Oct 5, 2018

Allies sour on U.S. but fear China more

Expand chart
Adapted from Pew Research Center; Note: Survey of 25 countries. "Don't know", "Both", and "Neither" responses not shown; Axios Visuals

Many of America's closest allies tend to view China more favorably than the U.S. and have more confidence in Xi Jinping than Donald Trump, according to an annual survey from the Pew Research Center. But when asked whether the world would be better off with the U.S. or China as the leading global power, respondents overwhelmingly choose the U.S.

Why it matters: The U.S. is far less popular around the world than it was before Trump took office, and the decline has been particularly sharp in countries like the U.K., Germany and Canada. That stands to benefit America's rivals for global influence, but these numbers reveal widespread wariness of a China-led world.

By the numbers ...

  • Across the 25 countries polled, just 27% of respondents on average have confidence in Trump to "do the right thing regarding world affairs," compared to 34% for Xi. 
    • Even Russia's Vladimir Putin wins more confidence than Trump — he came in at 30%.
    • All three lag far behind Germany's Angela Merkel (52%) and France's Emmanuel Macron (46%).
  • The U.S. is viewed more favorably than China by a narrow margin (50% vs. 45%) across the 25 countries. But it is China that comes out narrowly ahead among allies like Canada, Germany and France.
    • The U.S. is viewed far more favorably than China in some Asian countries — particularly Japan, where just 17% have a favorable view of China. China polls higher in Latin America.
  • Pew also asked respondents who they thought the world's leading economic power was. The U.S. (39%) was the top answer, followed by China (34%). 
    • But when asked whether countries have become more or less influential over the past decade, 70% said China compared to 31% for the U.S.

Worth noting: Pew also asked whether respondents thought the U.S. and China respect the "personal freedoms" of their citizens. The vast majority said China does not, except in Africa, where majorities in all four countries polled believe China does respect personal liberties.

Go deeper

Pew: Across 33 countries, 64% of people have no confidence in Trump

Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan (L), President Donald Trump (C) and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammad Bin Salman at the G20 summit. Photo: Metin Aktas/Anadolu Agency/Getty Images

64% of people worldwide said they do not have confidence in President Trump to do the right thing on the global stage, while only 29% said they trust him, according to a Pew survey of 36,923 respondents conducted in 33 countries.

Why it matters: The world is watching as tensions between the U.S. and Iran flare in the wake of the killing of Iranian Gen. Qasem Soleimani — threatening an all-out war that could further destabilize the Middle East. Amid other global threats, North Korea has also abandoned a self-imposed moratorium on nuclear weapons testing after negotiations with the U.S. broke down.

Go deeperArrowJan 8, 2020

We're entering a new golden age of China journalism

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

A growing number of investigative journalists and news organizations around the world are investing more resources in covering China from afar.

Why it matters: The Chinese Communist Party claims China's rise offers the world an alternative to western leadership and values. In the coming decade, journalism is vital to understanding exactly what kind of global leader China will be.

Go deeperArrowJan 7, 2020 - World

Treasury Department drops China's currency manipulator designation

Trump and Chinese President Xi Jingping. Photo: BRENDAN SMIALOWSKI/AFP via Getty Images.

The Treasury Department announced Monday that China will no longer be designated as a currency manipulator, just two days before President Trump and Vice Premier Liu He are set to sign "phase one" of a long-awaited trade deal, CNBC reports.

Why it matters, per Axios' Felix Salmon: China never fit the textbook definition of being a currency manipulator. The decision to apply the label was a political one — as was the decision to remove it.

Go deeperArrowJan 13, 2020