Trump Lowers US Standing in the World

President Trump’s ill-informed arrogance has lowered the U.S. standing around the world, according to a new opinion study cited by ex-CIA analyst Paul R. Pillar.

By Paul R. Pillar

The Pew Research Center released last week the results of one of its periodic surveys of global views of the United States and its leadership and policies.  More than 40,000 people were polled in 37 countries across six continents, with the polling conducted between February and May. The most salient finding is a dramatic drop in confidence in the United States and more specifically in the current U.S. leadership.

President Donald Trump poses for photos with ceremonial swordsmen on his arrival to Murabba Palace, as the guest of Saudi King Salman, May 20, 2017, in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

When asked about “confidence in the U.S. president to do the right thing in world affairs,” 22 percent of those surveyed expressed confidence in Donald Trump and 74 percent expressed no confidence. This is a huge reversal from the last time the same question was asked about Barack Obama late in his presidency, in which 64 percent expressed confidence and 23 percent no confidence.

The rapidity as well as the magnitude of the change is striking.  Trump’s numbers approach those of George W. Bush near the end of his presidency, but in Bush’s case those depths were reached only after a long decline during his two terms. Trump has managed to bum people out around the world during his first four months in office.

In only two of the 37 countries surveyed was there an increase in confidence in the U.S. president since that last poll taken during Obama’s presidency. One is Israel, with a modest rise from 49 to 56 percent, although the latter figure is still slightly below the average for all five Pew polls taken during Obama’s tenure. A bigger rise is in Russia, where the figure of 53 percent having confidence in Trump is higher than any of the results in Russia for either Bush or Obama.

These results are not surprising in view of the deference Trump has shown to the governments of those two countries. The Pew survey did not include any Gulf Arab countries, but if it had, we perhaps would also have seen a rise in the numbers, for the same reason, in Saudi Arabia.

The overall results are not surprising either, in view of the many other indications of foreign popular sentiment toward Trump and his administration, as well as similar expressions from foreign leaders. The latter have included, for example, statements from the chancellor of Germany and the Canadian foreign minister reflecting a lack of confidence in Trump’s leadership.

Boorish Behavior

Although not surprising, the importance of what the poll results indicate for the success or failure of U.S. foreign policy and the advance or decline of U.S. interests is insufficiently appreciated within the United States. The problems are not limited to the chemistry between leaders that seems to get the most press attention at summit meetings, or to Trump’s boorish behavior, which has become a fixture at such meetings. Nor are they limited to the broader perceptions of Trump personally, as striking as those perceptions are.

President Donald Trump and First Lady Melania Trump join Saudi King Salman, and Egyptian President Abdel Fattah Al Sisi, May 21, 2017, to participate in the inaugural opening of the Global Center for Combating Extremist Ideology. (Official White House Photo by Shealah Craighead)

As documented by the Pew survey, there is less confidence in Trump to do the right thing than in Xi Jinping of China or Vladimir Putin of Russia. The three adjectives that respondents most attached to Trump were “arrogant,” “intolerant,” and “dangerous.”

Broader difficulties are suggested by how the Pew results show that the standing of the United States itself has fallen with the advent of Trump. Compared with the last such poll during Obama’s presidency, favorable views of the United States dropped from 64 to 49 percent and unfavorable views rose from 26 to 39 percent.

The Trumpian slogan of “America first” tends to disguise the larger implications of such results. Set aside for the moment the falsity of that slogan, given that subcontracting segments of foreign policy to the Israelis or Saudis (or glossing over whatever Russia may be up to) is not putting America first. The slogan, and the set of attitudes underlying it, implies a nonchalance about foreign attitudes and a belief that Americans need not care what foreigners think. That belief misses much of how foreign attitudes and perceptions, which influence foreign government policies, can redound, for good or for ill, on U.S. objectives.

Successful foreign policy involves getting other states to act in ways that advance or protect the interests of one’s own state. To the extent that the people and policymakers in those other states have “confidence in the U.S. president to do the right thing in world affairs,” they are more likely to act in the way the U.S. president would like them to act. Lacking such confidence, they are that much less likely to act in accordance with U.S. wishes.

This principle applies regardless of the content of U.S. policy and grand strategy. It is the reason the plunge in this kind of confidence from late Obama to early Trump is important.

