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Ten Things to Ponder in The Trump-Biden Race and What About Africa?

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One of my primary and secondary school classmates now a facebook friend ,said I was bold to say anything about the  U.S.Presidential race at this time.Afterall in key states it  has  and will take some long    days and   nights since polls closed in America this past Tuesday  before mail and absentee ballots are fully  counted. Every ballot hopefully in this unprecedented American turnout.  I hope mine will be among that critical number in Atlanta, Georgia. For Biden-Harris need I say or add?

What we have been hearing about mostly are the results of walk in poll voters and mail and absentee votes counts in progress. What the issue is happens to be the largeness of the swing states for the most part in the Midwest,and one each in the Northeast and Southeast as routes to Electoral College victory , the magic number 270 votes, which matters in American Presidential elections,  not the popular vote like in so many other democracies. 

Things have been tense to say the least with Trump trying to stop the legitimate vote counting and both Democrats and Republicans especially the later gearing up or actually filing recount law suits and counter suits. This was expected to happen given Trump’s sowing false seeds about election fraud and the Democrat Party’s Biden not making the year 2000 Gore and to a lesser extent, 2016 Clinton premature concession mistakes. More possible delays? Be patient,  who knows in this not as problematic election process as predicted though so replete with election reform needs which more than likely continue well beyond the old age of children just now being born.

Even in the midst of this Presidential election uncertainty there are 10 firm observations we can make at this time; including future implications for the continent of Africa depending who wins the White House.

Joe Biden- Kamala Harris were in mainstream media and pollster terms trending ahead of Trump-Pence for weeks if not months. So, my first solid  observation is the failure of the media and pollsters let alone academic experts in Presidential electoral politics, an  increasinly deepeening problem since the year 2000 election year getting worse by the  Presidential election year.

Both media and polling corporations while claiming impartiality and even scientific basis are increasingly the instruments of partisan big money interests disconnected from ordinary citizens values, attitudes, preferences, and real life conditions. There is this benign ignorance if not more than a bit elitist and ethnocentric presumption  among pollsters like survey methodologists in the  basic social and policy sciences that what people share with you, especially when you are a stranger is the truth.This is a deepening problem when there are cultural differences even in voice accents between interviewers and interviewees over the phone or particularly in  person when interviewer- interviewee voice tone differences are exacerbated with visible skin tone and gender differences. As well, there are always the problem of who consents to be interviewed and who does not and how who says yes may skew population representation. In our overzealousness to make poll results into our secularized sacred texts we forget all of these and other issues which contaminate poll data collection and analysis resulting in, to say the least, inaccurate statistical data presentations and predictions.

Trump actually improved his performance from 2016 in terms of the popular vote and among African American and Latino  especially male voters and white women.He ironically slightly underperformed with White men.He held onto dominating the rural and most of the  southern vote and lost as predicted mostly in the suburbs and big cities.Biden outperformed 2016 Clinton in  white middle and wealthy class suburbs in Wisconsin and Michigan and ate into Trump’s 2016 victories in those places. In both of those Midwestern States and in Pennsylvania and in Georgia, it is Biden team’s turning out big city  African American  voters which would be key to Biden being competive against Trump in those States if not eventually defeating him.Southern rural African American voters is a different story.

The economic and socioemotional impact of the COVID-19 pandemic did not  outweigh  the improvement of the economy and stock market performance for middle and wealthy classes and the  White working class in the Midwest. It is beyond amazement that despite being able to make more money during the past four years, the anti-scientific clowning of Trump regarding Corona which infected him and his followers,  tragically killing more than a few or their loved ones did not faze  a significant  number of his true believers enough to turn against him.But that is precisely how cults operate, though still amazing with no amusement to behold.

