In this very interconnected world, how the US (or any country) is perceived around the world matters – it matters for national strategy (which countries will ally with you and how loyal will they be?), for economic growth (will people desire your products and workers, invest in your country, and expect you to honor your trade deals?), and for security (how much do your enemies want to take you down?).
Results are just in on the latest PEW survey of views on America from around the world. In less than a year, those expressing “Favorable” views of the US have dropped from 64% to 49%. Even more striking, when asked whether they have confidence in the President of the US to do the right thing in international affairs, those saying they “have confidence” fell from 64% to 22%, while those saying they have ” no confidence” rocketed from 23% to 74%.
Trump’s “America first” foreign policy has thus greatly weakened favorable views of the US around the world. Only Israel (slightly), and Russia (significantly) have increased their confidence in the President of the US since Trump was elected; all other nations had moderate to very large negative changes.
How will this affect the US’s foreign policy? It is hard to tell exactly what Trump’s foreign policy goals are, as he has laid out no strategic vision. He seems willing to retreat from influence in Europe and China and make concessions to Russia, wants to wall off Latin America from the US with a renewal of sanctions on Cuba and erecting a wall at the Mexican border, is hostile (but ineffectually) to Iran and North Korea, and is only interested in close partnerships with Israel or countries with Trump hotels (Turkey, the Philippines, the Persian Gulf states). He seems willing to escalate the US military role in Syria and Afghanistan, but to what end is not clear.
Trump seemed to promise his supporters the US would be stronger, less burdened, and more secure in the world. In fact, so far his policies have made the US look weaker, less popular, and more confused.