The survey results also provide perspective on criticisms and standards applied to previous administrations. Criticisms of Obama about supposedly surrendering U.S. leadership look especially strange now, considering what has come after him.

Paul R. Pillar, in his 28 years at the Central Intelligence Agency, rose to be one of the agency’s top analysts. He is author most recently of Why America Misunderstands the World. (This article first appeared as a blog post at The National Interest’s Web site. Reprinted with author’s permission.)

84 comments for “Trump Lowers US Standing in the World

  1. Eddy
    July 13, 2017 at 06:17

    The U.S.’s standing around the World was already rock bottom before Trump even got to the Whitehouse. LOL.
    In fact that’s one of the reasons American voted for him because he promised to remake it. LOL.
    We all know how well that turned out too.

  2. desert mary
    July 8, 2017 at 22:05

    Trump is a puppet of the deep state and if the American people aren’t aware of that yet, heaven help them!
    Presidents come and go, but the shadow government remains and continually gets stronger. Presidents are there only to blame…for no other reason!

  3. Tomk
    July 8, 2017 at 21:18

    If the truth were fully known how low do you think the “standing” of the USA would actually be? Really….

  4. Vera
    July 7, 2017 at 09:57

    There are still many of us who believe in civilized behaviour, no matter how much we might despise the opponent. There is such a thing as dignity…

  5. Cal
    July 6, 2017 at 18:36

    Face it…..between the cesspool of US politicians and their pimps and the degenerate Hollywood and TV garbage fed to society the US is a freaky Circus.

  6. Mild-ly Facetious
    July 6, 2017 at 18:16

    It’s most likely Gorka wrote Trump’s Nationalist flavored speech to adoring Right Wing Poles at his first stop in Europe. Ultra right wing nationalists are Trump’s Chosen People.

    Trump staffer Sebastian Gorka endorsed Hungarian militia disbanded for racist views

    April 3, 2017

    Before Sebastian Gorka joined President Trump’s administration, the ex-Hungarian pol reportedly endorsed a uniformed militia disbanded for racist views.

    In 2007, Gorka told a Hungarian TV host that his right-wing party saw a need for the controversial paramilitary group known as Magyar Gárda, according to Fusion.

    “That is so,” Gorka said, when confronted on his support for the radical militia with black vests, caps and arrows associated with the anti-Semitic Arrow Cross Party.

    The interviewer asked, “So why do you think Fidesz (Hungarian Civic Alliance) would support this type of military organization?”

    Susan Rice asked to unmask Trump officials in intel reports
    “Because they must do that,” Gorka replied, according to two minutes of the Hungarian interview that was translated to English.

    Counter-terrorism adviser Sebastian Gorka aired his support for a right-wing milita disbanded by a Hungarian court.

    Now, Gorka serves as Trump’s counter-terrorism adviser. The 11-minute segment on Echo TV aired the same year Jobbik’s leader formed the extremist militia. A Hungarian court disbanded the militia for repeatedly harassing Roma villages and fashioning its uniform after the fascist Arrow Cross Party, which briefly came to power during World War II.

  7. Stiv
    July 6, 2017 at 16:42

    If ever there was a case of “groupthink”, it’s this comment section of CN. Did I see someone consider FN and Breitbart as legitmate avenues for “alternative viewpoints”? LOL. Someone do a tally for the number of times “I agree completely” is parroted here. There are only a couple reasonable viewponts left here and thanks to those for not joining the circle jerk.

  8. Mild-ly Facetious
    July 6, 2017 at 12:41

    Trump the Triumphalist and his designated agenda to eviscerate All Things Obama. (A Fools Errand.)

    Triumphalist behavior is behavior in which politicians or organizations celebrate a victory or a great success, especially when this is intended to upset the people they have defeated.

    A triumphalist celebration of their supremacy.

  9. Mild-ly Facetious
    July 6, 2017 at 12:24

    Trump kept a copy of this at his bedside…

  10. MLK
    July 6, 2017 at 10:03

    Before taking this author too seriously check out his “I’m with Hillary” fabrications right before the election:

    He professed then and now to be ever so concerned about what then candidate and now President Trump has done to global perceptions of our democratic institutions.