The Biden-Harris moderate ticket strategically errored in snubbing the left and youthful Latino leaders, especially Alexandria Ortiz Cortez and not knowing how to  strategically address the concerns of Black Lives Matter and the George Floyd protest in  creating  a coherent public  message about racial and class justice aligned with other quality of life issues in a deeply hurting society such as universal healthcare, guaranteed income, guest worker immigration policies, national moratorium on evictions,and law enforcement reform not only in regards to the police but to rehabilitation of the ex-incarcerated. It was inexcusable in how they allowed  Bernie Sanders and his followers to be demonized by the mainstream media and by  Trump and his Republican cronies and not push back agressively  against  them  in Miami Cuban, Haiti, and Venezuelan immigrant  communities regarding Socialism fears. It is a puzzle as to why the Democratic Party establishment has yet to get it in effectively recruiting and   mobilizing Latino voters in their various local and regional cultural identities and histories given their propensity to vote ,in fact ,moreso than African Americans . And even thinking they really can do without the Latino vote. This also points to the possible marginalization if not exclusion of Kamala Harris,  an African American Californian quite experienced with the powerful statewide Chicano leadership and electorate in the deliberations of  her Party’s and Biden’s strategizing in this case about the vital importance in mobilizing the Latino vote in its national diverse complexities.

While Republicans are into organizing and mobilizing their constituencies  and feeding their constituencies well  once in office as seen in the behavior of Trump and the Republican Senators who won or won again, Democrats are not so good about doing that. President  Obama was in most  respects a sporadic constituencies mobilizer and pleaser  ; nothing like mass rally obsessed Trump.During Obama’s  two terms, he was largely disconnected from two major constituencies which would be repeated by Hilary Clinton in 2016 and Biden in 2020 in being overly paternalistic and presumptive rather than engaging : young people and African Americans especially those in both constituencies who are  rural, poor, and undereducated.Ignoring their Latino constituency in its various ethnic regional dynamics cost Biden more than Clinton in the Midwest as well as in Florida.With this said, Biden’s selection of Kamala Harris as his running mate indicates how out of touch he  is with his Black constituency base especially where it was most important, in the rural  deep south and poor urban north and west. Harris had little value addedness in rural areas where Democrats need to get with it in all over the country especially the South and Midwest, turned off African American and Latino men and had no common message with the African American poor especially in the deep south and in urban areas. Her California prosecutor background and tendency not to be transparent and even remorseful for her perceived bias against African  American men in criminal justice situations made her less than appealing among Black  men in and out of California.

African American Congresswoman Terri Sewell of Alabama with ten years federal electoral experience would have been a much better choice to pull in the Georgia and Alabama and even Mississippi African American vote not only for Biden but for the Senate races in those States.  The 2020 African American nonvote in the rural deep south and southeast was higher than in 2016 and in the 2008 and 2012 Obama-Biden election years. It is the reason why Biden has  struggled in North Carolina like in other rural African southern areas where Black folks did not go to the polls. In general, it speaks to the bourgeois  African American politician problem which is a Democratic Party taboo topic which Trump did exploit from time to time during the past four year such as  his boasts of doing much more for African Americans  than Barak Obama and criticisms of the impoverished urban constituencies of late Congressmen Elijah Cummings and John Lewis.Trump’s criticism could have been extended to the class difference problems bourgeois African American politicians  running for statewide offices like  twice Senator aspirant Mike Epsy in Mississippi and Governor aspirant Stacy Abrams in Georgia had relating to nonaffluent rural as well as urban potential voters and their communities. 

The United States of America is a conservative to the right of center country which Republicans represent and understand quite well while Democrat leadership may understand but refuses to engage through developing a big tent multiple ideology approach to party composition.  The pro-life, anti-abortion, heterosexual marriage and family, and evangelical religiousity moral views of the Republican Party is broadly appealing to millions of Nonwhite, especially African Americans  and Latino Americans as well as White Americans in ways which the Democratic Party neoliberal leadership refuses to acknowledge let alone respect. This has made it difficult for different thinking more moderate and conservative nonwhites to leave the Democratic party and become independent or vote Republican.Or be nonvoters.

