From 24/7 Wall St.:Disapproval of U.S. leadership had no statistical improvement last year, according to the latest U.S.-Global Leadership Project, a partnership between Meridian International Center and Gallup. Of those foreign citizens surveyed by Gallup in 130 countries, 25% disapproved of the job performance of President Obama’s administration.
While citizens around the world are more inclined to think highly of our leadership than not, there are some parts of the world where residents generally have a poor impression of the United States. In seven nations, more than 60% of those surveyed disapproved of the current administration. In Pakistan, that number was nearly 80%. Based on the recent survey, 24/7 Wall St. reviewed the 10 countries that hate America the most.
Not surprisingly, most of the countries that appear on this list are located in the Middle East, where the United States has long struggled to maintain positive diplomatic relations. Among the leading factors that have complicated our image in the region is the “war on terror,” which includes the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and our penetration of Pakistani airspace to assassinate Osama bin Laden. All three of these nations had among the highest levels of disapproval of U.S. leadership.
Our relatively strong diplomatic relationship with Israel has also resulted in strained relationships between the U.S. and these countries. The Palestinian territories, neighboring Lebanon, and Iran, disapprove of U.S.’s foreign policy. Each of these continue to have volatile relationships with Israel as well.
However, not every country that disapproves of U.S. policies is in the Middle East. One that stands out is Greece, where approval has fallen dramatically over the past five years, coinciding with the country’s economic tailspin.
In an interview with 24/7 Wall St., deputy director of Gallup’s world poll, Jon Clifton, explained why Greece’s negative perception of the United States might be so bad. According to Clifton, the country had one the worst levels of negative emotions overall. “It makes you wonder if that creeps into their views of overall global leadership,” Clifton said, “because things are so tough in Greece right now.”
This trend is not confined to Greece. All of the countries with the highest disapproval of the U.S. government suffer from poor economic conditions. Most have high levels of poverty and, according to a review of Gallup polls, they also have among the worst levels of economic and social well-being in the world. They have high levels of political instability and, in many cases, high levels of terrorism as well.
It is the poor economic and social conditions in these countries themselves that may contribute to the low approval of American leadership, says Meridian International Center’s president and CEO, former U.N. Ambassador for Special Political Affairs Stuart Holliday. The United States, a symbol of privileged first-world free-market capitalism, is often used as a scapegoat by the leaders of developing nations to “deflect attention away from their own challenges.” “There is a perception,” Holliday added, “that the United States could fix these problems if they wanted to.”
To determine the countries that hate America most, 24/7 Wall St. relied data from The U.S.-Global Leadership Project, a partnership between Gallup and the Meridian International Center. Gallup also provided data from a number of other indices it produced through polling in 2011. Additional economic information came from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), and data are for the most recently available year. IMF figures on GDP per capita are given at purchasing-power-parity in order to show real differences in wealth. Life expectancy comes from the World Bank and is for the most recently available year.