Jun 11, 2018

Closest allies sour on U.S.

Dave Lawler, author of World

On a leader-to-leader level, relationships between the U.S. and its most powerful allies are in tatters. That much is clear when a senior U.S. official declares "there's a special place in hell" for the prime minister of Canada. Canada!

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Data: Pew Research Center; Chart: Andrew Witherspoon/Axios

The bigger picture: Antipathy for the U.S. in allied countries extends far beyond those leaders, and it's spiking under Trump. The U.S. has historically been the de facto leader within its strategic alliances, but an unpopular leader can quickly become a bully. The G7 summit showed the limits to that approach.

  • Early in George W. Bush's tenure, and particularly after 9/11, there was considerable goodwill toward the U.S. among the other global powers. That evaporated during the Iraq War and hit worrying lows (30% in Germany, 39% in France) before Bush left office.
  • After the election of Barack Obama, views of the U.S. rebounded, dipping in Europe over time before ticking up again late in his tenure. The exception was Russia, which grew far more hostile to the U.S.
  • When President Trump came into office, the approval numbers fell off a cliff except, again, in Russia. The 2018 numbers could be even lower.

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