Through our night to morning in Mauritius 9 to 12 hours ahead of the United States, there are changes as  mailed and absentee ballots are counted mostly leaning towards Biden in swing states such as Nevada  and Georgia which if won would give him the  6 electoral votes to win. If Biden does win, he will be faced with a Republican dominated Senate which means having to do much through Executive Orders and through his Cabinet Ministries .He will though  be able to use his powers to appoint more progressive federal judges and restore more positive international affairs like rejoining the Paris Climate Control Agreement and  sending out more collaborative Ambassadors and hopefully rebuilding the State Department. But House of Representatives vote results tell us that Biden will face an even more left of center House ,which will also be more challenging to the House aging moderate establishment ,  which he will be unable to snub.If Biden and Harris don’t find ways to share power with the left wing of the House and Democratic Party and if the Republican Party remains under the thumb of Trump white nationalism in defeat, we will probably see in 2024 third party emerge stemming from disgruntled persons from both dominant parties and independents feeding off the incredible unprecedented 2020  electoral energy with 102 million early voters. Remember Congresswoman Alexandria Ortiz Cortez turns 35 before election day in 2024, the minimal age to run for President in the United States. Just saying.

The bewildering question on the minds of many in the United States and around the world is how could this Presidential race be so close in the first place?There was no blue wave landslide morally repudiating four years of a Presidential administration renowned for its lying, fanning  racist divisiveness,  promotion of violence, and federal law bending and breaking let alone being just concerned about the wealthy and indifferent if not hostile to science in the midst of a virus which has infected  millions of us and killed tens of thousands of us while they have been more concerned with the politics of remaining in office.   Just being mean, nasty, and hateful as a crystallizing diffusive norm if not value being  transmitted by an amoral narcisstic indeed sadistic sick White House and being picked up and internalized by  our children and adults of all ancestries  and walks of life and those in the world who gulp down anything American. Though the guy is close to winning again, now remotely  but still possible.Why?

New York Times  columnist Thomas Freidman reminds us in his sobering essay on no matter who wins America loses about something mainstream elite media and public intellectuals let alone public policy makers have pointed out with too much reluctance but needs more transparency and effective problem solving.That is, the 2016 election of Donald Trump, his White nationalist base, and how close this election is with mostly  Whites supporting him regardless of their political ideologies and economic standing speaks of the massive White fear of the changing demographics of power and privilege from White to Nonwhite domestically and globally. The predictions of America becoming majority Nonwhite by 2060 is already here  already in so many significant ways and places as seen in the demographics of many major cities in America and in major higher education sectors such as elite private and public universities and community colleges and in public health and legal sectors as well as in consumer retail and other service areas. In the area of racial prejudice studies, the closeness of this Presidential race tells us volumes about the deep multigenerational roots in the character of how most of we Americans tend to be sociaized which will take much more than protest movements to eradicate authentically.It will be interesting to see what whoever wins does about systemic restorative justice transformation–Biden-Harris breaking out of the useless  patronizing neoliberal moderate approach to needed authentic restorative justice intercultural inclusive power sharing or Trump-Pence, lame ducks no longer needing White nationalists who swing more to the left as populists of expanding economic advantages to the White and Nonwhite poor as Trump has promised to do if re-elected. Otherwise we will continue to decline as a nation with paradoxical false smiles with prejudiced attitudes and covert prejudicial practices so well documented in notions such as the Brady affect and in this case being being politically correct liberals of all ancestries  and hues as well as White nationalists  spooked   with deep fears of  Racial Others  over running the country. 

About Africa, at first glance,  it makes little difference who wins, be it Trump-Pence or Biden-Harris, the continent will on one hand continue to be ignored and on the other hand approached in  obsolete patronizing Cold War ways. Biden’s neoliberal moderate campaign foreign policy statements read like Trump’s Making America Great Again but as a Cold War global interventionist wishing to reassert impositional American super power and should add White Supremacy hegemony rather than White Supremacy isolationism. Biden’s well meaning plans to reconvene such neoliberal colonialism will be met with a realignment of the world order now tilting East with China and India in the middle with emerging new global savvy African generational elites. Not the same world Obama and he did little to engage empathetically and negotiate in their emerging terms. While the Trump administration will do its level best to continue to ignore Africans, fight the Chinese like John Wayne would, and embrace  Prime Minister Modi of India and other nationalist leaders in the world, Biden will at least be willing to listen and learn. 

