American Power and Influence Seen as a Threat Across the Globe

People around the world are increasingly seeing the United States as a threat rather than a guarantor of peace, freedom, and security. The non-profit, non-partisan Pew Research Center found this factor after polling over 27,000 people in 26 different countries, including the U.S., France, South Africa, and Mexico.

The poll revealed a startling trend. In 2013, just 25 percent of people named American influence as a threat. By the time the poll was conducted in April/May of 2018, that number had risen to 45 percent. The poll numbers suggest that many people are worried about President Trump and his stance on military power and global relations.

Interestingly, many of those countries wary of American power and influence are traditional American allies. A full 66 percent of Japanese are worried about U.S. influence, nudging over the 64 percent of Mexicans who report the same. The most fearful are actually South Koreans, with 67 percent reporting that U.S. power is a threat. Even in Canada, 46 percent of people are worried about America. That’s actually higher than the 46 percent of Russians who are worried about American influence.

However, in the case of the Japanese and South Koreans, it’s possible that some citizens are worried about a U.S. withdrawal from said countries. The United States maintains a large military presence in both countries, effectively guaranteeing their security.

In the United States, the most pressing concern is cyber attacks, with 74 percent believing they are a threat. 59 percent of people view climate change as a threat, while 62 percent cite ISIS. “Only” 44 percent of Americans are worried about the global economy and 48 percent are worried about China. However, a majority of Americans are worried about North Korea’s nukes and Russian influence.

The United States isn’t viewed as the biggest threat, however. That title was conferred upon climate change; citizens from 13 of the 26 countries polled cited it as their top concern. Over 70 percent of citizens in Italy, Japan, Kenya, Greece, Germany, France, Brazil, Mexico, the Netherlands, South Korea, Spain, and Argentina are worried about climate change. In fact, 90 percent of Greeks cite climate change as a threat.

Meanwhile, in Poland, respondents reported that Russian influence was their top concern.

The opinions expressed here by contributors are their own and are not the view of OpsLens which seeks to provide a platform for experience-driven commentary on today's trending headlines in the U.S. and around the world. Have a different opinion or something more to add on this topic? Contact us for guidelines on submitting your own experience-driven commentary.
Brian Brinker

Brian Brinker is a political consultant and has an M.A in Global Affairs from American University.

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