Not so Germany, China and Russia
March 27, 2019
Like the above diagram, it looks dark. For the US. Perhaps that’s the reason you have not seen it on the front pages of the Western mainstream press? Not only does this remarkable Gallup survey – made in the US – tell that Germany’s leadership, i.e. Chancellor Merkel, is the most highly approved by others in terms of leadership. Congratulations to the Chancellor, so well deserved!
It also tells that the approval rates turn steadily upward for the two countries which the U.S. – bizarre as it is since they would both make great partners – constantly perceives as enemies: China and Russia.
You can find a lot of very interesting and precise poll results for the period 2007-2018 pertaining to all the world’s regions in the report, “American First?” Rating World Leaders: 2019.
Above you see the summary ratings for the world, based on more than 130 countries.
Here is the rating that the Europeans do – where you’ll see that Chinese leadership is viewed more favourably and less negatively than that of the US!
Germany is a clear leader among these four (Gallup has not measured the approval rate of, say, France or the UK). China is the second most approved, 3 percentage point before the – assumed beloved – transatlantic partner, the United States. And in Europe as a whole there is just a tiny 3 percentage points difference to Russia, the arch enemy of NATO!
Further, more people dis-approves of the US and Russia than of China – which may be explained to some extent by a higher “Don’t Know” rating for China than for the others.
Or put it this way: There are only two countries in Europe in which US leadership performance is approved by more than 50%, namely Kosovo with 80% of the people and Albania with 69%. All other countries show disapproving perceptions of the US – e.g. UK 64%, Spain 73%, Netherlands 77%, Germany 73%, Austria 76%, and Norway 87%!
One may of course turn down the validity of such surveys. Being a sociologist, I am not unaware of how difficult such measurements can be and what external factors may influence quantitative results – such as what happened in the world during the very days respondents made their ratings – or how one establishes a representative sample.
That said, the same institute reports results for the same survey questions over as long a period as 11 years. And the trends in different regions show marked similarities. So, it’s not that easy to just say that we shouldn’t care about such “sociometric” analyses.
You may look through the report – which is well written and quite easy to read – to see how your own countrywomen and men rate the four countries. As a Danish-born scholar I found it highly interesting that one of NATO’s most US-submissive, permanently US-obedient countris, Denmark, has only 31% approving of the US leadership performance and no less than 65% disapproving – the latter one of the highest in the world.
And in Sweden where I have lived most of my life and witnessed how closely the foreign policy establishment – blindly and as a stealth, incremental operation set in motion after the murder of PM Olof Palme in 1986 – has moved the country towards NATO membership, we find only 13% approving and 66% disapproving of the US leadership performance.
Where is Russia? About the same profile as Sweden: 11% approving of the US, 60% disapproving.
And, you may ask: Where are the highest disapproval ratings region-by-region? Norway (!) with 87%, Canada 79%, Iran 85% and Libya 66%.
Given all the pro-US media images of the world, the uncritical coverage of all US-led wars and the role of US cultural influence upon Europe since 1945 – not to mention the promotion of a new Cold War attitude against Russia – some people ought to ask themselves, after having studied this Gallup report: What has gone so madly wrong for the US and its image creation/propaganda when even the allies in Europe disapprove of it and China’s and Russia’s global and European approval is steadily rising over the last 4-5 years?
One may indeed wonder whether the Trump administration – and the President himself – would bother. It’s seems to be a closed circle and, increasingly, a serious case of what social psychologist Irving Janis calls “group think” in his classical study from 1972.
Another defence mechanism would be denial, or “they don’t understand us – how good we actually are”.
In the best of cases, the people in the Oval Office will look at the places where the US has the highest leadership region-wise approval: Kosovo with 80%, Dominican Republic 54%, Israel 67% (surprisingly low and with 23% disapproving) and Togo 72%.
And feel convinced that they are on the right track…
Download the report directly above and read Gallup’s intro here