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This map shows what the world thinks about the US drone program

Muhammad Reza/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images
Zack Beauchamp is a senior correspondent at Vox, where he covers ideology and challenges to democracy, both at home and abroad. Before coming to Vox in 2014, he edited TP Ideas, a section of Think Progress devoted to the ideas shaping our political world.

Given that the American targeted killing program involves using scary drone technology to bomb people halfway around the world, we should probably expect it to be unpopular worldwide. But data from the Pew Global attitudes survey, which asked people in 39 countries what they thought of it, suggests that calling it "unpopular" just scratches the surface of what people think.

Here's a map showing Pew's findings. The redder the country, the lower the percentage of people in that country who said they approve of the US "using drone strikes to target extremists." Bluer countries indicate that more than half of the population are supporters; purple are about half.

The first thing you'll notice is a lot of red:

In 33 of the 39 surveyed countries, a plurality of people say they oppose the drone program in the United States. That means more people disapprove than approve of targeted killings in 85 percent of the countries surveyed.

The two countries besides America where an outright majority approves, Israel and Kenya, make a lot of sense. Israel has employed targeted killings against Islamist groups for a long time, so it makes sense that Israelis would approve of their ally the United States doing the same thing. In fact, a higher percentage of Israelis (64 percent) approve of the targeted killing program than do even Americans (61 percent).

Kenya borders Somalia, home to one of the major targets of the drone campaign, the jihadist group al-Shabaab. Al-Shabaab attacks have claimed a number of Kenyan lives. In 2011, Kenya actually invaded Somalia to wipe out the group. So it makes sense that they'd approve of the US drone program, which operates in part in Somalia against those same militants.

There are three other African countries where more people approve of the program than disapprove, though not by a lot: South Africa, Nigeria, and Uganda.

Otherwise, the disapproval is pretty widespread. It's least-disliked in Western Europe and Canada, but still more disliked than liked. America's East Asian allies, Japan and South Korea, both heartily disapprove.

Countries where anti-American sentiment is widespread, such as Venezuela and the Palestinian territories, dislike the targeted killing program by pretty huge margins. Only one country that sees frequent drone strikes, Pakistan, was surveyed. Pakistanis disapproved by a 68-5 margin.

See if you notice anything else interesting on the map. And here's the data in chart form, courtesy of Pew:


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