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Most people in China would like to see their country's political system become more like America's over the next 2 decades. Japanese and Germans, not so much.

Expand chart
Data: Eurasia Group Foundation; Chart: Harry Stevens/Axios

The big picture: Opinions of the U.S. have fallen dramatically around the world, due in large part to suspicion of the man in the Oval Office. But the Eurasia Group Foundation probed a deeper question: Do countries still see American democracy as a model? The answers were wide-ranging, and surprising.

The view from China:

  • Most Chinese respondents have either a somewhat (41%) or very (17%) positive view of the U.S. Far fewer feel very (9%) or somewhat (8%) unfavorable.
  • When it comes to American democracy, though, just 1% are very favorable and 5% very unfavorable. Most are in the middle — either somewhat favorable (42%) or neutral (40%).
  • However, 70% of respondents believe the U.S. should “focus on the flaws in its own political system instead of focusing on the political systems of other countries." Most also want a "less assertive" U.S. foreign policy.

Between the lines: At a time when Washington and Beijing are gearing up for a new Cold War, it's counterintuitive to find that most Chinese actually feel the U.S. political and economic systems set “a positive example for the world.”

  • But, but, but: When given a choice of 15 countries and asked which has the best political system, Chinese respondents rank the U.S. second. Far out ahead is China itself.

Germans have strikingly negative views of the U.S., and while that trend is driven in part by antipathy toward Trump, it seems to go deeper.

  • Just 19% say the U.S. has made the world a better place over the past 20 years, and only 23% think U.S. democracy is a good example for the world.

In India, meanwhile, overwhelming majorities have favorable views of the U.S. (76%) and U.S. democracy (86%).

  • Nigerians, Poles and Brazilians all have similarly pro-U.S. views.
  • For Egyptians, the picture is mixed — the U.S. political system is viewed more favorably than America itself.

Japan might be the most remarkable of all. Only 2% have highly favorable views of the U.S. or U.S. democracy, and just 2% want the Japanese political system to become much more like America's.

  • On all of those questions, the most popular response was "neutral."
  • As to America's global influence over the past 20 years, Japanese respondents were about evenly divided over whether it's been positive, negative or made “little or no difference.”
  • "This is notable considering that, since the end of World War II, the United States has been the primary guarantor of Japanese security and that the two countries remain close allies today," report author Mark Hannah writes.

The bottom line: Across the 8 countries, the most-cited reasons for unfavorable views of the U.S. were opposition to Trump, U.S. interventions abroad and America's economic inequality.

  • People who had visited the U.S., knew people living there, or consumed American news and popular culture were far more likely to view the U.S. favorably. That underlines the importance of "attraction" rather than "promotion" in spreading democracy, Eurasia Group president Ian Bremmer writes.

Go deeper

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

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Illustration: Brendan Lynch/Axios

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  3. Politics: Biden concedes U.S. should have done more testing — Arizona says it "will not be intimidated" by Biden on anti-mask school policies — Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers.
  4. World: American Airlines flight to London forced to turn around over mask dispute — WHO: COVID health emergency could end this year — Greece imposes vaccine mandate for people 60 and older — Austria approves COVID vaccine mandate for adults.
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Arizona governor sues Biden administration over COVID funds tied to mandates

A teacher prepares a hallway barrier to help students maintain social distancing at John B. Wright Elementary School in Tucson, Arizona, on Aug. 14, 2020. Photo: Cheney Orr/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) filed a lawsuit Friday against the Biden administration for ordering the state to stop allocating federal COVID relief funds to schools that don't comply with public health recommendations such as masking, the Arizona Republic reports.

Why it matters: The Treasury Department said last week that the state would have to pay back the money if Ducey does not redesignate the $173 million programs to ensure they don't "undermine efforts to stop the spread of COVID-19."

Federal judge blocks Biden's vaccine mandate for federal workers

President Biden speaking from Eisenhower Executive Office Building on Jan. 21. Photo: Yuri Gripas/Abaca/Bloomberg via Getty Images

A federal judge in Texas blocked the Biden administration from enforcing its coronavirus vaccine mandate for federal workers on Friday, citing the outcome of last week's Supreme Court ruling that nullified the administration's vaccine-or-test requirement for large employers.

Why it matters: It's a blow to President Biden's efforts to increase the U.S.' vaccination rates, though much of the federal workforce has already been vaccinated against the virus.