Newspaper Article Archive of
“Our political situation becomes more and more hopeless, and every day seems even more dire than the last. I no longer have days when I think it can’t get any worse—now every day is worse than the last. I no longer wish to do foreign travel—would have a hard time holding my head up and telling anyone I’m an American.”
Those are the words from a reader named Ann, written to me in an email as to her response to one of my op-eds published in The Desert Sun in Palm Springs, Calif. Since Donald Trump’s 2017 presidential inauguration, a majority of Americans have expressed the same sentiment as Ann.
Recently my wife and I along with six other couples traveled overseas, spending time in Prague, Czech Republic and cruising down the Danube River through Germany, Austria and Hungary via AmaWaterways.
The 164 passengers on our July 10-21 excursion hailed from four continents. The 56 AmaWaterways crew members were representative of three different continents.
Following an inherited behavioral trait from my dad (Lester, 1909-2000), I tried to interact with virtually everyone on the ship and with as many people-on-the-street who would tolerate my extrovertism. I only encountered one person, a female from Argentina, with USA citizenship, who outwardly endorsed Donald Trump’s presidency lock, stock and barrel. When I asked people from other countries if they would trade their leader for ours, not one person took me up on the offer.
So how bad is our relationship overseas? While our 45th president has stated, “The world is starting to respect the United States of America again,” multiple surveys suggest otherwise. The Pew Global Attitudes Project has found that citizens in 35 out of 37 countries have less confidence in Trump than any American president heretofore.
Of the 37 countries, “a median of just 22 percent have confidence in Trump doing the right thing when it comes to international affairs.” For compare and contrast purposes, the level of trust the 37 countries had for President Barack Obama was 64 percent.
What two countries have a more favorable opinion of America since Trump took office? Not surprisingly, Israel and Russia.
Trump’s policies and his character are the main centers of concern by 37 international countries. Policy-wise that includes international trade agreements, climate change accords, Muslim-majority nations restrictive entry to USA, nuclear weapons agreement and trade tariffs.
Trump’s character, in the eyes of a majority of people around the world, is viewed as “arrogant, intolerant, dangerous, not well-qualified and he doesn’t care about ordinary people.”
Where does Trump place with other major leaders on the international stage? Fourth place, behind German Chancellor Angela Merkel, second place Chinese President Xi Jinping and third place Russian President Vladimir Putin.
The Pew Research Center reports “while our 45th president is viewed with doubt and apprehension (22 percent approval), America’s overall image benefits from a substantial reservoir of good will.” Hence, Americans are seen more positively than the United States as a country. Should you travel, like Ann, overseas with your head bowed down and afraid to call yourself an American? Nah.’ As citizens we’re respected by our international friends and don’t fret as they can recognize a skunk in the White House just as well as you and me.
Steve Corbin is a non-paid freelance opinion editor and guest columnist contributor to 78 newspapers in six states who receives no funding or endorsements from any profit or not-for-profit organization.