    He wouldn’t be ex-CIA if he weren’t casually emanating defamatory lies:

    “The ugly picture includes the amount of attention given — unsurprisingly and necessarily so, given the character, comments, and conduct of Donald Trump — to such things as allegations of a candidate sexually assaulting women.”

    Read the above link and ask yourself whether, given that its audience is progressives deciding whether to vote for the purported lesser of two evils, it couldn’t have been penned from start to finish by Hillary’s campaign.

    More consequentially, not the least for Pillar’s credibility, he said this:

    “. . . and the biggest headline coming from Wednesday night’s debate was his refusal to commit to accepting the election result.”

    That, again, was likely cribbed from the Hillary campaign. Or, I guess, ex-CIA progressive just happened to be on the same page at the same moment as the election was days away. If you will watch the debate you will see that for Hillary, and all of her associates like this author, American democracy commanded that only candidate Trump be asked this question. And, needless to add, Pillar went Radio Silent on his lectures about the losing candidate (and her associates) accepting the election results and not, um, for example, immediately switching to “Putin stole the election from Hillary.”

    • mike k
      July 6, 2017 at 10:21

      A lot of well meaning folks voted for what they thought was a lesser evil. Were they wrong? That question is still up in the air, and probably will never be answered unless Trump out does Hillary in getting us into another major war.

  11. Herman
    July 6, 2017 at 08:12

    “A bigger rise is in Russia, where the figure of 53 percent having confidence in Trump is higher than any of the results in Russia for either Bush or Obama.

    These results are not surprising in view of the deference Trump has shown to the governments of those two countries.”

    Did Mr. Pillar really want to use the word deference when referring to Russia? For Israel it fits but I have to assume Mr. Pillar would have chosen a different word after giving it some thought.

    Then again, that may be his real feeling when he refers to the President “glossing over” Russia’s behavior. Some people just can’t let go.

  12. Paranam Kid
    July 6, 2017 at 06:35

    Unfortunately Trump will not care about this information, in short he is too full of himself.

  13. R Davis
    July 6, 2017 at 04:28

    Doesn’t it depend on who you ask ?
    I’m sure that there are those who feel – that Donald Trump is bringing to the fore – attention to many with similar qualities as his own –
    who have had to hide their light under a bush – till now.
    Discrimination is an ugly trait – we should all look to embrace all facets of humanity – n’est pas.

  14. Tannenhouser
    July 5, 2017 at 23:36

    IMO trump is the best thing to happen to merica. Finally the myth is busting in real time, the actual shit hole of a country is on full display. Toto couldn’t have done it better.

  15. July 5, 2017 at 22:39

    Backwardsevolution, what I find most interesting is that Putin and Xi are coordinating more closely and have directly stated to the US that the world is no longer unipolar and the US has to give up its intent to force everyone else to abide by US decisions.

    Obama was so disgustingly patronizing with both of them, especially Putin, that he facilitated their collaboration, and the world is much better for it. How Trump plays his cards at the G20 summit will be telling, especially in meeting Putin.

  16. July 5, 2017 at 20:51

    I really believe there is a “paradigm shift” going on worldwide. Economic issues have been greatly exacerbated through the wars, the refugee crisis is affecting so many countries, climate issues include extreme worldwide weather events, there are many profound changes.

    I just don’t think people are buying the manufactured reality analysis media is presenting. Populism is a manufactured word for rejection of status quo and we’re seeing more signs of such rejection, I think. Media will try to tamp it down, but I don’t see it working as before since 15 years of unending warmaking have produced nothing but chaos. That’s why I think Trump is a catalyst for change, not through any shrewd strategy of his making, but because of forcing confrontation that has never been allowed by the power structure.

    • mike k
      July 5, 2017 at 21:17

      Trump will be gone someday. The question is, will he take the rest of us with him?

      • backwardsevolution
        July 5, 2017 at 22:16

        Uh, no. If he wanted to take us with him, he would have bombed the crap out of Syria (when they were falsely blamed for the chemical attack), but he didn’t. He warned everybody ahead of time, and then he barely did any damage. He didn’t even harm their runway.

        I’d like to be a fly on the wall when he talks to Putin at the G20. I’m sure we’d hear quite a different story. Trump would never sell the U.S. down the river, but he wants to do business (just like he said in his campaign). He does not want to make useless war. I’m quite sure Putin already knows this.

