Trump is unpopular worldwide. Should Americans care?

· October 2, 2018  
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American flags on a town sidewalk
Bill Chizek | Getty Images

A new Pew poll out today finds that President Donald Trump’s international popularity remains low.

The survey, which polled over 26,000 people from 25 nations, found that 70 percent of respondents expressed “no confidence” in President Trump.

Pew examined attitudes towards five world leaders: German Chancellor Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron, Chinese leader Xi Jinping, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and President Trump. In the poll, the five world leaders ranked in that order in “confidence to do the right thing regarding world affairs.”

But is it really a good thing to be a “popular” figure in the global community?

Both Chancellor Merkel and President Macron receive high favorables externally, but their own citizens have a different story to tell.

Merkel has opened the floodgates of Europe to an unchecked, unvetted, and unprecedented migrant wave. This has resulted in millions of Middle East migrants making a new home in Germany and Europe as a whole, complemented by a steady wave of Islamic terrorism. Over the summer, her Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party’s popularity fell to an all-time low.

The French president is also enormously unpopular among his countrymen. In September, Macron’s approval dropped to a new low of 31 percent. Macron, like Merkel, appears to be prioritizing international goals — such as open borders, climate accords, and cozying up to the terrorist regime in Iran — over his country’s essential interests.

President Trump has made it quite clear that he prefers American interests, given that his campaign platform and policies have revolved around the push to “Make America Great Again.” He has consistently challenged the elites’ bipartisan consensus on foreign policy, trade deals, and treaties that have definitely harmed American interests. His insistence on putting the American citizen first over “doing the right thing regarding world affairs” — whatever that even means — has angered the global elite. European progressives, especially, are frequently enraged and bitter that President Trump no longer wants to subsidize their entire defense so that they can continue to bolster social welfare programs, but such policies are not only unsustainable but unfair to America and damaging to our long-term interests.

It would be nice if Western European allies expressed confidence in the president’s ability to lead globally, but the bottom line is that it is not essential to the commander in chief’s “America-first” mission. With all due to respect to the global community, their demands should not mean much to the president of the United States, as he answers only to the American people. The president’s popularity among Americans is split down the middle, but for those who elected him, it remains incredibly high. As long as the United States and its president adhere to the Constitution and to individual rights, America has nothing to apologize for. Every nation has the right to protect its sovereignty. And if protecting and prioritizing sovereignty causes the European hoards to express their disapproval for this president, then so be it.

The poll also showcases an interesting split between countries with the highest and lowest opinions of the United States and the Trump administration.

If anything, the Pew poll provides more evidence that the world is rapidly changing. There are severe fractures between America and its once-steady traditional Western allies. It’s not useful to deny this reality, and there are no signs that the old structure will magically remake itself. While the president’s policies are now despised in hyper-progressive states like Germany, France, and elsewhere in Western and Northern Europe, the U.S. alliance is still celebrated in Poland, Israel, Kenya, South Korea, and the Philippines. Policymakers should accept this geopolitical reality, sooner rather than later, and accept that the latter countries may have much more to offer than our once-traditional allies. It is no coincidence that nations that prioritize sovereignty over “global interests” seem to also have a higher level of appreciation for the United States’ role in the world.


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Author: Jordan Schachtel

Jordan Schachtel is the national security correspondent for Conservative Review and editor of The Dossier for CRTV. Follow him on Twitter @JordanSchachtel.