According to a Pew Research Center survey across 25 countries, 43% had an unfavorable view of the United States. More specifically, 72% of countries feel that the US does not take into consideration other nations’ interests. This news suggests that disdain toward Americans on a global scale has less to do with our large waistbands and poor academic ratings, and more to do with the attitudes behind those traits. “Self-indulgent” and “power-hungry” are phrases that some European countries believe apply to Americans, while other countries like China and Iran are more concerned with our take on political affairs. Read on to get a rundown of how these countries feel and why.
Japan Isn’t Buying The US Work Ethic
Japan was the only country in a survey by Pew Research Center that believed America plays a less important role on the world stage than it did ten years ago. Japan Today found that a group of college students interviewed in Japan mentioned weight and gun violence as negative aspects of America.
Additionally, USA Today writes that only 25% of surveyed Japanese residents believe that Americans are hard-working. Another 47% of the same group feel that Americans are selfish.
Tunisians Are Not Fans
64% of those surveyed in Tunisia by Pew Research Center said they think China would be better than the United States as the world’s leading power. This may have something to do with the film Innocence of Muslims, which was posted online by a US resident.
The film carried an anti-Islamic message that was not well received by many Tunisians, being that their official state religion is Islam. Vanity Fair described the film as “something that was clearly designed to offend Muslims.”
Danes Don’t Understand The Aggressive US Mentality
A retired bank employee from Denmark told CBS news that what comes to mind when he hears “America” is: “Capitalism. Money rules everything. Overweight people, Donald Trump, elections, shootings.”
And Sarah Madoff posted on the Berkley Center’s website about her experience studying abroad in Denmark. She writes that Denmark has far more cyclists and far less sexism. In fact, they have one of the highest rates of female employment in the world. On top of that, few people work overtime, and it’s normal to leave on holiday for weeks at a time. Sarah’s experience certainly explains the Danes’ notion that Americans are overweight and money-obsessed.
Norwegians Would Rather Stay Put Than Move To America
According to the Migration Policy Institue, the number of Norwegians who immigrate to the United States has declined for the past 50 years. The Atlantic notes that at the turn of the 20th century, nearly a million Norwegians came to the US to settle down. So what changed?
The Atlantic points out that Norway is ranked the happiest country with the most political freedom, the most freedom of the press, and most prosperity. Meanwhile, the US ranks anywhere from 14th to 45th in these areas. When you break down the numbers, there’s plenty of reason for Norwegians to think Americans have a few things to learn.
Mexico Is Concerned With More Than Just The Wall
An article published in 2017 by the Pew Research Center states that 65% of Mexicans express a negative opinion of the United States, which is more than double what it was in 2015. Not only do 94% oppose the wall, but only 5% believe that Trump is actually doing the right thing for world affairs.
Despite 85% of Mexicans saying that they are dissatisfied with how things are going, the country that took a huge chunk of Mexico’s territory doesn’t seem like the most ideal place to seek refuge.
Spain Now Sees The United States As A Threat
Spain’s 60% disapproval rating of Americans probably has something to do with another survey conducted by the Pew Research Center regarding US power and influence. The survey found that citizens of Spain, more than any other country surveyed, are increasingly concerned that America’s power is a major threat to their country.
Between 2013 and 2017, Spain increased 42 percentage points regarding how much the public felt America was a threat. Disagreements stemming from the Bush-era war on drugs likely made Spain more suspicious of Americans when Trump was elected.
Americans Are Turkey’s Biggest Threat
The Pew Research center states, “U.S. power and influence ranks as the top threat in only one country– Turkey (72%).” That means that of all the things on Turkey’s list on concerns, the United States tops the list for 3/4ths of the population in Turkey.
Researchers also state that Turkey has maintained a negative view of America for decades, but it spiked to 83% in 2003 with the Iraq War. Today, only 19% of the Turkish population like America, possibly because they feel Americans enjoy abusing their power.
Austria Has Different Trade Interests
According to Market Watch, Americans have been leery about Austria for trading with Iraq and North Korea. Disapproval of the United States’ relations with Russia dropped to 55% (nine percentage points) in just one year, from 2013 to 2014.
This may have something to do with the fact that Americans look down on Austria for allowing the leader of the Kurdistan Worker’s Party (a terrorist organization) to leave their country while he was wanted.
Iran And The United States Go Way Back
Market Watch states that 61% of Iranians disapprove of Americans. Why? Back in 1979 Iranians took 66 Americans hostage for 444 days amid the Iranian Revolution. The revolution opposed the westernization of their government, which the United States was helping to accomplish.
Recently, the United States has also taken part in sanctioning Iran’s nuclear capabilities. Essentially, Americans are like the annoying parent trying to guide Iran in a direction they simply don’t want to go.
Pakistan Doesn’t Quite Trust America
Pakistan ranks fourth on the anti-America list with a disapproval rating of 65% according to Market Watch. Considering the billions of dollars in US aid that have gone to Pakistan, these numbers seem counterintuitive. Efforts began in the early 2000s as a means to combat terrorism.
