telling people what they want to hear and by getting very little in return and by taking kind of an apologetic approach for the United States, I think people are going to really judge him ultimately on, okay, are we safer because of this or are we less safe because of this?
ALBRIGHT: You’ve now said this a couple times, Senator, and I have to dispute this. I think when he makes speeches abroad, he does something that I think is quite brilliant, which is to accept some responsibility for past actions that have been wrong and then say: Okay, I have said that we did this wrong, but you did something wrong, too. And it allows him to be able to get at the point that others have responsibility for that particular action.
Because I think the U.S. did do some things wrong, and the sign of a really great country and a great leader is to say: We didn’t do this right, instead of saying everything we’ve done is brilliant.
So I don’t accept the fact that he goes abroad to apologize. He goes abroad and tells the truth. And I think that’s very important.
QUESTION: [Inaudible] with Russia Today the Arabic service. The higher ratings of Obama and the U.S. administration in general translates into a drop in Israel. This sounds like a hard game to play. How do you think Obama is going to go about it?
ALBRIGHT: Well, I think that what President Obama has said and what is evident in the work of [Middle East Envoy George] Mitchell is that the United States is going to have a much more active role in trying to bring about the Israeli Palestinian peace process. I think there was a very interesting road map that President Bush put out but they never took it out of the glove compartment.
So the bottom line is that President Obama and Sen. Mitchell and Secretary Clinton are going to be much more actively involved. President Obama in Cairo gave a very important speech in which he made clear what we needed to do vis a vis the Muslim world by the way I hate that term because it’s not monolithic — that things that had to happen. He also made clear about the freezing of the settlements. And so he is pointing out that the role the U.S. can play is to bring the parties together on a very, very difficult set of issues.
QUESTION: The Washington Times. Could you put the environmental data into perspective as far as moving forward with international climate discussions?
KOHUT: Well, I think what this survey shows is that there’s a good deal of support for dealing with the environment and dealing with global climate change specifically.
I was surprised that the numbers did not decline markedly when we asked people about taking steps to protect the environment, even if it leads to less economic growth and some job loss. Those numbers held up pretty well at a time when people are very concerned about jobs and very concerned about their economies.
There was more concern about prices. And so that’s obviously one of the pressure points in consideration of policy and whether people will see global, dealing with global climate change as something that’s going to drive up their prices at a time in which their currencies, dollars, whatever, currencies are very stretched.
Certainly the expectation that the United States is going to take steps to deal with this issue is very clearly apparent both around the world and even to a certain extent in the United States or to a fair degree in the United States.
QUESTION: [Inaudible] from Argentina. The popularity numbers of Obama and also the United States have increased also in Latin America. And this is a question for Madam Secretary. I was wondering if the crisis in Honduras can harm this? In the sense that at the beginning the position of the United States was very well appreciated, but now things are much more complicated and it seems that there is more criticism of what the United States is doing.
ALBRIGHT: It’s hard to predict. The problem with Honduras, the whole issue, is that the United States has believed, as has the OAS, that coups are not a part of a democratic process. And, on the other hand, the situation is clearly, as you pointed out, more complicated.
And I think that what will be important here is what happens with the [U.S.-backed negotiation] effort that [Costa Rican] President Arias is carrying on and trying to figure out how this can be resolved within the region without the United States saying: This is how it needs to be done.
What I found encouraging about the American position is that we stood by what we believe in [that] coups are not a normal part of the way that governments are changed.
But this is an issue that has to be handled, I think, with the help of others. I think this goes to the point that the United States is not going to be the arbiter of every single thing, and that these multipartnership aspects of it come through.