        And if Trump was such a warmonger, the U.S. would not be losing in Syria right now, and they are losing.

        • mike k
          July 6, 2017 at 07:48

          Trump not a warmonger? Look at the guys he put in charge of the military with carte blanche to do as they see fit. Look at the huge weapons deal with the Saudi’s. The bellicose threats to North Korea and Iran. What has this guy done for peace? Nada, zip. It’s anybody’s guess now what this overgrown ignorant, egotistical child will do with all his new toy soldiers next. He seems to be caving for the neocon formula: Syria, then Iran, then Russia, then China and BINGO! We rule the world!

          • mike k
            July 6, 2017 at 07:56

            In order to reverse our march towards catastrophic war, positive actions need to be taken immediately. Trump by his inaction is allowing our fatal trend to progress unchecked.

          • mike k
            July 6, 2017 at 08:00

            The threat by Trump’s administration to severely punish the next (false flag) sarin attack in Syria may signal the phony excuse to insert more US troops into a major war effort in Syria.

    • backwardsevolution
      July 5, 2017 at 22:10

      Jessica K – yes, I agree. Trump, in his very awkward way, is laying the media, intelligence community, politicians, central bankers out on the table for everyone to see. That type of exposure doesn’t come along every day. Seth Rich, Wikileaks have also helped. Everyone got to see what was done to Bernie Sanders, and the MSM are now being called liars by people who never would have said that before. This stuff is priceless.

      The elite are squirming re healthcare. Look at Governor Brown of California backtracking on single-payer. Even the socialists, the people who are supposed to be looking out for the little guy, are being exposed for the liars they are.

      It’s slowly coming apart at the seams, and the blundering Trump is a big part of this unraveling.

      • irina
        July 5, 2017 at 23:51

        Well, 2017 is the Chinese Year of the Fire Rooster
        (12 cycle animal zodiac x 5 cycle element zodiac =
        60 year cycle), following the 2016 Election Year of the
        Fire Monkey, so maybe Chinese astrology predicted
        this long ago . . .

      • Dave P.
        July 6, 2017 at 01:33

        Jessica, Jerry Brown is the latest one to add to the list of disappointments starting with president Clinton. We voted for him in three elections. He is not the same Jerry Brown we voted for in 1978. He did not say a word about all these wars and destruction. With his Italian, tailored suits he has been inching towards The Establishment for some time now. They say he is thinking of his legacy now.

    • backwardsevolution
      July 6, 2017 at 04:55

      Jessica K – just saw this quote: “The American people, by and large, have no more idea how false and fragile the financial arrangements of the nation are than the average eight-year-old has about why the re-po squad is towing away Daddy’s Ford-F150.”

      Trump said a while back that the U.S. is in a real mess. It really is. Some states are teetering on the brink of bankruptcy, half the country isn’t working, costs are escalating, and the national debt is enormous. I don’t think there’s really a lot that Trump can do. I mean, where does he start?

      I think the country is doing the only thing it can do – falling apart. Out of collapse will come renewal, but I believe it’s going to have to collapse before people smarten up.

      • mike k
        July 6, 2017 at 07:34

        I agree that the US is in the process of collapsing, but as for people smartening up – that’s not going to happen. The hope that disaster will somehow bring us to our senses is a false one. Becoming sensible is a long process requiring inner work and appropriate help. Neither of these necessities for healthy development will be available in the disaster we are heading into. Sorry about that. The karma we have patiently built for ourselves over the years is not going to vanish due to more difficult circumstances. Sometimes reality really sucks, but it would work in our favor if we learned to pay proper attention to it. Unfortunately our joke of an educational system doesn’t teach that.

    • Jessejean
      July 8, 2017 at 19:50

      Jessica–I agree with you, there is a paradigm shift happening and I think it will start to be come clear in 5 years. I’m a bit woo-woo and that’s when the great Pluto return happens. Until then, it’ll be grimmer and grimmer, as the realpolitik of the post World War II era disappears. We are going to suffer a lot unless we can kill off the neo lib mind control of the Dems and reinstitute the FDR/ Bernie vision of the US. Until then, China will continue its ascendency as it’s the only nation smart enough to avoid our warmaking CIA. In my humble o.

