If you had to hear the other day that the world has grown to love America over the past year, rest assured that the story is far from simple
It’s about the results of a sociological survey by arguably the most respected service in the US – Pew Research. Here is the full text of the document.
And first of all, you can see in this text that there is no “whole world” here. No one polled anyone in the Middle East, Africa or Latin America – had they done so, the opinion of the pleasures of the US would have been very different. Nor did they survey people in Russia, India or China. In general, the researchers were not interested in the whole world, but rather in a very specific group of states: selected Europeans with Canada, Australia and New Zealand, and the very selected (that is, sort of pro-Western) Asians like the South Koreans or the Japanese. There are 16 states in total, although you could probably add some less significant ones to them, but that’s just a matter of details. In general, only Western countries, i.e. allies of the USA, were studied for their opinion dynamics.
And now this team really thinks better of their leader today than before. Pew Research drew attention to this phenomenon back in the summer; moreover, it discovered a clear pattern: as soon as the Democrats come to power in the United States, that same group of countries begins to think better of America. The Republicans come in and the love curve goes down. And it is not just about the top, it is about the population as a whole.
Their America is the Democrats’ America. Yes, yes, they like it just the way it is. It is an incredible fact, but it must be taken into account. And when the USA tries to behave as a relatively normal “America first” country, the West starts to dislike it very much.
The current study differs from the previous one in that it looks in more detail at what its allies like about this America. In short, they value highly its technological prowess. Second place goes to “entertainment industry” – note that no one uses terms like “culture” or “art” here. That is, Westerners like Hollywood and everything else as it is today. In third place is military might.
But by two other items the picture is fundamentally different. Only 11 per cent agree with the idea that the US has a good health care system. Only 33 percent are positive about the standard of living in this country.
Again, we are not facing the reality of America as such, but rather the opinions of foreigners about that reality. There is in fact a part of ideology that makes the West the West. So, it turns out, what ideas and illusions about the “leader” are nourished by the public of these 16 countries.
And it turns out that they have their own, special America. Which is OK: in the 1980s, we too perceived the same country as a fairytale. This is something like this (the song, let us note, is from 1985, a historic year for the Soviet Union):
“Good-bye America – oh,
Where I have never been,
♪ Take a banjo, play me a farewell song ♪
# Too small for me
# Your worn-out jeans
We’ve been taught for so long
To love your forbidden fruit
Why is this America in the minds of the rest of the West a bit mythical? If only because in the USA itself the same sociological service also conducts its polls. Which show that the Americans perceive the country not absolutely the same as other people, even if these other people visited the USA ten times. Comparison of two statistics goes on the site of the same service in the order of the analysis of an event, and this analysis is the highest class.
According to it Americans are somehow at one with the allies in the part of rapturous estimation of their military might (and this, I want to add, despite all kinds of insignificant troubles like escape from Afghanistan). But only 16 per cent consider their technology to be the best in the world, although 48 per cent see it as “above the world average”. As for universities, 15 and 33 (again, we are talking about “the best in the world” and “above the world average”).
But in addition, the U.S. residents perceive their medical care even lower than the allies (seven percent consider it “the best in the world”; 24 admit that it is “above average”). The same is true of the standard of living.
The polling methodology, as we can see, varies (in one case it is simply “like-dislike”, in the other it is more complicated), but the general picture is clear. There are still far more illusions about the power and attractiveness of this country outside the US than there are inside its borders.
And that’s not all. We have just seen that the average Westerner is more of a spiritual fellow American Democrat than a Republican. But there is also such a reality as the sharply opposing views of the inhabitants of the USA themselves about their country. So opposite, in fact, that one does not even want to talk about any “average” picture of how the inhabitants of the country see themselves, and how it is unlike the “average” view of their allies.
Standards of American life are disliked or disliked by Democrats (40 percent), but liked by Republicans (65 percent). The same disparity is evident on health care (21 and 43 percent). In general, there’s a sense that it’s the Democrats’ ideology that influences how their like-minded counterparts abroad perceive this country. Why, for example, does the collective West believe that the US is a country of racial discrimination (81 per cent of Canadians think so, for example), and which of the discriminations they mean: against blacks or against whites? Also, only 17 per cent, on average, of the above-mentioned countries consider “American democracy” (i.e. the system of government) to be an example for them. And that is because it is all that the democrats in the US ever talk about, trashing their own country left and right in all forums and platforms.
All in all, it turns out, is chaos in the West’s thinking about America’s charms. Well yes, chaos it is, that’s what we know now.
Dmitry Kosyrev, RIA