Our saving grace in all this is that as was shown though ignored in the Obama-Biden first term, the positive White elite response to the racial injustice messaging of the Black Lives Matter movement and the George Floyd protests is that there are powerful priviledged Whites ready and willing to join Nonwhite citizens in transforming America into an authentic rather than neoliberal cosmetic interculturally opening demorcracy. This is seen in the millions if not billions such inclusive justice White and NonWhite philanthropists are donating to racial justice causes though with needed guidance in how to construct national master  restorative justice dialogues and problem solving American government and civil society institutions of all levels must learn how to effectively design, implement, and monitor/ evaluate in ways never done before.

Either way no matter who becomes President, there is an opportunity for Mauritiusians and other Africans to strategically advocate their interests in American foreign policy circles. This will take more sophisticated understanding of how America works and does not work in public and private sectors in all levels of government and civil society; something which by the way the Chinese as a superpower is very poor at doing.This requires building in Mauritius and in other  African countries,  more savvy partnerships with American public and private institutions and movements which can help them better negotiate their interests be it education, climate control, health, etc. Rather than sitting back and waiting for Americans and other westerners to toss them any bones from the master’s table they want, Africans must boldly rise,  and write and deliver to the  helms of western powers like the next USA President what they want to do to promote their own interests as  vocal front seat drivers rather as  silent backseat passengers.In doing so, Africans in this day and age of the 21st Century in which Africans and Asians are globally centerfold, the response to our own empowering vision of ourselves as essiential sitters at global tables of power just may be the liberation we deserve to have to embrace to  liberate ourselves..finally.

Director Institute for Advanced Study of African Renaissance Policies Ideas ( ASARPI) SSR Chair of African Studies University of Mauritius

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Is Mike Pompeo the worst Secretary of State in history?

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State Department photo by Ron Przysucha/ Public Domain

Trump may have a race for the worst presidential title, but Pompeo is in a class of his own. James Buchanan and Andrew Johnson remain formidable contenders for Donald Trump in the ranking of worst US presidents. However, there is no competition for Mike Pompeo, Trump’s most passionate subordinate, in the worst Secretary of State ranking.

During his two years and nine months as the nation’s top diplomat, Pompeo did nothing to improve the US administration’s security, values, or even policies. His term ended in humiliation: humiliation from European allies, disgusted by the profanity he and Trump have committed over the past four years. On January 4, Pompeo announced he would travel to Europe and meet European Union leaders.

Two days later, after Trump-fueled riots on Capitol Hill, EU officials said they would not meet him. So Pompeo canceled his last chance to travel abroad. It’s been a long season of humiliation for Pompeo. In August, he pressed the UN Security Council to pass a ban on the sale of conventional weapons to Iran. Only one of the council members, the Dominican Republic, joined the US in supporting the ban; Russia and China against it; others, all US allies, abstained.

The episode depicts, in extreme form, two of Pompeo’s most distinct features: the obsession that foments regime change in Iran and the inability to bring it about or any other goal. Like Trump, Pompeo has been unceasingly opposed to the Iran nuclear deal. It’s no coincidence that Trump pulled out of the deal and reimposed sanctions on the Islamic Republic on May 8, 2018, just 12 days after Pompeo was sworn in as Secretary of State. (His predecessor, Rex Tillerson, has advised Trump to stick to the deal.)

Pompeo claimed, with high confidence, the sanctions would force Tehran to return to negotiating a “better” nuclear deal, or perhaps force a regime collapse. Today: Iran’s economy is in ruins, but the regime survives, its hardline faction is stronger than ever, and its reactors are more capable of producing atomic bombs than ever before. (President-elect Joe Biden wants to restart the nuclear deal, but Iran’s technological advances and political hardening will make this more difficult to achieve.)

This week, he may realize his “maximum pressure” campaign has failed miserably. No wonder then that Pompeo changed course and claimed, in a speech to the National Press Club, that Iran was al-Qaeda’s new “base” and declared, “The time is now for America and all countries free to destroy the al-Qaeda axis of Iran.” The US intelligence official said there was not any evidence for this claim.

