Dec 12, 2019

Where the U.S. ranks as a top ally — or top threat — around the world

Illustration:Rebecca Zisser/Axios

Many countries around the world view the U.S. as a vital partner — and as a potential threat to them, according to a survey of 18 countries from Pew.

Why it matters: The data is a reflection of America's superpower status. But while American power is still respected, polls also show global views of the U.S. growing frostier in the Trump era.

In 14 of 18 countries polled, the U.S. ranked first as top ally:

  • Israel (82% chose the U.S.), South Korea (71%), Philippines (64%), Japan (63%), Canada (46%), Australia (38%), Kenya (35%), Brazil (32%), Nigeria (27%), Mexico (27%), South Africa (24%), India (21%), Indonesia (16%).
  • The exceptions were Lebanon (France came first), Tunisia (Algeria), Turkey (Azerbaijan), and the U.S. itself (U.K. first, with 31%).
  • China didn't finish first anywhere, but narrowly trailed the U.S. in Nigeria, Kenya and South Africa. That appears to be a recent phenomenon. In 2007, for example, 63% of Kenyans listed the U.S. as their top ally.

The flipside: 5 of 18 picked the U.S. as the top threat to them:

  • Mexico (56%), Turkey (46%), Argentina (40%), Brazil (18%), Nigeria (14%).

7 of 18 picked China:

  • Philippines (62%), Japan (50%), Australia (40%), South Korea (32%), Canada (32%), Indonesia (21%), South Africa (13%).

Other choices:

  • India (Pakistan was top threat), Lebanon (Israel), Israel (Iran), Tunisia (Libya), Kenya (Somalia).
  • In the U.S., both China and Russia received 24%. No other country picked Russia first.

Worth noting: Just 2% in Turkey (a NATO member) listed the U.S. as their country's top ally, while 46% consider America the top threat.

Go deeper: What Americans want from U.S. foreign policy

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