US tsunami aid still reaps goodwill: A recent poll found Indonesians’ support for the US is almost as high as it was in the immediate aftermath of the disaster. (Tom McCawley, 2/28/06, The Christian Science Monitor)

The poll of 1,177 Indonesians in late January found that those “with a favorable opinion of the US” jumped from a low of 15 percent in May 2003 following the US-led invasion of Iraq, to more than 44 percent in January of this year. A similar poll released by the Pew Research Center in June last year also said tsunami aid had changed Indonesian opinions of the US.

“The military aid [after the tsunami], humanitarian help, and private philanthropy … boosted the image of the US,” says Djoko Susilo, a legislator on parliament’s security commission, noting that “even rich Indonesians” don’t generally give money to such causes.

And they’re an emerging democracy to boot.

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