Pompeo’s other big target is China, and he has called for regime change in Beijing as well, despite the goals that are clearly absurd. In fact, a large proportion of China’s population supports the party that ruled the government, which lifted more than 850 million people out of poverty in record time. However, there is nothing “Marxist-Leninist” about President Xi Jinping’s philosophy, which seeks expansion through mercantilist techniques, not ideological conformity.

While it is important to contain Chinese military presence in the South China Sea (something the US military has been doing for some time), it is very difficult to compare its scope or ambition to that of the Soviet Union, which once enjoyed a presence in a truly global world. Pompeo misunderstood the nature of China’s challenge. As a result, he came up with half-baked ideas on how to deal with it.

There are also Pompeo’s lies. He has claimed he and Trump have made NATO “stronger” than ever. In reality, those trans-Atlantic relations are strained as Trump continually rejects the alliance in general and the European Union in particular.

Pompeo has also been a corrupt foreign minister. By filming a speech in Jerusalem to be broadcast at the 2020 Republican National Convention, he was violating not only the law, but also the previously announced policy of barring department employees from attending political conventions.

He used security guards to carry out errands for himself, his wife, and his wife’s mother. He also asked Trump to fire the inspector general who investigated the misuse of his government’s resources. He threw a lavish dinner party inside the State Department, inviting donors who might contribute to some future political campaigns.

He tricked the Voice of America, which in recent decades had become a fairly objective global news service, into becoming a propaganda organ for Trump. He demoralized the foreign service even more thoroughly than Tillerson had done.

Pompeo paved his way to power by directing his every word to the pleasure of the boss, starting when he was director of the CIA (where he frequently omitted or distorted intelligence that contradicted Trump’s hunches). He is a dishonest intermediary, reluctant to speak the truth to power, for fear that he will lose power in doing so.

To end it all, in his final days, Pompeo issued a no-discussion order that overturned existing policies: lifting restrictions on official contact with Taiwan, designating Cuba as a “state sponsor of terrorism,” and declaring Iranian-backed Houthi fighters in Yemen an “organization. foreign terrorists ”.

This movement will not have a long-term effect. The future Secretary of State, Anthony Blinken, can reverse this dictum, although it would be awkward to do so. It was an act of sheer mischief, like a teenager throwing a rotten egg at a new neighbor’s front door.

Is Pompeo the worst Secretary of State ever? In modern times, John Foster Dulles (former Secretary of State) may be a rival for the crown, but, fortunately, President Dwight Eisenhower did not listen to Dulles’ most dire advice.

Dulles was fanatical about pushing for the “backsliding” of Soviet communism, but Eisenhower, however, still adopted the “containment” policy of his predecessor, Harry Truman. Dulles also offered his French counterpart two tactical nuclear weapons to prevent the Viet Cong siege of Dien Bien Phu. However, Eisenhower was not interested in doing so. So, Mike Pompeo won the crown of worst US Secretary of State. Next week, he will fly back to Kansas, where he was a congressman and where he hopes to run for the Senate.

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Latin America and China: The economic and debt situation and the U.S. discomfort

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Latin American countries have no relatively good room for fiscal and monetary policy adjustment like China, and basically lack the ability for governmental countercyclical adjustment. This is mainly reflected in their room for fiscal and monetary policy.

From a fiscal viewpoint, the taxation ability of Latin American governments is generally weak. Taxation accounts for 16-18% of GDP, which is obviously lower than the 30-35% level of developed countries.

In terms of monetary policy, since the currencies of Latin American countries are directly correlated to the U.S. dollar exchange rate, the dollar fluctuation also entails the reduction of their room for monetary policy adjustment. These countries have continuously borrowed and cut interest rates. Hence there is little room for further steps.

The Federal Reserve has adopted the policy of unlimited quantitative easing which, in practical and easy-to-understand terms, is one of the unconventional ways by which a central bank intervenes in a State’s financial and economic system to increase the amount of debt money in circulation.

