(US Influence around the World)
As we begin a new-year, and in view of all the events taking place in the U. S., such as the controversy over immigration, mass shootings, opioid addiction, impeachment of the President, and others just as important, it would seem evident that our image throughout the globe has been negatively affected. Therefore, l thought it would be useful to reflect upon America’s current standing in the world.
According to The Pew Research Center in an article written by Kristen Bialik “America’s global image today is complicated. On balance, people around the world continue to give the United States favorable ratings and say it respects the individual liberties of its people. Nonetheless there are concerns as Ms. Bialik goes on to say that Western Europeans have strikingly negative views of Trump. In the United Kingdom, Germany, France and Spain there is a clear pattern in public perceptions of U.S. presidents. People in these countries generally had little confidence in President George W. Bush to do the right thing regarding world affairs. Their confidence was much higher in Bush’s successor, President Barack Obama, but it plunged following Trump’s election in 2016.
Views of the U.S. are favorable on balance, but concerns are evident. Across the 25 countries surveyed, a median of 50% have a favorable opinion of the U.S., while 43% have an unfavorable view. Likewise, a median of 51% say the U.S. respects the personal freedoms of its people, compared with 37% who say it does not. However, there is concern about America’s role in world affairs.
The U.S. receives some of its highest favorability ratings in Asia. Meanwhile, half or more in four of the five Asia-Pacific nations polled view the U.S. favorably, including 83% in the Philippines and 80% in South Korea – both among the highest ratings in the study (along with 83% in Israel). In America’s neighboring countries of Canada and Mexico, 39% and 32%, respectively, have a favorable view of the U. S.
Western Europeans now say the U.S. does not respect the individual liberties of its people – a reversal from just a few years ago. Views shifted most notably in France, Germany, Poland, Spain and the UK – five countries that have been surveyed since 2008. Among these countries, more now say the U.S. government does not respect the personal freedoms of its people (a median of 57%) than say it does (40%). As recently as 2013, a median of 76% across these nations said the U.S. does protect individual liberties, while a median of 18% said it does not.
America is seen as the world’s leading economic power. People in the surveyed countries tend to see the U.S. as the world’s leading economic power, though only by a slim margin over China (medians of 39% and 34%, respectively). The U.S. is seen as the top economic power in all three Latin American countries – Brazil, Mexico and Argentina – and in nearly all Asia-Pacific countries surveyed. Europeans are also divided: Those in several countries, including the Netherlands and Germany, choose China, while those in several others, including Hungary and Italy, choose the United States.
Most people prefer America over China as the world’s leading power. While many people believe China currently is the world’s top economic power, a median of 63% across the nations surveyed say having the U.S. as the world’s leading power would be better for the world. In contrast, just 19% say a world in which China was the leading power would be better.
As we start out the new-year it is somewhat comforting to me to know that people around the world in general still give the U. S. a vote of confidence for what it perceives as a country with time tried “individual liberties of its people” and as the world’s top economic power.
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