NEW YORK -- As President Joe Biden seeks to reinstate US leadership in the world, global audiences are skeptical about the role the United States will play after four years defined by isolation and retreat. New polling from FES New York and YouGov suggests that international audiences are amenable to multilateral cooperation, and that Biden has an opportunity to reestablish the US as a world leader by making clear commitments to key international agreements. However, there has been an erosion of confidence in US leadership, and foreign allies are hesitant to believe Biden will take the steps necessary to rebuild international relationships.
“Multilateral institutions and agreements have faced enormous challenges over the last few years with waning support from the United States and a global community overwhelmed by climate change, inequality, and now COVID-19,” said Michael Bröning, Executive Director of the FES New York office. “The pandemic and its economic consequences exacerbated points of tension in international relations. However, we are seeing encouraging signs that citizens have faith in multilateral cooperation as a solution to global issues. To engage this cautious optimism, it cannot be business as usual. People demand leadership in deeds not only in words. This means confronting the global health crises, climate change, and oppressive economic structures head-on. As we seek to emerge from the pandemic, and as President Biden steps into office, the encouraging news is that internationally President Biden’s leadership seems notably less contested than at home”
The poll, conducted in twelve countries -- Brazil, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Japan, Kenya, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, Turkey, and the United States -- is the first measure of global attitudes toward the new Biden administration and the future of U.S. leadership. The poll asked respondents questions on key issues from the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change to economic inequality and democracy.
“This is a first of its kind poll helping us understand where attitudes lie in this new, post-Trump era,” said John Ray, Director of Polling at YouGov Blue. “This measure of the global attitudes will allow leaders to translate uncertainty into concrete action, and help understand US standing in the months and years to come. What this poll tells us is that that there is a lot up for grabs for US leaders, and they can capitalize on this chance by engaging with foreign alliances and agreements as soon as possible.”
Countries around the world give President Biden high net approval ratings.
However, the world currently does not perceive the US to be showing a great deal of leadership on what were reported to be the top three issues the world currently faces: COVID-19, climate change, and the protection of human rights
The world has high hopes that President Biden will exert more leadership on these issues than his predecessor
Though the world believes President Biden will generally show more leadership on global issues, they are skeptical that he will take the concrete steps necessary to fully restore US leadership on the global stage.
Certain multilateral institutions, such as the UN and the WHO, enjoy favorable reputations, while others like the WTO do not. Still, most respondents reported having little interest in introducing new global institutions.
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