From the time Donald Trump began campaigning for president, one of his favorite lines was that “the world is laughing at us.” After he became president, he kept to this theme, claiming that the world – namely our allies through NATO – were taking advantage of us and needed to pay more in exchange for security. This resonates with his base because they largely share Trump’s sentiment – an irrational fear of being laughed at and treated as inferior. The reality, however, is that after Trump was elected, America’s reputation abroad largely took a turn for the worse, as the country that was admired for its support of democracy across the globe was now helmed by an administration that had very little regard for democracy.
When Trump talked about America being respected again, he really meant feared, since that’s largely how his brain processes what respect is – as he alienated the country from allies like Germany and the United Kingdom and cozied up to fellow megalomaniacs like Vladimir Putin and the Saudi Crown Prince. Although it may take a considerable amount of time to rebuild our partnerships with much of Europe and our other allies, the good news is that already America’s favorability rating is beginning to show considerable improvement – according to a new poll by Morning Consult. Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Mexico, South Korea, Spain, and the United Kingdom all reported having more favorable views of the United States in the wake of the 2020 election.
While France went up over 30 points in its view of the states, the only two countries surveyed whose favorability of America dropped were Russia and China. Despite Trump’s desperate attempt to portray Biden as being soft on China, the numbers suggest the opposite. However the next few days shape up, it ought to be clear that the world is watching when we vote. It’s about more than our conscience – it determines the balance of a peaceful, global society and whether or not we keep it.
James Sullivan is the assistant editor of Brain World Magazine and an advocate of science-based policy making