The Cable

America’s Not First. It’s Third.

The United States slips behind France and the U.K. in this year’s soft-power ranking.

CORRECTION - US President Donald Trump (C), President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker (R) and French President Emmanuel Macron walk to the Hotel San Domenico during the Summit of the Heads of State and of Government of the G7, the group of most industrialized economies, plus the European Union, on May 26, 2017 in Sicily.
The leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the US and Italy will be joined by representatives of the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as well as teams from Ethiopia, Kenya, Niger, Nigeria and Tunisia during the summit from May 26 to 27, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Filippo MONTEFORTE / The erroneous mention[s] appearing in the metadata of this photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE                   has been modified in AFP systems in the following manner: [President of the European Council Donald Tusk] instead of [President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker]. Please immediately remove the erroneous mention[s] from all your online services and delete it (them) from your servers. If you have been authorized by AFP to distribute it (them) to third parties, please ensure that the same actions are carried out by them. Failure to promptly comply with these instructions will entail liability on your part for any continued or post notification usage. Therefore we thank you very much for all your attention and prompt action. We are sorry for the inconvenience this notification may cause and remain at your disposal for any further information you may require.        (Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)
CORRECTION - US President Donald Trump (C), President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker (R) and French President Emmanuel Macron walk to the Hotel San Domenico during the Summit of the Heads of State and of Government of the G7, the group of most industrialized economies, plus the European Union, on May 26, 2017 in Sicily. The leaders of Britain, Canada, France, Germany, Japan, the US and Italy will be joined by representatives of the European Union and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as well as teams from Ethiopia, Kenya, Niger, Nigeria and Tunisia during the summit from May 26 to 27, 2017. / AFP PHOTO / Filippo MONTEFORTE / The erroneous mention[s] appearing in the metadata of this photo by Filippo MONTEFORTE has been modified in AFP systems in the following manner: [President of the European Council Donald Tusk] instead of [President of the European Commission Jean-Claude Juncker]. Please immediately remove the erroneous mention[s] from all your online services and delete it (them) from your servers. If you have been authorized by AFP to distribute it (them) to third parties, please ensure that the same actions are carried out by them. Failure to promptly comply with these instructions will entail liability on your part for any continued or post notification usage. Therefore we thank you very much for all your attention and prompt action. We are sorry for the inconvenience this notification may cause and remain at your disposal for any further information you may require. (Photo credit should read FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images)

France has knocked the United States out of its top spot in a new annual ranking of countries in “soft power.”

The “Soft Power 30″ report, released Tuesday by Portland Communications, in partnership with the University of Southern California Center on Public Diplomacy, combines data and international polling to measure governmental commitment to issues such as freedom and global cultural reach, among other areas.

France has been in fourth and fifth place the last two years, but leapfrogged ahead this year. The report credits President Emmanuel Macron’s global outlook, his pro-business and pro-EU agenda, and his domestic and international popularity for the country’s climb to number one.

The United States’ fall to third place, behind the United Kingdom, is due to its promotion of nationalist rhetoric rather than international alliances, according to the report. The authors cite the U.S. decision to pull out of the Trans-Pacific Partnership and the Paris climate deal as evidence of this shift.

“The rankings offer yet another data point reporting a fall in America’s global reputation and influence,” Jonathan McClory, one of the authors of the report, said. “A reduction in American soft power ultimately means a diminished ability to lead on shaping global events.”

The report warns that the planned budget cuts to the State Department, and the lack of key appointments in government, is showing the United States’ weakness and undermining its global influence. Additionally, it warns that President Donald Trump’s “America First” slogan and ideology is working to isolate the United States, rather than prioritize it.

“Trump’s ‘America First’ doctrine has played poorly abroad, alienating allies, and damaging links with the rest of the world,” the report says.

The report also notes that most European countries have either improved or held their rankings, while Asian countries are generally increasing their soft power.

Though Soft Power 30 only lists the top 30 countries, the authors of the report believe there could be a lot of turnover to the list in the next year.

Photo credit: FILIPPO MONTEFORTE/AFP/Getty Images

Jesse Chase-Lubitz is an American Society of Magazine Editors intern at Foreign Policy. She is currently studying history and evolutionary biology of the human species at Columbia. Before that, she worked as a professional ballet dancer in Chicago and Austin.

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