Allies' view of US continues to wane in past year: Poll

Global respondents trust Putin, Xi more than Trump as leader

BERLIN • The image of the United States has deteriorated further among its traditional allies after a year in which President Donald Trump ratcheted up verbal attacks on countries like Canada and Germany, a leading survey has found.

The poll of 25 nations by the Pew Research Centre also showed that respondents from across the globe have less confidence in Mr Trump's ability to lead than they do in Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

Since taking office in January last year, Mr Trump has pulled the US out of international agreements like the Paris climate accord and Iran nuclear deal, cosied up to authoritarian leaders like Mr Putin and North Korean leader Kim Jong Un, and criticised his neighbours and North Atlantic Treaty Organisation (Nato) allies.

In June, after a Group of Seven summit in Canada, Mr Trump refused to sign a joint statement with US allies, and derided his host, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, as "very dishonest and weak". He has repeatedly attacked Germany for its trade surplus, low defence spending and reliance on Russian gas.

Last week, during a speech at the United Nations General Assembly in New York, Mr Trump drew laughter from world leaders when he said he has achieved more in his two years in the White House than almost any other US administration in history.

The survey showed that the image of the US, which took a big hit last year - Mr Trump's first year in office - continued to deteriorate in many countries this year, particularly in Europe.

Just 30 per cent of Germans have a favourable view of the US, down five points from last year and the lowest score in the entire survey after Russia, with 26 per cent.

Only 38 per cent of French and 39 per cent of Canadians said they had a positive view of the US, both down from last year. Mexico inched up slightly to 32 per cent. The countries with the most positive views of the US were Israel, the Philippines and South Korea, all at 80 per cent or above.

Across all countries, the US got positive marks, with 50 per cent saying they had a positive view, compared with 43 per cent who were negative.

Just 7 per cent of Spanish, 9 per cent of French and 10 per cent of Germans said they had confidence in Mr Trump's leadership. In 20 of the 25 countries surveyed, a majority said they had no confidence in Mr Trump.

Across all countries, an average of 27 per cent of respondents said they had confidence in Mr Trump. That compared unfavourably to Mr Putin, on 30 per cent, and Mr Xi, on 34 per cent.

 
 
 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel was the only leader in whom the majority of those surveyed - 52 per cent - expressed confidence. French President Emmanuel Macron was just behind at 46 per cent.

Despite Mr Trump's low ratings, 63 per cent of respondents said the world was better off with the US as the leading power, compared with 19 per cent who preferred China in that role.

US allies took a dim view of the Trump administration's position on civil liberties, with majorities in Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Australia and Mexico saying the government did not respect the personal freedoms of its people.

Reflecting Mr Trump's "America First" stance, substantial majorities in 19 of the 25 countries surveyed said the US did not take their interests into account when making international policy.

The survey was conducted between May and August, and based on interviews with more than 900 people in each of the surveyed countries.

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 03, 2018, with the headline 'Allies' view of US continues to wane in past year: Poll'. Print Edition | Subscribe