What the World Thinks of the U.S.

When you think of the land of the free, what comes to mind? Red, white and blue? Independence? Police brutality? Gun violence? Over the course of this year, the loss of life, whether to the coronavirus or to racism, has changed the way many of us view the United States of America. It has changed the way other countries view us as well.

According to Pew Research Center, the image of the U.S. has drastically decreased this year due to the way the current administration has dealt with, or failed to deal with, COVID-19.

The confidence in the United States had already fallen after Donald Trump was elected as president. But in nearly two decades of conducting research regarding the view’s countries hold for one another, Pew Research concluded that the global opinion of the U.S. is at lowest point they have ever recorded. In France and Germany, opinions haven’t been this low since the height of tensions during the Iraq war.

The statistics found by Pew Research found that the median rating of the response to the coronavirus is 15%. That statistic mostly comes from the right-wing citizens in the countries polled. The only country with a view of the United States above 50% is South Korea, and that view also dropped significantly because of how the U.S. is handling the COVID-19 situation. Additionally, Trump is disliked more than Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Although the countries surveyed were not asked about their opinions on social justice in the U.S., all of the countries polled have experienced protests in response to the Black Lives Matter movement. The chart above illustrates the drop experiences in 2018, after the police killing of Michael Brown. Pew Research Center also has other informative stats and charts regarding the global reaction to the United States failure with the coronavirus.

This brings in the big question: if countries don’t respect the United States now, what will happen if Trump gets reelected? Have we already severed ties that we won’t be able to mend for years to come? Will United States citizens be individually and directly affected? Other countries have extremely low confidence in Trump, but does that affect the confidence United States voters have in him as well?   

For those of you who watched or read up on the vice-presidential debate last week, foreign policy was discussed. Senator Kamala Harris brought up the global stance the United States holds, and how the foreign policy we engage in are like relationships. “You got to keep your word to your friends. Got to be loyal to your friends. People who’ve stood with you, you got to stand with them” Harris said, “You got to know who your adversaries are and keep them in check. But what we have seen with Donald Trump is that he has betrayed our friends and embraced dictators around the world.”

This November, names aren’t the only things on the ballot. Access to healthcare is on the ballot. Reproductive rights are on the ballot. Safety from COVID-19 is on the ballot. Reducing our effect on climate change is in on the ballot. And now we know that our relationships with other countries is on the ballot, too.