Friday, January 11, 2013

Pondering Popularity: the US in the World

This map from the WP is pretty striking for the blue, the red and the gray:
Click to enlarge. Data from Pew. (Max Fisher/Wash Post)
A quick tour d'azimuth is in order:
  • Biggest surprise might be ... Indonesia.  Given that this is the largest Muslim majority country in the world, this ain't bad at all, given the shrill Islamophobes in the US (even if they are in retreat, we would expect lags).  
  • Given that the US gun mess is arming the Mexican drug wars, I am surprised that Mexico views the US so positively.  
  • I am not a big fan of the BRIC concept since Brazil, Russia, India and China are not much of a category if you ask me, but 3/4 BRIC populations agree that the US is pretty cool with them.  Again, a surprise (especially if you think that 1600 Penn--the new NBC comedy about the Presidency--had a take on Brazil that had any merit).  Speaking of India, while neither India nor its policies are perfect, I am glad to see that the US is trying hard to engage India which is, in general, far more compatible with the US, its interests and values than a certain red country nearby.
  • Syria?  Sure, we have earned that.  Pakistan? This is hardly news as well, given that the US has been bombing the country when it has not been sending SEALs into the country to get or whack leaders of Al Qaeda.  
  • That France is bluer than Eastern Europe (except for Poland and a Baltic or two) is pretty interesting as well.  Memories about ye Olde Colde Warre seem to be fading except in Poland.
  • I guess this means that Guantanamo is not resonating as much as it used to or that its impact has been over-rated (sorry

Anyhow, public opinion does not equal policy, but it is not irrelevant either.  Feelings about the US are both cause and consequence, and this map (and ones like it) are useful for drawing comparisons and contrasts.  Again, three out of four BRICs agree, so perhaps we need to figure out Chinese exceptionalism rather than consider BRICs to be a class.

Your thoughts?

1 comment:

Vladimir said...

What explains Turkey? It appears on par with Pakistan, Syria and Egpyt. Yes you're correct that popularity does not equal policy and the reverse is certainly true as well. But still....Egypt and Pakistan are non-Nato major allies, while Turkey is a Nato state. (ok the US doesn't do that well in Greece so the US has perhaps found a point of agreement between Greeks and Turks) I am guessing for the Turks , it comes down to the Palestinian issue, now Syria and that stubborn problem of the Kurdish insurgency.