Although the U.S. stock market went into a slump several times, it should be noted that Nasdaq reached a new high. Ultimately, money has become more circulating. Interest rates in Latin American countries, however, have become very low and there is little room for further cuts.

At the same time, their foreign debts are also relatively high. For example, Argentina has recently approved a 70billion dollar debt restructuring plan and its debt accounted for over 50% of GDP.

The first solution to the debt crisis is to delay repayment, and the second one is to cancel interest or partly write off the debt. The creditor has no choice but to be forced to agree if one of the counterparts is unable to repay it. This is an endless cycle that, once the debt restructuring plan is approved, will only alleviate and mitigate Argentina’s crisis.

Argentina’s debt crisis occurred nine times in history, and this is the third time in the new century. Inflation in Argentina has caused its currency to depreciate by over 70%. According to statistics from the United Nations Economic Commission for Latin America, over 12 million people were jobless in Latin America in 2020. Poor people in Latin America will increase from 118 to 130 million and the extremely poor people will rise from over 60 million to over 90 million.

Faced with some new difficulties and challenges, we need to explain and assess China-Latin America relations at the current historic juncture. The development of China-Latin America relations has shifted from a period of high-speed growth to a period of stable growth. Quantitative and extensive development is shifting to a qualitative and specific one.

Initially China-Latin America relations took off suddenly and even exceeded expectations. Instead, a steady, efficient, stable and effective approach is currently preferred. The orderly progression of diplomatic and commercial relations is more advantageous than a context of actual speed.

This is especially the case in the context of intensified strategic competition between China and the United States. The political situation in Latin America, and the further impact of the Covid-19 pandemic, mean that certain changes need to be made to China-Latin America relations.

Firstly, the U.S. influence on China-Latin America relations needs to be assessed. Sino-U.S. relations are the most important, sensitive and complex bilateral relations in Chinese diplomacy.

Recently, there have been many major changes in Sino-U.S. relations, but one of them is often overlooked: from the Latin American countries’ perspective, the relationship between Latin America and the United States is the most important one. China’s interests in Latin America have not surpassed the United States’ in terms of political and economic development.

Here are some data. In the field of economy and trade, the United States is still Latin America’s main trading partner. The same applies to investment. The United States has great advantage over China.

In 2017, trade between the United States and Latin America exceeded 760 billion dollars, almost three times the volume of trade between China and Latin America. In 2019, trade between China and Latin America was about 270-280 billion dollars, while the volume of trade between the United States and Latin America was almost 800 billion dollars.

From an investment perspective, U.S.A.’s and Latin America’s direct engagement in 2017 was 45 billion dollars, almost double that of China. Therefore the United States outperforms China in terms of trade and investment.

However, benefiting from the advantage of China’s economic growth and the structural complementarity between China and Latin America, the acceleration of China’s economic and trade investment in Latin America is higher than that of the United States. Therefore, China has an incremental advantage in Latin America, but the United States enjoys an ‘equity’ primacy.

For example, outgoing President Trump has never visited Latin America, but this does not mean that the United States does not pay attention to it. Quite the reverse. If we look at the reports on Sino-Latin American relations issued by U.S. think tanks, scholars and experts are particularly worried.

The U.S. Congress holds several hearings on Sino-Latin American relations every year and invites not only local experts, but also experts from Mexico, Brazil and other countries. We can see that the United States attaches great importance to the development of China-Latin America relations.

We wonder, however, why has the United States not taken propagandistically political positions in Latin America as it does towards China, the Middle East, South-East Asia and the South China Sea.

This means that the United States still considerably trust Latin American bonhomie, good nature, patience and tolerance. The U.S. media merely claim that China’s influence in Latin America has increased and its soft power has enhanced but, overall, China’s influence in Latin America is far less than that of the United States.

If we ask in Brazil what they think of U.S.-China, U.S.-Brazil and Brazil-China relations, we get the following answers. The United States is a model for Brazil’s development and the values and ideologies of both Brazil and the United States are close. China is an important trade and investment partner for Brazil. From an economic viewpoint, Brazil’s development should seek to establish a better partnership with China, but in terms of ideology and values, the Forbidden City is further away than the White House.