  17. John P
    July 5, 2017 at 20:47

    I beg to differ with some opinions here. Tweeting is not the way to communicate at the governmental level on matters of high importance and sensitivity. Already he has had to back-off from a few of his impulsive inflammatory tweets.
    Obama gave you Obama-care, the best he could get past the house and senate. Trump is trying to take much of that away. To me all persons should have the right to health care. As I said years ago, a functioning body is more important to a labourer than someone of equal age working at a desk. The US is coming late into the field of universal healthcare compared to the rest of the western world. Interestingly enough a cousin of mine, not in the USA, needed a joint replacement and went private. The joint didn’t last over 2 years and needed replacement because it had deteriorated. This time he went on the public system and got much better treatment. The original implant was not titanium as it should have been. I wonder if this was because the private system wanted to save money.
    As for the Middle East, I don’t think Trump has a clue, unless business interests are on the back of his mind, to the past regional history, and is making a deeper dangerous mess of the region. Does he know what the US did to Iran in 1952, and how many suffered under the Shah? I don’t think so. Is he aware of the terrorism perpetrated by Zionist on their own people (stopping Jewish refugee vessels landing in the States, rather have them go to Palestine instead) and Palestinians before to shortly after WWII.

    His UN Ambassador Haley from Wikkipedia:
    “Haley has been described by South Carolina Senator Lindsey Graham as a “strong supporter of the State of Israel”. As Governor of South Carolina, she signed into law a bill to stop efforts of the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement. This legislation was the first of its kind on a statewide level. Haley also stated that “nowhere has the UN’s failure been more consistent and more outrageous than in its bias against our close ally Israel”.”

    “Haley expressed interest in the Israeli U.S. embassy being moved to Jerusalem during a May 16, 2017 interview. On June 7, Haley charged the U.N. with having “bullied Israel for a very long time” and pledged the US would end this treatment while in Jerusalem.”

    As an accountant with a BSc, I hope she had a lot of extra studies into history and political events. She’s dithered on abortion rights.

    And to reveal how the Trump team operates behind the scenes I suggest looking at:

    Enabling a Dangerous President: The Jared Kushner Timeline

    • Dave P.
      July 5, 2017 at 21:37

      John P: Nikkey Haley is what you see it on TV, an ignorant, rootless, opportunist, and uneducated person unfit for the position she occupies. Once upon a time that position used to be filled by seasoned diplomats and people with great intellect. President Kennedy appointed Adlai Stevenson, the Democratic presidential candidate in 1952 and 56 against Eisenhower, in 1961 to this job. Adlai Stevenson was a great figure in the American politics.

      • backwardsevolution
        July 5, 2017 at 22:21

        Dave P. – I wonder what filters prospective cabinet members had to go through before Trump was allowed to “okay” them. Sounds like Israel might have been doing the choosing when Nikki Haley’s name came up. She is an idiot, but she sticks up for Israel every single chance she gets. As you said, what seasoned “diplomat” would ever do that? No, she is bought and paid for and she should be removed.

        • Dave P.
          July 6, 2017 at 01:17

          backwardsevolution: Nikki Haley is one of those clever, manipulative type of people, without any substance, depth or integrity, who want to climb up by whatever means.

          I am reminded of the conversation in Leo Tolstoy’s novel “Anna Karenina” between Levin and his friend prince Oblonsky at Levin’s country estate, where he lives. Levin talking to prince Oblonsky:

          ” . . . we are aristocrats, and not those who can only exist by the favor of the powerful of this world, and who can be bought for twopence halfpenny”.

          Nikki Haley is one of those who can be bought for twopence halfpenny. That is why she sticks up for Israel every single chance she gets

          • backwardsevolution
            July 6, 2017 at 04:40

            Dave P. – twopence halfpenny, what a great description! Halfpenny Haley.

            I haven’t read Anna Karenina yet, but I picked up the book several weeks ago at a yard sale. I’ve only read a couple of short stories by Tolstoy, so I’m looking forward to it. “The Death of Ivan Ilyich” I believe is free on-line and it’s a very good story.

            The question asked in the short story is: “What if my whole life has been wrong?”

            A question we should all ask ourselves often.

