The coronavirus pandemic hasn’t just hurt the U.S. economy — it’s also hurt America’s reputation abroad.
The European Council on Foreign Relations surveyed 10,000 Europeans in nine countries, which make up about two-thirds of the European Union, to get their opinions on how governments have responded to the COVID-19 outbreak that has infected 9.5 million and killed more than 484,000 and counting around the world.
And the report found what it called a “shocking” collapse of the image of the U.S. in the eyes of many Europeans. China suffered a drop in public opinion, as well.
“Each superpower has seen its reputation collapse in some of the countries that were its closest allies and partners,” the report notes.
More than half of those surveyed overall (59%) said that their view of the U.S. has worsened during the coronavirus crisis, while just under half (48%) expressed a worse opinion of China, where cases of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19 were first reported. Those who have soured on the U.S. the most include people hailing from Denmark (71%), Portugal (70%) and Germany (65%). Almost half of Italians (48%) have also adopted a more negative view of America.
“ “If Trump’s America struggles so much to help itself, how can it be expected to help anyone else?” ”
Most residents in many EU nations, including France, Sweden and Spain, on the other hand, reported that their view of the U.S. had “stayed the same.” Overall, just 6% of those surveyed said that their view of the U.S. has improved during the pandemic.
It should be noted that this survey was conducted in late April — before the nationwide protests sparked by the killing of George Floyd, and before coronavirus cases began spiking again across the country. Indeed, the EU may decide to ban Americans from visiting because the U.S. has failed to contain the coronavirus pandemic.
The chart highlighting the changing sentiment toward America went viral on reddit, drawing more than 4,000 comments as of press time on Thursday. Many in the comments didn’t express much surprise, noting that their own opinions of the country have stayed pretty much the same.
See it for yourself below:
And here’s how EU views of China have changed, in comparison:
The report suggests that the fragmented coronavirus response in the U.S., with individual states dictating their own rules for closing and reopening their local economies, reveal a deeply divided country.
“If Trump’s America struggles so much to help itself, how can it be expected to help anyone else?” the report muses. “If this domestic chaos continues, many Europeans could come to see the U.S. as a broken hegemon that cannot be entrusted with the defense of the Western world.”
Many Americans are also struggling with national pride at home, according to a recent WalletHub survey, which found almost one in three feel less patriotic heading into the Fourth of July holiday celebrating U.S. independence this year.
Granted, the surveyed European citizens also expressed plenty of disappointment to the EU’s own coronavirus response, as well. Many Europeans, including 58% of the French, said that the EU has been “irrelevant” during the pandemic, and one in three of those surveyed said that they have lost confidence in their government’s ability to act based on the handling of the pandemic.
Originally published on MarketWatch