Opinions of the United States and its place in global affairs have rebounded and global approval of the U.S. is high under President Joe Biden, who has stressed his willingness to make the United States a valuable and trusted player on the global stage once more in a stark about-face from several years of frayed international relations under former President Donald Trump.
According to a Pew Research Center survey based on data from nationally representative surveys of more than 16,000 adults in 16 advanced economies conducted over the phone from March to May, 75% of respondents are confident that Biden “do the right thing regarding world affairs,” compared with 17% for Trump last year.
The survey also indicates that the United States is back in the world’s good graces; 62% of respondents reported having a favorable view of the United States compared to 34% at the end of Trump’s term in office.
“In France, for example, just 31% expressed a positive opinion of the U.S. last year, matching the poor ratings from March 2003, at the height of U.S.-France tensions over the Iraq War,” Pew reports. This year, 65% see the U.S. positively, approaching the high ratings that characterized the Obama era. Improvements of 25 percentage points or more are also found in Germany, Japan, Italy, the Netherlands and Canada.”
Pew notes that “attitudes toward the U.S. vary considerably across the publics surveyed.” For example, only about half of Singaporean and Australian respondents reported having a favorable opinion of the U.S.; in New Zealand, that number is even lower (42%).
Still, many nations are critical of U.S. foreign policy.
“Although Biden’s more multilateral approach to foreign policy is welcomed, there is still a widespread perception that the U.S. mainly looks after its own interests in world affairs,” reads Pew’s report. “More than half in most of the publics surveyed say the U.S. does not take their interests into account when it is making foreign policy decisions, although fewer feel this way in Japan, Greece and Germany.”
The report (which you can read in its entirety HERE) comes as President Biden embarks on his first overseas trip since taking office.
In an op-ed published in The Washington Post on Sunday, Biden said his trip “is about realizing America’s renewed commitment to our allies and partners, and demonstrating the capacity of democracies to both meet the challenges and deter the threats of this new age.”
“Whether it is ending the covid-19 pandemic everywhere, meeting the demands of an accelerating climate crisis, or confronting the harmful activities of the governments of China and Russia, the United States must lead the world from a position of strength,” he wrote. “… And, as America’s economic recovery helps to propel the global economy, we will be stronger and more capable when we are flanked by nations that share our values and our vision for the future — by other democracies.”
Alan is a writer, editor, and news junkie based in New York.