How the US is Viewed around the World

The Pew Global Attitudes Project is curiously interesting: “a series of worldwide public opinion surveys that encompasses a broad array of subjects ranging from people’s assessments of their own lives to their views about the current state of the world and important issues of the day. More than 175,000 interviews in 55 countries have been conducted as part of the project’s work.” (Hat tip: Nitin.) Below is one of the opinion surveys found on the site.

Check out the responses to the question “Do you have a favorable or unfavorable view of the U.S.?” from various countries. Isn’t it surprising that Indians view the US favorably (76% positive) — even though the US government is at least mildly antagonistic towards India — and that the US government pours in billions of dollars worth of aid to Pakistan and yet only 16% of Pakistanis hold a favorable view of the US — and perhaps a majority hold it in deep contempt?

Even more surprising: French, Israelis, Canadians, Britishers, Mexicans, Germans, Japanese, Spaniards, Chinese, Russians — all are less favorable towards the US than are Indians.


Speaking for myself, I really love the US almost as much as India. And I like India a lot. I like living in the US more than I like living in India. I dislike the US government — there’s not been one in recent memory that I liked — and I think the present US government is at least as bad as the previous one (for different reasons, though.) I dislike — no, not dislike — I loathe the Indian government. I believe that India is a basket case because of its terrible governance. Nehru set the standards of misgovernance and subsequent Indian political leaders have attempted to outdo Nehru somewhat unsuccessfully.

Anyway, back to the Pew results. 79% of Nigerians look upon the US favorably. Is that good or bad considering that 43% of Nigerian Muslims consider suicide bombing to be sometimes/often justified?

Finally, here’s a bit about a book “America Against the World“:

The precipitous rise in anti-Americanism is startling. To understand why the world has turned against the United States, the Pew Research Center, under the leadership of Andrew Kohut, has undertaken an unprecedented survey of world opinion–more than 91,000 respondents in fifty nations. In America Against the World, Kohut and Bruce Stokes unveil the sobering and surprising findings.

America’s image is at a low ebb: where once it was considered the champion of democracy, America is now seen as a self-absorbed, militant hyperpower. More than 70 percent of non-Americans say that the world would be improved if America faced a rival military power, and about half the citizens of Lebanon, Jordan, and Morocco think that suicide attacks on Americans in Iraq are justified.

Where does this anti-Americanism come from? Kohut and Stokes find that what pushed the world away is American exceptionalism–our individualism and our go-it-alone attitude. And it doesn’t help that Americans’ pervasive religiosity and deep patriotism are often exaggerated by America’s critics.

Author: Atanu Dey


5 thoughts on “How the US is Viewed around the World”

  1. This:

    1. America is now seen as a self-absorbed, militant hyperpower.

    and this:

    2. what pushed the world away is American exceptionalism–our individualism and our go-it-alone attitude.

    are completely at odds. The first says “They hate our warmongering”, the second says “They hate our freedom”. How can Kohut and Stokes find both ways?

    Personally, I’m inclined to think that the second statement is a feel-good cop-out similar to “They’re just jealous of our freedom and our success”.

    The first statement is more realistic, similar to “they hate us because we caused the death of 500,000 Iraqis just to take their oil”.


  2. I’d say Indians are either unaware or ignore the political equation our country has with the US.
    Popularity of the US is probably due to aspiration to go and live there, and the fact that our highly respected (by us) IT industry has grown largely due to US outsourcing.
    As for Pakistan, how much of the aid being poured in has actually reached the average Pakistani? Add to that the mix of rabid mullahs preaching hatred, the general illiteracy of the population and it’s not surprising to see the result.


  3. I don’t know why but I don’t have a positive impression about the US. So, really need to gather more facts, to confirm or reject my attitude!

    Destination Infinity


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