For Latin America, maintaining stable relations with the United States is a primary interest. After the outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic in Latin America, China – thanks to some of its medical equipment – did its best to help those countries mitigate the impact of the disease. A Chinese state-owned company responded to the call and promised to build a hospital with an in-patient module in a conference and exhibition centre in Panama to help infected patients, for only a small sum of money from the State.

Panamanian President Laurentino Cortizo Cohen, however, rejected the proposal outright. In the end, Panama spent 12 million U.S. dollars and built 100 hospital beds and 26 intensive care units, without taking advantage of Chinese aid.

On April 16, Cortizo presided over the hospital’s opening ceremony, announcing that it was his own decision. Conversely, when former Panamanian President Juan Carlos Varela (2014-19) was in power, he visited China, and Chinese Foreign Minister and State Councillor Wang Yi reciprocated by travelling to Panama.

At the time, President Varela said that the landmark project for the expansion of the Silk Road passed through Panama, as did the 4 billion dollar plan to expand the canal and railway from Panama to Costa Rica.  The new President in power, however, has not followed the philosophy of his predecessor, terrified of displeasing the United States. Unfortunately, this news is not reported in the Italian press.

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Gallup: Trump Globally the Least Respected U.S. President This Century

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On January 15th, the Gallup World Poll issued its preliminary report for their upcoming “Rating World Leaders: 2021” report. It shows the results that have been tabulated for 60 of the 135 countries where they annually sample global public opinion about U.S. leadership. One especially clear finding from it is that when their final report for all 135 countries will be issued, it will show that among the three U.S. Presidencies on which Gallup has internationally surveyed — which are only the three U.S. Presidents in this century — Trump is clearly the one who is globally respected the least, even lower than George W. Bush was respected.

Here are the findings, in each of the 60 nations, and the percentage increase or decrease from Gallup’s last completed survey report, “Rating World Leaders: 2020”:

“Approval of U.S. Leadership Across 60 Countries and Areas”

“Do you approve or disapprove of the job performance of the leadership of the United States?”

%  “Approve”:

  • Dominican Republic, 66% was 56% in 2020
  • Cameroon, 62 was 61
  • Georgia, 61 was 43
  • Zambia, 56 was 26
  • Albania, 56 was 67
  • Philippines, 55 was 58
  • Uganda, 53 was 47
  • Mauritius, 50 was 59
  • Zimbabwe, 50 was 59
  • Ecuador, 43 was 34
  • Colombia, 42 was 41
  • Moldova, 40 was 45
  • Brazil, 40 was 38
  • Japan, 39 was 34
  • Kyrgyzstan, 34 was 32
  • Namibia, 34 was 31
  • Bulgaria, 32 was 26
  • Cambodia, 32 was 49
  • Hong Kong, Special Administrative Region of China, 31 was 31
  • Poland, 30 was 59
  • South Korea, 30 was 41
  • Bolivia , 30 was 31
  • Australia, 29 was 23
  • Taiwan, Province of China,    28 was 40
  • New Zealand, 26 was 17
  • Mexico, 26 was 17
  • Malta, 26 was 30
  • Ethiopia, 25 was 37
  • Argentina, 24 was 26
  • Ukraine, 24 was 32
  • Greece, 21 was 19
  • Croatia, 21 was 25
  • Morocco, 21 was 22
  • Serbia  , 20 was 19
  • Ireland, 20 was 30
  • Finland, 20 was 20
  • Slovenia, 19 was 20
  • Cyprus, 19 was 27
  • Tunisia, 19 was 24
  • Italy, 19 was 22
  • France, 18 was 23
  • Russia, 18 was 11
  • Netherlands, 18 was 20
  • Canada, 17 was 22
  • Spain, 17 was 23
  • Chile, 16 was 16
  • Estonia, 15 was 17
  • United Kingdom, 15 was 25
  • Denmark, 14 was 24
  • Turkey, 13 was 12
  • Slovakia, 13 was 28
  • Norway, 12 was 15
  • Portugal, 12 was 14
  • Belgium, 12 was 17
  • Sweden, 11 was 12
  • Switzerland, 10 was 13
  • Austria, 9 was 11
  • Iran, 6 was 6
  • Germany, 6 was 12
  • Iceland, 5 was 9

Remarkably, Gallup doesn’t poll in China on this question. (Nor does Pew.)

