Under Donald Trump's disastrous tenure as president of the United States, opinions of American have plummeted around the world. A Pew Research Center poll confirms that people around the world have less confidence in Trump’s leadership than they have for dictators Vladimir Putin’s and Xi Jinping’s.
This alarming trend has been fueled by a powerful ignorance unleashed by Trumpism, and a disdain for reality that is now a genuine threat to the future of humanity.
According to Pew, America's favorability numbers went up in only three countries out of the 25 polled: Israel, Russia, and Kenya. The populations in every other country went down -- and alarmingly so. In Mexico for example, the figure dropped in half from 66% to 32%.
The poll also reflected the fact that Trump is specifically to blame for this, as America's image appears not to be solely defined by the president:
Even though America’s image has declined since Trump’s election, on balance the U.S. still receives positive marks – across the 25 nations polled, a median of 50% have a favorable opinion of the U.S., while 43% offer an unfavorable rating. However, a median of only 27% say they have confidence in President Trump to do the right thing in world affairs; 70% lack confidence in him.
Frustrations with the U.S. in the Trump era are particularly common among some of America’s closest allies and partners. In Germany, where just 10% have confidence in Trump, three-in-four people say the U.S. is doing less these days to address global problems, and the share of the public who believe the U.S. respects personal freedoms is down 35 percentage points since 2008. In France, only 9% have confidence in Trump, while 81% think the U.S. doesn’t consider the interests of countries like France when making foreign policy decisions.
The numbers for Trump are, to say the least, shockingly bad.
In right wing fantasy world however, none of this matters in the slightest. From Fox News to Townhall.com, the right wing press is simply not reporting on the poll. Even if Trump supporters were aware of the poll, it almost certainly wouldn't make any difference. Why? Because the rest of the world are, by their definition, a bunch of "globalists" interested in things like cooperation, the environment, and adhering to international law.
Trump's "America First" mantra means the rest of the world is merely a backdrop -- a vast sea of conniving liberals and dirty foreigners who want to take advantage of America. This attitude has separated the majority of Trump supporters from objective reality and renders them incapable of interacting meaningfully with the outside world. Trump supporters now exist solely in their own bubble, unable to converse with the majority of Americans (who still vote for Democrats by a significant margin), or the rest of the planet. They have their own facts, their own news networks, and their own president who claims only his word can be trusted. It is telling that 75% of Republican voters believe Trump's word over the media's. And as Phillip Bump in the Washington Post notes, if the media you like doesn't report on it, it didn't happen:
The news outlet most trusted among Republicans is Fox News, Suffolk University polling has consistently found. It’s also the network that has discussed the Russia investigation the least and the network whose viewers have the most favorable opinions of Trump.
It is safe to say that we are entering extremely dangerous territory here. With a large percentage of the population in America completely oblivious to the world around them, it is hard to know how the international community moves forward on all the greatest issues facing humanity. Global warming, nuclear proliferation, and an increasingly volatile financial system all have profound consequences for us if we do not address them together. Without the world's largest democracy and economy participating in creating the groundwork for a more sustainable future, it is unclear whether anything tangible can be achieved.
Trump and his administration have set about destroying the post World War II international system designed to maintain the peace. They are instead creating a new world order predicated on radical nationalism, hostility towards the environment, and enabling giant corporations to control the world's resources. Add to this a deranged president whose own staff are working diligently to protect the country from his madness, and we have a genuine recipe for disaster.