- By Emily TamkinEmily Tamkin is a staff writer at Foreign Policy. She writes for FP’s The Cable, a real-time take on the news in Washington and the wider world. She has been at FP since the fall of 2016, before which she was an associate editor at New America, a nonpartisan think tank in Washington. She has a B.A. in Russian literature from Columbia University, an M.Phil. in Russian and East European studies from the University of Oxford, and studied Soviet dissidence in archival centers in Moscow, Tbilisi, and, on a Fulbright, in Bremen — all of which means that at FP, she writes when she can on Russia and Central and Eastern Europe.
“We don’t want other leaders and other countries laughing at us any more,” U.S. President Donald Trump said in a speech announcing his intention to withdraw the United States from the Paris climate agreement earlier this month. “And they won’t be. They won’t be.”
Whether or not other nations respect the United States more is up for debate, but they certainly seem to be taking a dimmer view of the country under Trump’s leadership. The survey of 37 countries shows that only 49 percent take a favorable view of the United States, compared with 64 percent at the end of U.S. President Barack Obama’s time in office.
The change was particularly striking when it came to America’s neighbors and allies. Only 30 percent of those polled in Mexico took a favorable view of the United States, compared with 66 percent at the end of the Obama years. Favorable Canadian views plunged from 65 to 43 percent, while only 35 percent of Germans now look on America warmly, compared to 57 percent in the final days of Obama (among European countries, Germany, Spain, and the Netherlands take the most unfavorable view of the United States, and the percentage of Spaniards who view the United States very unfavorably more than tripled from 7 to 23 percent). Favorable Japanese views fell 15 percentage points (from 72 to 57), while only 50 percent of Brits, down from 61 percent, consider the United States positively.
It isn’t all bad news for Americans. Young people generally view the United States more favorably than their elders. Seven-two percent of young Brazilians are likely to see the United States favorably, compared to just 33 percent of those age 50 and older (Pew notes, “The young-old generation gap is also quite large in Vietnam, France, Hungary, the Netherlands and Mexico.”) And, in a number of countries, men see the United States considerably more favorably than women — it’s a 20 percentage point difference (58 percent and 38 percent, respectively) in Australia.
And there is one country that regards the United States more favorably under Trump. Only 15 percent in Russia took a favorable view of America in the waning days of Obama — today, 41 percent do.
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