So much for “America first.”
It should come as no surprise, but since Donald Trump took office one year ago, the world’s confidence in America’s leadership has declined.
According to a new Gallup poll, the United States now ranks below China in worldwide approval ratings.
Under former president Barack Obama, that rating was 48%.
It is now 30%–after only one year.
This is the lowest level Gallup has recorded since instituting the global leadership poll ten years ago.
A separate Gallup survey reports Trump with the lowest average approval rating of any elected president in his first year.
Who is the new global leader?
China is second.
America’s standing collapsed by 10 or more percentage points in just under half the world’s countries, with some of the biggest losses coming from allies in western Europe, Australia, and Latin America.
One of the most significant disappointments comes from the United Kingdom–26 percentage points.
Gallup’s managing partner, Jon Clifton, stated:
“This year marks a significant change in our trends. Only 30% of the world, on average, approves of the job performance of the US’s leadership, down from 48% in 2016. In fact, more people now disapprove of US leadership than approve. This historic low puts the US’s leadership approval rating on par with China’s and sets a new bar for disapproval.”
In his attempts to “make America great again,” Trump withdrew the U.S. from pivotal multilateral agreements like the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Paris Climate Accords, pulled out of talks about new trade deals, and threatened to step away from the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) with Canada and Mexico.
There are four countries in which our standing improved, though–Belarus, Israel, Macedonia, and Liberia.
With them we climbed 10%.
There was one other time the U.S. fell below China–2008, the final year of George W. Bush’s presidency.
But both countries were more popular then than now.
The Gallup report said:
“It is too early in Trump’s presidency to deem his ‘America first’ foreign policy a success or failure. However, it is clear that based on the trajectory of what the world thinks of the US, many of the US alliances and partnerships that the Trump administration considers a ‘great strength’ are potentially at risk.”
Daniel Drezner, Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy professor, said:
“Elected leaders care what their publics think about the United States. These numbers will make it harder for those leaders to publicly cooperate with the Trump administration – even when it might be in their interest to do so.”
More conservative opinion is less critical, however.
Mike Gonzalez from the conservative think tank the Heritage Foundation, argued:
“It is difficult to interpret this polling result as anything other than a visceral reaction to Donald Trump. In reality, this administration has devoted itself to renewing and rebuilding alliances which had been neglected for years, from Great Britain to Japan to various partners in eastern Europe.
“While China has consistently attempted to expand its global reach, it still has no soft power – worldwide, there is no Chinese version of blue jeans, cinema, TV shows, way of life, music, and the like. There are no 700 million people wanting to move to China. President Xi’s ‘Chinese Dream’ is a transparent attempt to mimic the American model.”
Regardless, this doesn’t look like making America “great” again.
Image credit: Forbes