Search This Blog

Friday, July 5, 2013

International Views of the United States

Even with President Barack Obama fresh off a trip to Africa and headed in late summer for a trip to Russia, people outside the United States take a less favorable view of America than they did right after he became president.
Surveys from different parts of the world show the initial goodwill toward the U.S. from the international community after Obama assumed office has waned and recent headlines point to some reasons why -- Revelations of U.S. international surveillance, the manhunt of information leaker Edward Snowden, drone strikes in foreign countries and the continued unrest in Syria have exposed the traditional fault lines of international relations.
In a recent commentary on the European disillusionment with Obama, Financial Times foreign affairs analyst Gideon Rachman said, “It has gradually dawned on President Obama’s foreign fan club that their erstwhile hero is using methods that would be bitterly denounced if he were a white Republican."
In 2008 Obama was "the vessel into which liberals all over the world poured their fantasies," Rachman said. Disenchantment was bound to happen.
In May, the Program on International Policy and Attitudes reported:
Positive views of China and India have fallen sharply around the world over the last year, a new 25-country poll for BBC World Service indicates.
The poll also finds that views of the UK have improved in the wake of its hosting of the 2012 Olympics, making the UK the third most positively rated country. Of the other fifteen countries rated, nine saw their ratings positive worsen this year while the UK was the most improved.
The 2013 Country Ratings Poll, conducted by GlobeScan/PIPA among 26,299 people around the world between December 2012 and April 2013, asked respondents to rate 16 countries and the EU on whether their influence in the world is "mostly positive" or "mostly negative."
On average positive views of China across 21 tracking countries have dropped eight points to 42 per cent while negative views have risen by the same amount to reach 39 per cent. After improving for several years, views of China have sunk to their lowest level since polling began in 2005. India has shown a similar decline, with negative views up eight points and positive views down six. For the first time this year, those negative views (35%) slightly outnumber those with positive views of India (34%). Overall, China is ranked ninth, while India is ranked twelfth.
Germany regained the position of the most favourably viewed country, with 59 per cent worldwide rating it positively. It displaces Japan, which saw its positive ratings plunge from 58 to 51 per cent and fell from first to fourth place overall. The UK, rated positively by 55 per cent, has climbed from fourth to third place with a four-point increase in positive views since 2012, more than for any other country.
Views of the US have shown some sharp declines among the citizens of its allies the UK (46%, down from 60%), France (52%, down from 62%), and Germany (35%, down from 44%), as well as in Egypt (24%, down from 37%). On a global scale, however, views have only slipped slightly (from 47% to 45% positive, with 34% now negative).