Germany is the most admired country in the world for the third year running, leaving the US in a tight battle for distant second place with China and Russia, according to a new global leadership poll.
The annual Gallup poll, conducted last year, casts more doubt on US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s claim on Friday that the US was “perfectly positioned” to lead the free world in a new ideological rivalry with the Chinese Communist Party.
The US had a 33 percent global approval rating for last year, just 1 percentage point ahead of China and 3 percent ahead of Russia.
Germany outshines all three by a long stretch, with a 44 percent rating.
The survey of 1,000 adults in each of 135 countries was carried out before the COVID-19 outbreak began.
Washington’s global standing could suffer even further in light of its mismanagement of the pandemic, which has left the US as one of the worst hotspots for the disease.
US President Donald Trump has frequently claimed that he has made the US respected again in the world, but the poll figures suggest the opposite.
The US was the most admired country in the world for every year former US president Barack Obama’s administration except one (when it came a close second to Germany in 2011), but then its popularity plummeted 18 percentage points after Trump took office, recovering marginally after that at just over 30 percent.
“When you read the latest results in this report on how the world rates the leadership of major global powers, the leaders who presented the case for the most certainty did the best,” Gallup’s editor-in-chief Mohamed Younis said.
“Longtime German Chancellor Angela Merkel, loved or hated, has been one of the most predictable leaders in highly uncertain times in both Europe and the global order,” he said.
COVID-19 could erode the US’ stature even more, he said.
“The image of US leadership in particular could seriously suffer as the globe watches US states and the federal government struggle to get infection rates under control,” he said.
US leadership approval is at its lowest among the country’s traditional allies in Europe, where 61 percent disapprove of its performance and just 24 percent approve. In the UK, the figures are 65 percent disapprove — 25 percent approve, with a similar outcome in France.
In Germany, US stature is even worse: 78 percent disapprove and only 12 percent admire the leadership coming from Washington.
In Australia too, there was deep skepticism about the US, with 67 percent disapproving compared with 23 percent approval.
The only continent where the US has maintained an overall positive image is Africa, where a bare majority of 52 percent approved its conduct, but that too is way down from the 85 percent backing Africans gave to the US in 2009, just after Obama’s election.
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