According to a recent poll by Ipsos MORI, a market research group, Canada is seen as having the most positive impact in the world, followed by Australia, Germany, France, and the United Kingdom. The study involved around 18,000 respondents from 25 nations, including those subject to the poll.
Only 40% of respondents think the U.S. has a positive global influence, down by 24 points since last year’s survey (which had asked which country would have a positive influence in the next decade).
Note that this less than emerging powers China and India (at 49% and 53% respectively) and not that far ahead of Russia (35%).
Respondents from almost every country that was polled had a worse view of U.S. influence than the previous year; Argentina, Belgium, Spain, and South Korea saw some of the biggest drops, by over 30 percentage points. Only New Zealand and Serbia were unchanged in their (already) fairly low opinion.
India, Brazil, Poland, and South Africa retained highest approval rating for the U.S., being the only countries (besides the U.S. itself) where more than half of respondents had a favorable view (even if it was less than last year).
Interestingly, China saw the lowest dip from 2016, at just 3%, with close to half its respondents holding a good view of American influence.
The poll also included international organizations, which are playing an increasingly visible and decisive role in our globalized era.
It is interesting that the United Nations, which is so often maligned as corrupt and incompetent, actually fares a lot better than the individual nations states that comprise. I suspect that living in the U.S. my whole life has normalized a widespread contempt for the U.N. that is almost uniquely American; most of the world seems to think otherwise, which may have something to do with how the organization — despite its faults and shortcomings in areas like peacekeeping — has a fairly good track record in pioneering socioeconomic projects (such as the eradication of smallpox and the recent discovery of an ebola vaccine). Or perhaps people see the U.N. as less threatening precisely because it is so toothless.
In any event, it is important to stress that these results reflect perceptions of these nations and organizations, not necessarily the reality of their positive influence. It goes to show that nation-states (and even groups of nation-states), like individuals, can and do engage in reputation management. From official tourism boards that promote the beauty and appeal of the country, to state-backed media outlets, governments are doing everything they can to win over a global constituency. It will be interesting to see how far these national brands can go on the world stage. Will nations with a more positive image be more likely to get their way in U.N. votes or trade deals? Will they manage to attract more of the world’s talent? How far can it go? What are your thoughts?
Source: World Economic Forum