Notably, Trump is more disapproved-of in Europe than in any other part of the world. (Also, as Pew reported on 16 December 2020, “In Europe, more trust Putin than Trump.”)

Those percentage-changes that we’ve just shown total to a decline, among all 60 countries, of 121 percentage-points (-121%), or, almost exactly, a -2% change from the 2019 findings that had been reported in Gallup’s “Rating World Leaders: 2020”.

Gallup says that “until all of Gallup’s 2020 fieldwork is complete in a few months, it is still too early to say that the U.S. will see its worst ranking in the history of Gallup’s World Poll.” However, Gallup’s “Rating World Leaders: 2020” report covered 135 lands, and the 60 lands that they have tabulated as of now, for the 2021 report, seem to be a representative sampling of all of those 135, and collectively those 60 populations have reduced their respect for America’s leadership by 2%. In the 2020 report, the global level of approval for America’s leadership was 33%. The all-time-low had been the 30% figure in 2017, Trump’s first year, a finding which was based on Trump’s promises, not on his performance. The upcoming final Gallup report “Rating World Leaders: 2021” will — if the results from those 60 lands do turn out to be representative of the global findings — produce a 31% global approval level by all of the approximately 135 lands that will be covered in it. For each of Trump’s four years, then, the global percentages will have been (for each one of his four years) 30%, 31%, 33%, and (now, in his final year) 31%. Each year, it was even lower than the prior record low, of George W. Bush, had been, at 34% in 2008

There was higher disapproval than approval of America’s leadership during the Presidencies of George W. Bush and of Donald Trump than there was approval of either U.S. President’s leadership. Strikingly, however, there was higher approval than disapproval during (and throughout) the two terms of office of Barack Obama. That Nobel Peace Prize winner was/is internationally admired. (Crazy, but true: he was an international charmer.)

Here are summarized (with links to the evidence regarding) the actual chief international achievements of each of these three U.S. Presidents:

George W. Bush: destroying Iraq, and destroying Afghanistan.

Barack Obama: destroying Syria, and destroying Ukraine, while continuing Bush’s destructions of Iraq and of Afghanistan.

Donald Trump: destroying Iran, and destroying Venezuela, while continuing his predecessors’ destructions of Iraq, Afghanistan, Syria, and Ukraine. He also made the destruction of Palestine even worse than it had previously been.

So, the question regarding incoming U.S. President Joe Biden will be whether he will continue this tradition further, or reverse it. Because, it’s really all the same tradition, throughout all three U.S. Presidencies this century. By contrast, global perceptions are that those three U.S. Presidents were drastically different from one another.

On 15 September 290290, Pew bannered “U.S. Image Plummets Internationally as Most Say Country Has Handled Coronavirus Badly” and reported that:

The publics surveyed also see Trump more negatively than other world leaders. Among the six leaders included on the survey, Angela Merkel receives the highest marks: A median of 76% across the nations polled have confidence in the German chancellor. French President Emmanuel Macron also gets largely favorable reviews. Ratings for British Prime Minister Boris Johnson are roughly split. Ratings for Russian President Vladimir Putin and Chinese President Xi Jinping are overwhelmingly negative, although not as negative as those for Trump.

Right above that was this graph, which shows starkly the false European perception that Barack Obama was vastly superior to George W. Bush and Donald Trump:

Apparently, most Europeans have no problem with a U.S. President who continues America’s use of torture, and who continues America’s legal immunity of prosecution for banksters, and who imposes ethnic cleansing abroad, and who aims for achieving a U.S. first-strike ability to conquer Russia by a sudden nuclear blitz attack. Style is everything, for them; substance is nothing, to them. Why didn’t they like Hitler? Is it only because he did it to them?

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