A new Pew Research Center poll of global attitudes says that while most countries see the U.S. as not considering their country’s interests in foreign policy decisions, far and away the people of one country regard the U.S. as taking their country’s interest into account. Israel!
Eighty-six percent of Israelis say that the U.S. takes their country’s interests into account. That is a far larger percentage than any other country surveyed–
Across the 25 countries where the question was asked, a median of just 28% say the U.S. takes their country’s interests into account when making international decisions. In fact, majorities across Europe, and in neighboring Canada and Mexico, say that the U.S. does not take into account their interests when making foreign policy.
“Some of America’s top allies and partners” score in the teens or twenties on this scale, Pew says– 27 percent in the U.K., 19 in Germany, 18 in France. And for all the worries about Russia having something on Trump, only 26 percent of Russians think that the U.S. is taking Russian interests into account.
Israelis felt that way about the U.S. under Obama too– 69 percent in 2013 said that the U.S. took Israel’s interests into account. But it’s only gotten better:
Israel saw the biggest increase [from 2013 to 2018], perhaps due to recent U.S. actions, such as scrapping the Iran nuclear deal and moving the U.S. Embassy to Jerusalem…
By contrast, over that same period, the number of Germans who believe the U.S. takes their country’s interest into account dropped from 50 percent in 2013 to just 19 percent today.
Trump is doing well in Israel. At a time when few in the world have positive opinions of Donald Trump, Israelis stand out: they have great confidence that Trump will do the right thing. “America’s global image plummeted following the election of President Donald Trump, amid widespread opposition to his administration’s policies and a widely shared lack of confidence in his leadership,” Pew observes.
Israelis have confidence that Trump will do the right thing, 69 to 31– the reverse of most peoples’ view of our president.
While the image of the U.S. turns “sour” in Canada and across western Europe, the U.S. is popular in Israel: 83 percent favorability.
In summary: Germany has a 30 percent favorability rating for the U.S. and a 10 percent confidence level in Trump; Mexico scores 32 and 6; Netherlands, 34 and 19, Canada, 39 and 25; Japan, 67 and 30.
But Israel: 83 and 69. Says Pew:
Confidence in President Trump has increased significantly in Israel since 2017. Trump also receives substantially higher ratings than Obama got near the end of his second term, although they are very similar to the high ratings for Obama in 2014, before tensions rose between his administration and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the Iran nuclear deal. As has been the case in recent years, around eight-in-ten Israelis express a favorable opinion about the U.S. At 52%, Israelis are more likely than any other public surveyed to say the U.S. is doing more to address global problems than a few years ago. Israel also tops the list in terms of the share of the public (79%) saying that relations with the U.S. have improved in the past year.
And though we talk about the rise of the right in Europe, Israel’s rightwingers are way keener on the U.S. than European nationalists.
[A]mong people in France who have a favorable view of Marine Le Pen’s National Rally (formerly known as the National Front), 57% have a positive opinion of the U.S. vs. only 36% among those who have a negative opinion of the National Rally. Similar divides exist among supporters and detractors of Alternative for Germany (AfD) in Germany; the League (formerly called the Northern League) and the Five Star Movement in Italy; UKIP in the UK; Jobbik in Hungary; and the Party for Freedom in the Netherlands.
But those scores are 94 percent to 57 percent in Israel. That is to say, those on the left in Israel score the same as rightwingers in Europe when it comes to favorability toward the U.S.!
Next, here’s your creeping fascism index. Most people in most countries regard the U.S. as an enemy of civil liberties in the U.S. But not Israel!
Another difference. Israelis are the most convinced of any people in the world that the global role of the U.S. has gotten more positive in the past two years: About half of Israelis (52%) say the U.S. is doing more “to help address major global problems.” Europeans by overwhelming proportions say the U.S. is doing less not more to address global problems.
And relations between the U.S. and Israel have gotten better in the last year, to a degree that no other country’s people feel. Nearly four out of five Israeli say relations with the U.S. have improved, obviously because of the Iran deal and the Jerusalem gambit. No one else comes close!
Lastly, here’s Pew’s discussion about the U.S. acting in other countries’ interests. Most countries regard the U.S. as selfish. Obama lessened that perception, but Trump has heightened that view, especially among some of our “top allies and partners.” Not Israel.
A common criticism about American foreign policy over the past decade and a half has been that the U.S. only looks after its own interests in world affairs, ignoring the interests of other nations. As Pew Research Center surveys showed, this belief was especially prevalent during George W. Bush’s presidency, when many around the world thought the U.S. was pursuing unilateralist, and unpopular, policies. Strong opposition to the Iraq War and other elements of Bush’s foreign policy led to rising complaints about the U.S. acting alone and ignoring the interests and concerns of other nations.
Opinions shifted following Barack Obama’s election, with more people saying the U.S. considers their country’s interest, although even during the Obama years the prevailing global sentiment was that the U.S. doesn’t necessarily consider other countries. Now, the Trump presidency has brought an increase in the number of people in many nations saying the U.S. essentially doesn’t listen to countries like theirs when making foreign policy.
This pattern is especially pronounced among some of America’s top allies and partners. For instance, while the share of the French public who believe the U.S. considers their national interest has not been very high at any point over the past decade and a half, it reached a low point near the end of Bush’s second term (11% in 2007), rose somewhat during Obama’s presidency (35% in 2013) and has declined once more under Trump. Today, just 18% in France say the U.S. considers the interests of countries like theirs when making policy.
Again: Eighty-six percent of Israelis say that the U.S. takes their country’s interests into account, up from 69 percent under Obama in 2013.