A new survey of both the public and members of the Council on Foreign Relations finds an increasingly isolationist sentiment among Americans. The public also differs with CFR members on increasing troop levels in Afghanistan, the threat posed by China and the use of torture.
Though U.S. image remains dismal in Turkey (the lowest rating among 25 nations surveyed) there are signs of improvement in this strategically important country. Far more Turks trust the new American president and the nation is turning less negative toward U.S. foreign policy.
As President Obama embarks on his first trip to Asia he will be greeted by publics who are confident in his judgment regarding world affairs and who generally agree with his international policies.
A survey of Mexico finds most dissatisfied with the direction of their country. Overwhelming numbers describe the economy, crime, drugs and corruption as very big problems. Many believe there is a better life in the U.S., would migrate if they had the chance, and would do so without authorization.
Opinion of the United Nations has grown more positive since 2007 in 12 of the 25 nations surveyed by the Pew Global Attitudes Project. And in no country have favorable ratings improved as much as in the United States.
While Canadians were never as negative about the U.S. as Western Europe was, America's image is up among its northern neighbors. However, differences still remain over Afghanistan and America's economic influence.
Pakistani public opinion has turned against al Qaeda and the Taliban, and concerns about Islamic extremism are widespread. At the same time, Pakistanis continue to express negative views of the U.S., although there is an openness to improving relations between the two countries.
America's image is on the rebound throughout much of the world, driven in large part by positive reactions to the new U.S. president. Still, a new Pew Global Attitudes Project survey finds that the Muslim world remains largely immune to Obamamania.
In many countries opinions of the United States are now about as positive as they were at the beginning of the decade before George W. Bush took office. Improvements in the U.S. image have been most pronounced in Western Europe, where favorable ratings for both the nation and the American people have soared. But opinions of America have also become more positive in key countries in Latin America, Africa and Asia, as well. Signs of improvement in views of America are seen even in some predominantly Muslim countries.
As the president travels through Europe this week, issues arising from the global economic crisis and other world problems on his agenda seem likely to resonate with key criticisms of America's leadership carried over from the Bush years.