    • Dave P.
      July 6, 2017 at 02:22

      John P: I used to like Bill Moyers one time. But lately he has joined this “Russia Threat” chorus as well. I think he is wrong on that. It seems like, living near New York, close to The Establishment is having it’s effect on him, finally. For many years now, he has been silent about the U.S. interventions in Middle East and elsewhere.

      • John P
        July 6, 2017 at 15:16

        He’s only giving time lines between events and it makes an interesting picture so far. I hope America and Russia can work things out, but besides that, I’m concerned about Trump, his family and in-laws with their business interests in mind. I really worry about Trumps decision making influenced by his kin and business.
        In my mind I have little problem with Russia and Crimea. Why can’t they hold on to their southern seaport Sevastopol and most of the people there speak Russian and are probably happy with the situation?

  18. rg gaylor
    July 5, 2017 at 20:14

    Well, kinda. Trump is the manifestation of lowering the US standing in the world. That was happening with the Clintonite assumption of ascendancy, or the programs of the Trumpian predecessors going back through the pro-oligarchic constitution to the very first European settlers determined to remove the indigenous peoples. That they succeeded and their descendants continue to use the same invade, irritate, remove/annihilate, take etc. program whether in Iraq, Afghanistan, Venezuela, Argentina directly or by the Brzezinskian proxies is irrelevant.

    But then, who the hell am I, a mere denizen of the Llano Estacado, in my easy chair. My only real question is what will get us first? Armageddon or planetary eco-collapse?

    • mike k
      July 5, 2017 at 21:11

      Good question. I think it will be a close race, but Amaggedon has the edge, due to it’s quick and decisive closing move. But Eco-collapse has a slow and steady pace that is guaranteed to win if Amageddon should falter.

  19. MaDarby
    July 5, 2017 at 20:13

    Trump, of course, is a crude jackass and worse. Yet, all be it quite unknowingly, he is doing great damage to the most destructive empire the world has ever known.

    I was only months old when the country of my birth dropped atomic bombs on two cities filled with innocent people incinerating tens of thousands on the spot and causing radiation poisoning which went on for generations. From that day to this the country of my birth has caused the death of many people – tens of millions of people have been killed by the US over the past 70 years and a billion – actually billions – have been deliberately made to suffer economically and suffer curable diseases to keep the world too weak to resist the empire.

    Whatever harm Trump is doing to the US and its continuous slaughter of innocents is a cause for celebration. The more diminished the US is the weaker it is the better the world becomes.

  20. Adrian Engler
    July 5, 2017 at 16:26

    As far as Western Europe is concerned, I think there are several reasons why the current US administration is much less popular than the previous one.

    In general, Democrats are much more popular than Republicans. The main reason for this is probably that, while Democrats are relatively similar to centrist and center-right (in rare cases center-left) European politicians, US Republicans are generally outside the “normal” spectrum of European politics and, from the point of view of most European countries look like an odd far-right party (not only since Trump). A center-right politician like Angela Merkel is much closer to the Democratic party than to the Republican party. Many of the goals of Bernie Sanders that seemed to be very much to the left in the US were close to the status quo that enjoys broad political support in many European countries.

    For similar reasons, most influential European media tend to side with US Democrats. There are few that could be comparable to Fox News, and people in European media probably – apart from their own correspondents – probably mostly rely on US mainstream media that are close to Democrats.

    The last time, the US had a very low standing in Western Europe was under George W. Bush. Of course, he was unpopular from the start, as most Republican presidents are – surveys reliably show that vast majorities of Western Europeans prefer the Democratic candidates, they also would have preferred Al Gore -, but the extremely negative view of George W. Bush mainly had to do with the war of aggression against Iraq. This war was opposed by most European governments, and most European media did not support it. When people followed most European media, they did not have the impression that Iraq probably had WMD (as someone who uncritically relied on the US press, even the mainstream “liberal” one would probably have thought), but that this was just a pretext for going to war and that weapons inspections could have gone on if someone really thought it was necessary.

    Of course, not only Republican presidents have started wars of aggression. But the wars that were started by Democratic presidents (e.g. the wars of aggression against Yugoslavia and Libya, and the support for Islamist militias in Syria) were generally wars in which also European powers were deeply involved and which the press covered much more positively.

