The Duck of Minerva


6 February 2009

We’re now only the THIRD most unpopular great power! We beat Russia and China!!!!

Now that I’m done quaffing celebratory beer and eating nachos, I should quote the article:

“Our poll results suggest that China has much to learn about winning hearts and minds in the world,” said GlobeScan chairman Doug Miller.

“It seems that a successful Olympic Games has not been enough to offset other concerns that people have,” he added, referring to the summer games hosted by Beijing in August 2008.

The poll also suggests that substantially more people now have a negative view of Russia’s influence – 44% negative versus 31% positive – and that was before the recent disruption in Russian gas supplies to Europe. […]

The US, for the first time since 2005, has surpassed Russia in positive ratings, with an average of 42% compared with 36% last year.

But it is still rated negatively by 42% of those polled, down from 46% in the 2008 poll.

Views of the US have improved in six countries, but attitudes towards it in Russia and China have grown more negative, while most people in Europe show little change.

“Though BBC polls have shown that most people around the world are hopeful that Barack Obama will improve US relations with the world, it is clear that his election alone is not enough to turn the tide,” said Steven Kull, director of Pipa.

Indeed, some of the best work on anti-Americanism suggests that most hostility towards the US centers on its policies, not its “values.” Let’s hope we can put behind us disastrous fad for public-diplomacy-as-superficial-branding that marked the Bush years, and focus on adjusting US policies where appropriate, and doing a good job of explaining them when we can’t.