However, America’s mission into Pakistan where they captured Osama Bin Laden may have left a bad taste in the mouth of Pakistanis. Huff Post adds that the Pakistan media often portrays the United States negatively.
Russia Doesn’t Know How To Feel
The Pew Research Center says that in 2018 only 26% of Russians had a positive image of the United States. Just a year prior that number was 41%. But before you start making assumptions about the events that occurred between 2017 and 2018, it’s worth noting that in 2015 on a mere 15% of Russians approved the United States.
It seems Russia’s varying levels of distaste for America fluctuate quite frequently. This might be politically fueled.
Belarus Is Still Chilly From The Cold War
A former Soviet Union country, Belarus has a nearly 70% disapproval rate of America and a 62% approval rate of Russia’s leadership. Given the poor opinion of Russia toward Americans, it makes sense that Belarus, who seems still devoted in some ways to Russia, would follow suit.
To top it off, Belarus has an inflation rate of 18% according to Market Watch. Researchers note that countries in weak economic standing often resent Americans, probably because we think anyone can be prosperous.
Palestinian Territories Don’t Feel The Love
A whopping 72% disapproval rating is actually an improvement from 2013, when 80% of Palestinians topped the chart of countries who don’t approve the leadership of America. There’s been a travel advisory in place, warning Americans that it’s unsafe to travel to The West Bank and Gaza as of December 29, 2018.
The U.S. Department of State, Bureau of Consular Affairs warns that terrorism, civil unrest, and armed conflict are a few reasons Americans should stay away from Palestinian Territories. Especially as tourist destinations have increasingly become a target.
Chile Is On The Fence
Despite America and Chile having strong ties, about half of Chileans see Americans in a negative light. This moderate viewpoint is backed in multiple Quora posts, where citizens of Chile commented on how they view Americans. Chilean citizen Alfredo Cofre writes that while Chileans view Americans as hardworking, there are some negative traits as well.
He says that Americans seem paranoid, ignorant, fat, “too armed for their own safety […] and frankly nowadays their choices are unspeakably poor.” So maybe the cons outweigh the pros a bit.
Germany Is Not Impressed
A woman from Berlin told the Daily Mail that “Most people believe that Americans are dumb, mostly eat fast food and are very patriotic.” Germans, like many European countries, integrate English into the curriculum from primary school. This not only breeds bilingual Germans but means that they have to do the heavy lifting whenever a monolingual American pays a visit — which doesn’t make the Americans seem any smarter.
Germans also zero in on career-focused courses in high school, which makes the late adolescence of many Americans seem rather pathetic. According to the Pew Research Center, Germany’s favorable views of the US have dropped by nearly half since the end of the Obama administration.
Argentines Do Not Want To Hear That You’re American
While Germany dropped to 30% favorable views of the United States, Argentina was right there with them at 32% according to The Pew Research Center. A major cause of this could be a small, but significant, slip of the tongue.
An American woman solicited advice on Trip Advisor about traveling to Argentina. Many of the respondents said the same thing: do NOT refer to yourself as American. If you’re confused as to why, you may be a part of the problem. You see, everyone from Argentina is American. They live in South America. By using this generalization rather than specifically stating your country of origin as the United States, Americans dig themselves into the ignorance ditch.
China Loves Playing “I’m Better Than You” With The US
The Pew Research Center broke down a few facts about how China feels toward the United States. For one, only 44% of the Chinese ranked the United States positively in 2015. Two, 67% of the Chinese think China either has or will supersede America.
Three, more than half of the Chinese believe Americans are trying to hold them back from becoming more powerful than us. In short, China and America are two of the major players in the world, but deep down, China doesn’t think we’re all that.
Jordan Takes The Cake
In its 2017 survey, the ew Research Center found that Jordan topped the list in their negative attitude towards Americans, with 82% of the population having unfavorable views. However, many respondents on Quora claim that Jordanians are very kind towards Americans.
To help explain this dilemma, a director at the University of Chicago wrote that Jordanians hate American policy, particularly because of their support of Israel, and envy the American standard of living. People in Jordan also put huge emphasis on family, where Americans put a higher value on work.
Cambodia Would Like A Little More Respect
The Vietnam War involved the United States igniting a military campaign against the Khmer Rouge Regime. Though many Cambodians suffered from the bombings, it is generally understood that the action was necessary to take down Khmer. However, some Cambodians may still feel sensitive about the subject of Americans.
Conversely, the efforts to aid Cambodia over the years have generally earned Americans a pleasant image from Cambodia. Today, the biggest concern is disrespect from tourists towards cultural norms of Cambodia. An article on Odyssey states that though women must cover their shoulders and knees while at temple, many Americans still wear tank tops.
North Korea Has A Museum To Display Their Hatred Of The US
Given the fact that jeans are banned from North Korea for being symbolic of Americans, it should come as no surprise that North Korea is not okay with Americans by any stretch of the imagination. The Korean War may have ended to Americans, but to North Koreans it’s everlasting.
A North Korean child’s closest encounter with Americans is at the Sinchon Museum of American War Atrocities. The name says it all. At this shrine of anti-American propaganda, schoolchildren visit to remember their hatred for the United States.