    In the case of Trump, it is, in my view, really a bit odd because so far, he has not done anything that could be compared with these wars of aggression. Of course, Trump is further away from the political mainstream in Europe than Obama, but European media – like large parts of the US mainstream media – have been conducting a constant campaign against Trump and attempt to present the situation as if Trump was much worse than previous US presidents.

    Somehow, criticism of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton has never been strong in European media, and their belligerent policies were rarely discussed. Also, since Europeans generally know less about the details of US domestic policy and are not directly affected by it, appearances are even more important, and Barack Obama is certainly much better in that respect than Donald Trump (or George W. Bush).

    Climate accords are also treated by many people as something very important, and they are much less controversial than in the US. This certainly also contributes to a much better opinion about Barack Obama than about George W. Bush and Donald Trump.

    • backwardsevolution
      July 5, 2017 at 18:04

      Adrian – a lot of good points. I think that, just like the world’s central banks are in collusion, so too are the world’s media. A league of devils.

    • Dave P.
      July 5, 2017 at 19:04

      Adrian: Excellent, very revealing comments. Democrats’ wars are good wars, while Republicans’ wars are bad wars! If Hillary would have been elected, we would have already couple of Good Wars going on at this time. Now when Trump starts one – and Media and Celebrities supporting it – there is going to be lot of confusion in public’s mind. The MSM media pundits are probably thinking right now how to fix the people’s minds to rid them of this confusion.

  21. mark
    July 5, 2017 at 14:29

    Trump may present himself, or be misrepresented by others if you prefer, as an inept, clownish, bumptious buffoon. But this is ultimately an irrelevance. People like Trump, Obama, Cameron, Blair, Macron and their ilk are just trained monkeys and glove puppets taught to read an autocue and serve the interests of the Deep State and the powerful, vested, moneyed interests of the 0.01% who own it. America is owned and run by 6,000 people, Britain by a slightly smaller elite of 5,000. Everything else is just froth and window dressing. Nothing will change. There has been no change of any significance in policy or behaviour. Wars continue and escalate and others are currently being planned. This is the case in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen. Further wars against Iran, N. Korea and others are work in progress. There will be no difference in foreign or domestic policy. The living standards of Americans will not improve. Tens of millions will remain without any access to healthcare. The yawning chasm between rich and poor will continue to widen. 2.5 million Americans, mainly black, will remain in prison. Education standards will continue to plummet. America will continue to spend more than the rest of the planet combined (real figure about $1.2 trillion plus another $100 billion on “Intelligence”.) The National Debt (officially $20 trillion but more like $230 trillion) will continue to explode as America completes its journey to bankruptcy. The Constitution will be shredded as America continues on its path to an ever more crude and blatant militarised oligarchy. All policy will be fashioned to serve the needs of a handful of powerful interest groups like the military/industrial/intelligence/media complex, energy companies, big pharma, Wall Street, the Israel and Saudi lobbies and a few others. Nothing will change. It doesn’t matter if Trump gropes a few women or expresses himself crudely. It doesn’t make any difference. If Clinton had become President, there wouldn’t be a cigarette papers difference in the actual policies pursued. To pretend otherwise and become fixated on this trivia just diverts attention from reality and allows the merry go round to keep turning. It makes a difference to Trump and Clinton and a few of their cronies which one of them wins the job of trained monkey and gets to line their pockets. But that’s about the limit of it.

    • mike k
      July 5, 2017 at 15:43

      Your simplification of our situation is mostly accurate, and helpful in understanding it all. However after simplifying, we need to realize that reality is much more complex and messy and unpredictable than our simple models take account of.

      Trump, Putin, and Xi Jinping are not merely passive sock puppets, as much as they may appear to be so. And the powers of those who hold great power are not absolute and unchanging. And things will not necessarily continue within patterns we are accustomed to. People are unique and unpredictable, and that includes those at the top of the power pyramid. And among those power wielding individuals there is fierce and constant struggle for supremacy. And it’s not like 6,000 elites sit down and carefully decide and agree on what they will try to do in coming days. All these and other factors such as the weather and climate change are very volatile and in many ways not under human control. Even the money economy has this unruly characteristic. Scientists have had to come up with a whole new branch of math and physics called chaos theory to simply take notice of the wild ride we are all on.

      So I think it would be a mistake to rely too heavily on our simplified models of society and history to guide us in the complex task of understanding how to deal with the ongoing crisis that our lives have become. Intuition and creativity are still going to play a crucial role in
      this quest for human survival.

