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The countries that love America don’t trust Donald Trump

The UK Reacts To News That Donald Trump Is The New President Of The United States
A front page in London.
(Carl Court/Getty Images)

Donald Trump has been elected president of the United States, the most powerful office in the most powerful country in the world. How does the world think about that?

One piece of data that’s worth looking at is the 2016 Pew Global Attitudes Survey, one of the most robust surveys of international public opinion there is. In the survey, conducted several months ago, Pew pollsters asked people in 15 different countries about both their opinions of America and their opinions of Donald Trump. The contrast is striking:

(Pew Global Research)

In every country save Greece (which is currently in the midst of a historic political and economic crisis), views of the United States are majority positive. And in every single country — even rival powers like China — a plurality has no confidence in Trump’s foreign policy.

The unanimity is particularly pronounced in Western European and NATO allies, which make sense. Trump has been deeply critical of US alliances abroad throughout his campaign, suggesting that they are only worthwhile if American allies pay the United States for the privilege of protection. For countries that see US alliances as key to their security, as NATO allies do, that’s got to be terrifying.

And if anything, this likely understates the fear abroad. The Pew survey was taken before Trump’s infamous comments in July where he openly suggested he wouldn’t come to the aid of NATO countries in the event of a Russian invasion unless he felt they’d spent a sufficient amount of money on their own defense. Even non-NATO European allies who could be victims of war on the European continent, like Sweden, must be scared by this.

But whatever the reasoning, this data makes something unambiguously clear: The people of America’s closest allies abroad deeply distrust America’s new president. And that’s more evidence, if more evidence was needed, that the Obama era is over.

Understanding is critical

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