Reading Fareed Zakaria’s new article, I was reminded of the Pew survey of global attitudes toward the U.S. released last month. The Pew survey includes a useful chart that tracks the decline in U.S. favorability from 1999/2000 through the Bush era and up to the present:
Looking back over the last decade, we are reminded just how dramatically U.S. favorability fell and in somes cases completely collapsed among NATO allies in 2002-03. U.S. favorability has never fully recovered from the effect of the Iraq war. The one country where U.S. favorability declined more slowly was in Britain, but even there it dropped from its 1999/2000 figure of 83% to the 2007 nadir of 51%. The drop in favorability in Germany during the same period was far worse (48 points), and in Turkey U.S. favorability fell to as low as 9%. Contrary to the recent complaints about the “abandonment” and “betrayal” of the Czechs and Poles, U.S. favorability in those countries is still recovering from its 2007 lows. In the Czech Republic, it fell to 45% that year from a ’99/’00 high of 77%, and in Poland it fell to 61%. U.S. favorability has improved in both countries, and in Poland it was as high as 74% as recently as two years ago. It shouldn’t be forgotten just how harmful the Iraq war was to America’s reputation in European public opinion, and how the U.S. is still only gradually recovering from that enormous self-inflicted wound.