World, horrified at Trump, sends US Ranking Plummeting

By Juan Cole | (Informed Comment) | – –

The US is usually number 1 in the German research firm Gfk’s rankings, headed up by political consultant Simon Anholt. They ask some 22,000 people around the world to rank countries on six scales.

This year it fell five full places to number 6. No such fall has taken place since 2004, when Americans elected George W. Bush to a second term. And in the past, falls only lasted for a year.

Angela Merkel is the leader of the free world, not Trump.


The Gfk’s poll doesn’t just measure favorability, but looks at 6 dimensions of a country, so that the US fall from grace is all the more surprising. The dimensions are governance, people, culture, exports, immigration-investment and tourism.

In governance, the US had been in 19th place. It is now in 23rd. Out of 50 countries. People think the US is worse governed than nearly half of the developed countries in the world. This dramatic fall in the governance score is pretty obviously caused by Trump.

There are categories where the US still performs very well. It is second in Culture and in Exports. So they like our music and films, and want to buy our cars. It is fifth for immigration-investment, which is a significant statistic. There are four other countries people from around the would rather invest in over the US, and four other countries they’d rather emigrate to than the US. I think the word got out that we as a country voted for Trump.

Germany has risen to the top of the list, displacing the US from global leadership. The only category where Germany is not in the top 5 is tourism. (Not sure why– Germany is *nice*.).

Germany improved its standing markedly in some countries. It was up 5 points in the view of Egyptians, e.g. But Americans are suspicious of it– it did not break the top ten with them.

France came in second, propelled by the popularity of Emmanuel Macron for governance but also benefiting from the impression that its culture and tourism are first rate.

Japan also climbed up the rankings this fall, in part on the quality of its exports.

The finding about the US decline is alarming and could be a sign that Trump is dragging the country down. In turn, that is important because many US goals require international cooperation.


17 Responses

  1. So this is what Trump meant when he said he was going to make America great again….he has got it backwards.

  2. I can picture the teeming crowds at future Trump rallies and their full-throated chant: “We’re Number Six!”

    Does anybody remember Patrick McGoohan’s ‘The Prisoner’?

  3. His poll numbers are abysmal and he hasn’t even blown a hole in the deficit and started a nuclear war yet! I predict by the end of this presidency he’ll be more unpopular than the HIV virus.

    • Trump prototype Pat Buchanan actually put out an editorial praising AIDS as a good thing because it would remove the scourge of homosexuality from our land. So for right-wingers, Trump and the HIV virus might be very popular for the same reason: they want their enemies exterminated the fastest way possible.

  4. At the risk of piling on, how does our nation expect to command respect on the international stage when the POTUS consistently gives in to his juvenile predilection for insults? I can’t get inside the man’s head but he can’t control his mouth. Is it any wonder that other nations scratch their heads and wonder whether the inmates are now in charge over here?

    • They should have abandoned us during Bush 1 or Bush 2. But the global corporations find America useful as a model for how they want the world run, i.e., Greed Is Good.

      When will the people of the world finally realize that the American corporations used their nation’s once-good name to impose their worthless oligopolies on the world through the sheer weight of its almighty dollar: everything from banking to Microsoft Windows? When will the world finally Boycott, Disinvest and Sanction the USA like it once did South Africa? The answer: when it’s willing to undergo real pain to stop our madness.

  5. Trump has accelerated the failure of the US.

    He makes it hard to ignore who we are.

    The social historian Morris Berman wrote a trilogy about the empire collapse. The second volume was in 2006 “Dark Ages America” and the third volume was 2014 “Why America Failed: The Roots of Imperial Decline.” He didn’t start out to write a trilogy, but after 9/11 came the second in 2006, as the collapse continued in 2014, years before Trump, he published the third volume.

    This is the book’s overview quoted below. I copied this from and only added blank lines to make it more readable.

    “Why America Failed shows how, from its birth as a nation of “hustlers” to its collapse as an empire, the tools of the country’s expansion proved to be the instruments of its demise.

    Why America Failed is the third and most engaging volume of Morris Berman’s trilogy on the decline of the American empire.

    In The Twilight of American Culture, Berman examined the internal factors of that decline, showing that they were identical to those of Rome in its late-empire phase.

    In Dark Ages America, he explored the external factors—e.g., the fact that both empires were ultimately attacked from the outside—and the relationship between the events of 9/11 and the history of U.S. foreign policy.

    • In his most ambitious work to date, Berman looks at the “why” of it all

    • Probes America’s commitment to economic liberalism and free enterprise stretching back to the late sixteenth century, and shows how this ideology, along with that of technological progress, rendered any alternative marginal to American history

    • Maintains, more than anything else, that this one-sided vision of the country’s purpose finally did our nation in.

    Why America Failed is a controversial work, one that will shock, anger, and transform its readers. The book is a stimulating and provocative explanation of how we managed to wind up in our current situation: economically weak, politically passé, socially divided, and culturally adrift.

    It is a tour de force, a powerful conclusion to Berman’s study of American imperial decline.

    • America was the first country founded by capitalists. They allowed it to become the first country run by salesmen. Bush Junior and Trump are nothing but salesmen; there is nothing else inside their heads. But even the great liberal presidents were salesmen who did have something inside their heads. Those are your only choices in our social order. It is our national characteristic to only recognize a salesman as a leader and only respond to the techniques of salesmanship.

  6. There is a serious message in this ranking decrease. This sudden decline is merely the start.

    Under Trump, serious safeguards must be put into place to avoid the eventual “Rogue Nation” status.

    Germany and Japan were once considered Rogue Nations where things did not end well for their citizens.

    It can happen, here.

  7. Trump IS merely a symptom. He accurately represents the underbelly of willful ignorance, racism, xenophobia and general bigotry against anyone who does not conform to the white Christin male paradigm.

  8. With all our violence and mass shootings it makes no sense for the US to be #1 to begin with.

  9. Angela Merkel is not the leader of the free world, in fact she is very weak now. Germany cannot even get back German journalists who are imprisoned by Turkey on espionage charges. She also cannot (or does not want to) lean on Ukraine to start complying with the Minsk Agreements, even though Germany is a guarantor of the agreements. She now has bad relations with the governments of most major countries (US, Russia (whose most important ally is China), UK, Turkey, Poland and other East European States, Greece and other Southern European States). On some key international issues, such as Syria, North Korea or Saudi Arabia, Germany’s voice is not even articulated, much less heard.

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