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What are other countries thinking about us?

Updated: Nov 11, 2020

Kyra Garabedian

Graphics Editor

Photo via PEW Research Center

Whether you are paying attention to the news or not you have undoubtedly become skeptical of what is currently happening in the United States. Between the pandemic that always seems to be worse in the U.S. than any other country and a fast approaching presidential election full of drama, there is no escaping it. As Americans we surely have our own thoughts about how it feels to be in the midst of chaos for the last several months. We are here on the inside while other countries have a very different perspective as they watch the series of events unfold. What are they thinking?

From a quick glance at reporting news articles it appears that many countries are currently rating the U.S. image at all time lows. Since the 2016 election, ratings in most countries have decreased after President Trump took office. As seen in the graphic from Pew Research above, most countries began to increase their ratings until the end of 2019. This can be attributed to the way the Coronavirus pandemic was handled in the U.S. as well as the 2020 Presidential race. Although this graphic can only tell us the general attitude of other countries toward the U.S. it is clear we can see something isn’t working.

I didn’t know a better way to understand what other countries are thinking than to ask someone I know who doesn’t currently live in the United States. My boyfriend has a close friend who has been living in Australia for the last several years. When asked to share her thoughts about what is happening in the U.S. she expressed how happy she was to not be living there anymore. She said it just seems like too much to deal with on a daily basis. We had a conversation about how the news and media can sometimes be misleading and she wasn’t sure if things were actually as bad as they seemed in the U.S. I agreed with her that the media can sometimes make it difficult to determine the true severity of what is happening.

Although her opinion is only the voice of one person from another country, I am sure many others feel the same way. She had a good point about how the media can influence what you see and think, especially if you aren’t physically observing a situation unfold. Regardless, the image of the U.S. is in trouble and there’s no surprise there. But does it really matter what other countries are thinking of us in our most difficult time?

I think it does matter to a degree. The U.S. has worked very hard to maintain a strong image and being at an all time low makes us appear weak and vulnerable. We don’t want other countries to feel as though the U.S. has become laughable because of the way major events are being handled. It is important to maintain relationships with other countries which might be difficult if the U.S. image continues to slip.

I’m not sure what we can do on a smaller scale to help this issue other than do our part by voting and following COVID-19 guidelines to stay safe. We are a united country after all, and we all need to work together in order to bring the positive image of the U.S. back.


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