Trump sours world’s view of the US

President re­garded as dan­ger­ous

The Star Early Edition - - WORLD -

US PRESIDENT Don­ald Trump has alarmed ci­ti­zens of the na­tion’s clos­est al­lies and oth­ers world­wide, di­min­ish­ing the stand­ing of the US in their eyes, ac­cord­ing to a wide-rang­ing in­ter­na­tional study.

With re­mark­able speed, Trump’s pres­i­dency has taken a toll on the im­age of the US abroad.

The in­ter­na­tional sur­vey by the Pew Re­search Cen­ter found that favourable rat­ings of the US have de­creased from 64% of peo­ple across all coun­tries sur­veyed at the end of Barack Obama’s pres­i­dency to 49% in the past few months.

The new fig­ures are sim­i­lar to those to­wards the end of the Ge­orge W Bush ad­min­is­tra­tion.

The president him­self has fared even worse.

A me­dian of 22% are con­fi­dent that Trump will do the right thing in global af­fairs, down from 64% who had con­fi­dence in Obama.

From Chile to Italy, from Swe­den to Ja­pan, ma­jori­ties con­sider the president ar­ro­gant, in­tol­er­ant, un­qual­i­fied and dan­ger­ous. On the flip side, most view him as a strong leader. And many ex­pect their coun­try’s re­la­tion­ship with the US to with­stand his pres­i­dency.

“Amer­ica’s im­age has taken hits in re­cent years, from the de­ci­sion to invade Iraq, to the events of 2007 and 2008, when the Amer­i­can fi­nan­cial model took a huge hit,” said Frank G Wis­ner, a for­mer diplo­mat who served un­der both Democrats and Repub­li­cans.

“But the most con­se­quen­tial is the as­cent of Mr Trump to the Oval Of­fice.”

The depths of dis­ap­proval reg­is­tered abroad sug­gest that Trump has un­done the progress Obama made in bur­nish­ing the Amer­i­can brand. It took Bush eight years, and the quag­mire in Iraq, to notch such dis­mal rat­ings over­seas, ac­cord­ing to Pew. It has taken Trump six months.

His un­pop­u­lar­ity is the re­sult of a mix of dis­agree­ment with his sig­na­ture pol­icy ob­jec­tives, such as build­ing a wall along the US-Mex­ico bor­der, and dis­taste for his char­ac­ter, ac­cord­ing to Pew’s anal­y­sis of poll re­sults.

Among other world leaders stud­ied by Pew, German Chan­cel­lor An­gela Merkel re­ceives rel­a­tively high marks. The share of peo­ple who re­port lit­tle or no con­fi­dence in her – a me­dian of 31% across 37 coun­tries – is less than half that for Trump, at 74% .

The sur­vey also found that 59% lack con­fi­dence in Rus­sian President Vladimir Putin.

Trust in the Amer­i­can president plum­meted most in some of the US’s clos­est al­lies in Europe and Asia, as well as in the coun­tries it bor­ders, Canada and Mex­ico. In only two coun­tries, Rus­sia and Is­rael, does Trump re­ceive a higher score than Obama.

Since 2002, when Pew be­gan ex­am­in­ing Amer­ica’s im­age abroad, per­cep­tions of the US have run in par­al­lel with judge­ments about the coun­try’s president. Opin­ions of the US have im­proved in Rus­sia, as con­fi­dence in the president rose from 11% to­wards the end of Obama’s two terms to 53% un­der Trump.

Ger­mans hold some of the most neg­a­tive opin­ions of the US, with 62% view­ing the coun­try un­favourably and 87% lack­ing con­fi­dence in Trump.

Mean­while, the UN’s top rights of­fi­cial ac­cused Trump of break­ing taboos by sug­gest­ing bring­ing back tor­ture, and warned world pow­ers against un­der­min­ing civil lib­er­ties in their fight against mil­i­tants.

Zeid Ra’ad al-Hus­sein also lam­basted Bri­tish Prime Min­is­ter Theresa May for threat­en­ing to change hu­man rights laws if they got in the way of se­cu­rity op­er­a­tions, say­ing her words would give heart to au­thor­i­tar­ian gov­ern­ments.

The UN high com­mis­sioner for hu­man rights said on Mon­day that stri­dent state­ments in the wake of at­tacks risked un­der­min­ing in­ter­na­tional rights treaties.

Trump said in Jan­uary he thought the prac­tice of wa­ter­board­ing a form of sim­u­lated drown­ing – was a way to gather in­tel­li­gence. – Ad­di­tional re­port­ing by Reuters –

PIC­TURE: REUTERS

US President Don­ald Trump.

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