Steven Kull, a political psychologist, is director of the Program on International Public Attitudes (PIPA) at the University of Maryland and WorldPublicOpinion.org, an international project studying public opinion around the world. He comanages the international polling for BBC World Service. His previous books include Misreading the Public: The Myth of a New Isolationism (Brookings, 1999), written with I.M. Destler. He regularly appears in the U.S. and international media and has briefed Congress, the State Department, NATO, the United Nations, and the European Commission. His articles have appeared in Political Science Quarterly, Foreign Policy, Public Opinion Quarterly, Harpers, the Washington Post, and other publications. I. M. Destler is professor and director of the Program on International Security and Economic Policy at the School of Public Affairs, University of Maryland.
The alliance remains important because effective cooperation between Japan and the United States is indispensable to regional stability in East Asia and to a workable world economic order. This study of the politics and processes that influence U.S.-Japanese relations draws heavily on three episodes: revision of the bilateral security treaty in 1960; agreement on reversion of Okinawa to Japan in 1969; and the dispute in 1969-71 over Japanese textile exports to the United States. All three illustrate differences and similarities in the national political and bureaucratic institutions through which policy decisions and actions are taken, how officials in each government perceive actions taken by the other, and recurrent patterns of misperception.
The authors' analysis of U.S. and Japanese negotiating tactics constitutes a guide to effective political management and consensus-building within each country. The study also accounts for the ways in which issues arise, the channels through which they are negotiated, and the effect of actions in one system on decisionmaking in the other. The authors conclude with suggestions about how to reduce tension and promote constructive bilateral relations—suggestions that they believe to be relevant to the conduct of U.S. relations with other major allies.
Steven Kull, a political psychologist and acknowledged authority on international public opinion, has sought to understand more deeply how Muslims see America. How widespread is hostility toward the United States in the Muslim world? And what are its roots? How much support is there for radical groups that attack Americans, and why? Kull conducted focus groups with representative samples in Egypt, Morocco, Pakistan, Jordan, Iran, and Indonesia; conducted numerous in-depth surveys in eleven majority-Muslim nations over a period of several years; and comprehensively analyzed data from other organizations such as Gallup, World Values Survey and the Arab Barometer. He writes:
"A premise of this book is that the problem of terrorism does not simply lie in the small number of people who join terrorist organizations. Rather, the existence of terrorist organizations is a symptom of a tension in the larger society that finds a particularly virulent expression in certain individuals. The hostility toward the United States in the broader society plays a critical role in sustaining terrorist groups, even if most disapprove of those groups' tactics. The essential 'problem,' then, is one of America's relationship with the society as a whole."
Through quotes from focus groups as well as survey data, Kull digs below the surface of Muslim anger at America to reveal the underlying narrative of America as oppressing— and at a deeper level, as having betrayed—the Muslim people. With the subtlety of a psychologist he shows how this anger is fed by an "inner clash of civilizations," between Muslims' desire to connect with America and all that it represents, and their fear that America will overwhelm and destroy their traditional Islamic culture.
Finally, Kull maps out the implications of these findings for U.S. foreign policy, showing how many U.S. actions antagonize the larger Muslim population and help al Qaeda by improving their capacity for recruitment. He specifies steps that can mitigate Muslim hostility and draw on some of the underlying shared values that can support more respectful and, possibly, even amicable Muslim-American relations.