What other countries think of the United States

A few weeks ago, I blogged about what the United States thinks of other countries -- its rather cruel view of Afghanistan being one of the less fortunate things about that Pew Poll.

Today, Andrew Kohut, the head of the fantastically useful Pew Research Center, testified before the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on International Organizations, Human Rights, and Oversight -- and let them know just what everyone else thinks of us. He included this chart in his testimony:

Some things to note:

  • Kenyans like Americans better than Americans like themselves.
  • Just one in a hundred Jordanians thought favorably of the United States in the wake of the Iraq invasion.
  • In Middle Eastern countries, support for the United States plummeted as soon as it invaded Iraq. Support for the United States dwindled over time in European countries, as the two wars dragged on.
  • The Obama bounce was biggest in France and Germany.
  • The average variance of opinion is 25.5 percent. 

The chart also allows us to determine the United States' most fickle friend -- that is, the country whose opinion of the United States has varied most over the course of the past decade. The honor goes to Indonesia. The country most steady in its views of the United States? Palestine, which has never cared for Washington much, apparently. Chart after the jump.


British Conservatives endorsed by... Robert Mugabe!

Ever eager to criticize the sitting British government, Zimbabwe's President Robert Mugabe piped in today with an endorsement of the Conservative party's David Cameron in the British election. This is, to be sure, more of an indictment (if that's the right word...) of Brown than a boost for Cameron. "Conservatives are bold, [Tony] Blair and [Gordon] Brown run away when they see me, but not these fools, they know how to relate to others," Mugabe said.

(Apparently Mugabe hasn't done his homework: in 2008, Cameron told a Chatham House audience that Britain should be ready to send a big aid package to Zimbabwe ... if and when Mugabe has been voted out.)

Timing is everything on this odd piece of news. Just today, Robert Mugabe announced that he plans to stand again in Zimbabwe's next election -- just days after celebrating his 86th birthday. South African President Jacob Zuma was also in London today meeting with Gordon Brown, a visit during which Zuma pushed for an end to sanctions on Zimbabwe's unity government. Brown declined, citing the need for "free and fair" elections first.  (Sadly, not likely if Mugabe is still around.)

It's all quite depressing, really. In recent months, Zuma has convinced Mugabe's partners in the coalition government, Prime Minister Morgan Tsvangirai's Movement for Democratic Change (MDC)  to drop all their outstanding demands from the Mugabe camp so that negotiations can really focus on just one: free and fair elections in what will likely be 2012. Now that it's certain Mugabe will be in the ring, still fighting, the prospects of even that one request are ever the more bleak.  For Zimbabwe, it doesn't quite matter who's prime minister in London.

Hat tip: Alex Massie, guest-blogging on the Daily Dish. 

For more, I appeared on the Leonard Lopate show today to talk about Zimbabwe. Listen here.