15 September 2020   Leave a comment

The Pew Research Center has published a poll of citizens within 13 different states, all of which have been long-standing allies to the US, on their views of the US. The poll indicates quite vividly that most US allies believe that the US has done a terrible job of handling the COVID-19 pandemic. The poll also indicates that US President Trump is not well-regarded by its allies. According to Pew:

“Pew Research Center surveys have found mixed or relatively negative views of the U.S. in Canada and Western Europe since 2017 and the beginning of the Trump administration. In the current survey, views of the U.S. have deteriorated further, with a median of only 34% across the 13 countries surveyed expressing a positive view.

“Roughly one-third of Canadians (35%) view their neighbor to the south positively. A similar share across Europe holds this view (median of 33%), though favorable opinions range from a low of roughly a quarter in Belgium (24%) and Germany (26%) to a high of about four-in-ten or more in the UK (41%) and Italy (45%).

“Many in Australia and Japan have an unfavorable opinion of the U.S., while South Korea stands out as the only country surveyed where a majority (59%) views the U.S. positively.

“The current survey shows a substantial dip in ratings of the U.S. since 2019. Japan saw the largest drop, with only 41% expressing a positive view in 2020, compared with 68% in 2019. Every other country surveyed in both years saw a decrease of between 12 and 18 percentage points since the previous year.”

The poll indicates that there are divergences within these populations on the basis of gender and ideology, but none of those differences have a substantial effect on the unfavorable ratings. But there is little question that US allies found greater respect for President Obama than for either Presidents Bush or Trump.

The handling of the pandemic appears to be overwhelmingly important to the image of the US in world affairs.

“Overall, few assess the American response to the coronavirus outbreak positively. In no country surveyed do more than a fifth think the U.S. has done at least a somewhat good job dealing with the virus, and a median of only 15% across the 13 countries polled consider the country’s handling of the virus to be effective.

“While positive assessments of the U.S. response to the coronavirus outbreak are scarce overall, in some countries, they are in the single digits: Only 6% in South Korea, 7% in Denmark and 9% in Germany think the U.S. has dealt well with the virus. Spaniards hold the most positive assessments of the American response, but even there, only one-in-five think the U.S. has handled the outbreak well.

“On the flip side, in every country surveyed, roughly eight-in-ten or more say the U.S. has handled the virus badly. And, in 11 of the 13 countries surveyed, half or more say the U.S. has done a very bad job dealing with the coronavirus outbreak.”

Such weakness suggests that the US is no longer regarded as a leader worth following. I suspect that the economic and military power of the US is still regarded as formidable, but few allies consider the US under a Trump presidency as a reliable or credible partner.

Posted September 15, 2020 by vferraro1971 in World Politics

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