The Well-Liked Hegemon, Still
July 18, 2014 10 Comments
You won’t be surprised to know that I think polling to be a very limited resource for leaders and managers. But it does have the advantage of giving us an idea of what others think, and so it has value, at least when it is done well. I’m a pure consumer, I don’t really know what goes into making a reliable poll but, experience suggests that Pew does a reasonable job. And they have recently released a poll on how the USA is perceived in the world. I found it pretty interesting, and bet you would too. The complete poll is here, but I’ll talk a bit about what struck me.
First, they don’t like our monitoring of private citizens, which seems reasonable, really, since the poll says Americans don’t like it either. They also don’t think we should spy on other countries leaders and there I mildly disagree with them, it’s kind of important to know what they are planning.
The really interesting thing is that nearly everybody agrees that it is OK to spy on suspected terrorists, and that it is not OK to spy on American citizens, that’s true with Americans, and it’s true with pretty much everybody else, as well
What we do that almost no one likes (only bare majorities in the US, Israel, and Kenya) is our use of drones to attack suspected terrorists. I don’t know but I know for me, I think we are a bit too indiscriminate in target selection, and it is not very respectful of other nation’s sovereignty. In other words, I don’t much like it either, except maybe in clear-cut cases.
What I don’t understand completely is that worldwide, or at least 44 nations, 56% of the respondents think Obama is doing an OK job and is likely to do the right thing. But then, I am not exactly an unbiased observer here, and probably care much more about the Constitution than the average world citizen. I note that his rating is declining, just not as precipitously as it is here.
The Middle East, is the one area in the world, where we are not very well liked, to quote the poll.
“The Middle East is the clear exception. China’s favorability in the region is not especially high, but is higher than that for the U.S. Anti-Americanism has been common in many Middle Eastern nations throughout the Obama presidency, as was the case during the George W. Bush-era. And again this year some of the lowest ratings for the U.S. are found in the region. Only 19% of Turks and 12% of Jordanians offer a favorable opinion of the U.S., and at 10% Egypt gives the U.S. its lowest rating in the survey.”
We are pretty much liked better than China though, everywhere but the Middle East, which is rather heartwarming, to a point, anyway.
One thing that is highlighted pretty heavily here is that China’s neighbors don’t like her very much. This map pretty much tells the story.
Remember that Pakistan has a treaty relationship with China, but everybody else is a bit nervous.
This chart pretty much goes with that
OK, guys, if you are anywhere my age, did you ever think you would see a reputable poll saying that Vietnam considers the US its greatest ally? Tells you a lot, I think, about how Asia views China.
This is getting a little long, so I’ll just give you a couple more, and you can follow the link (above)
Who loves us, baby?
It looks to me (and the world, as well) that we better get our economic act together if we are going to remain the leading economic superpower. I would add to that it will be very difficult to retain our influence on world events, if we don’t. We got to where we are by strong freedom loving individual efforts, and that is the only way we will get back.
Personally, i think we need to start repairing our ties with India, which were quite close under George W. Bush but that Obama has let fray rather badly. India, which is pretty much an English-speaking, common law observing, counterweight to China, would be an ideal partner for us in Asia. Sure, it has some ethnic and religious problems, but we don’t?
So while it’s not exactly good news here, It could be a lot worse, and it does give us some idea of what we need to work on.