      • Dave P.
        July 5, 2017 at 17:14

        mike K : your comments are very thoughtful and make lot of sense. People are people, we must not lose hope. Things can change. I observed it the with some of the people – who are rather well off – I know last year during primaries, when Bernie Sanders was raising some economic, and universal health care issues. He had quite an impact on millions of people. He could have done the same regarding other issues like need to have real people owned media as a counterweight to MSM, change of foreign policy direction, NeCon controlled think tanks and their influence, $1.2 trillion spent annually on weapons, wars, and intelligence. I never believed he was a genuine progressive. I still think he is a fake socialist. There was a large audience during primaries, and the country missed a genuine opportunity.

        Regarding polls, the majority of people are going to believe, whatever they learn from MSM. To illustrate my point, we were invited to this big party last Monday Evening. There was a Ukrainian Couple – immigrated about twenty years ago – from Odessa. There was an the American (born here) couple, neighbors of the host. And two or three others American born, including my wife. The rest were all professional couples, doctors, engineers, businessmen, and others – all my ethnic background. This Ukrainian – I thought the couple was Turkish – whose daughter is married to the host’s son, was peddling all these lies to the guests: Russians attacked Crimea, killed lot of people and took it over, Russians have attacked the Donbass and killing thousands of people, Russians attacked Georgia and took over Abkhazia, and S. Ossetia, Putin is the cruelist dictator Russia ever had. It seemed like that all the people he talked to believed in it. This Ukrainian’s narrative reinforced what they are learning from MSM. And you take their poll, that is what you are going to learn. A perfect recipe for going to wars. The same is true of Trump’s rating – with MSM after him day and night. Of course, he is not helping himself.

        I knew some of these people at the party for many years. I do not think they have ever read a book in their lives beyond their very narrow curriculum during their school years. All their news comes from MSM. But they are very clever people. They know how to vote on their own economic interests. But a few of them last year did vote for Bernie Sanders after watching him on MSM for many months. So, there is hope that public opinion can be molded if the message can be got through with the right person.
        If a person like Tulsi Gabbard runs in the democratic party primaries in 2020, it possibly can change the political dynamic in the right direction.

    • Dave P.
      July 5, 2017 at 15:49

      “Wow” , you have given quite a detour of the state of affairs in the U.S.A. as it is, Mark. It is pessimistic to think of it, but it is all true. But we must not lose hope. There may come a wise and principled leader who may appear in the near future and will be able to change the things so that the Country, and the World can have a better future.

    • backwardsevolution
      July 5, 2017 at 17:59

      mark – excellent summation, and you’re probably right. I haven’t given up on Trump yet, though I’m almost there. I still believe he would like to change things, but can’t. I could be totally wrong here. Had the media/Democrats/progressives not crushed him, I wouldn’t have an excuse. But since they have, I’m of the mind that he’d like to change things, but can’t. Maybe this whole show was done intentionally, just to make people like myself think this way?

      Thought your post was excellent. Don’t take this as a criticism, but next time could you please break up your wonderful post into paragraphs? It just makes it easier to read. You’ve got a lot of great stuff to say, and sometimes when people see a great big one-paragraph post, they skip it. Thanks, and do keep posting!

    • July 5, 2017 at 20:44


    • Brad Owen
      July 6, 2017 at 05:24

      You are right about the 6000 and 5000. But I doubt that they are a monolithic bloc. They have their factional strife, like all other human institutions, and when their disagreements over policy grows intense, then and only then do you have revolutions and civil wars and great changes in policy…otherwise it’s just just failed riots and peasant revolts. Some among the 6000 and 5000 feel Noblesse Oblige is necessary for their own self-preservation. Others of them may feel the peasants should just be kept in slave labor camps, living a harsh and short life. Probably there are varying views ranging between these extremes. I should think this view more closely reflects the reality of the 6000 and 5000.

  22. exiled off mainstreet
    July 5, 2017 at 13:57

    While I normally don’t agree with Mr. Pillar, who seems too close at times in his views to the “deep state” power structure, I think it would be beneficial for the world if he is correct in this instance. The US has been the major purveyor of chaos and violation of international law during the last 40 years or so and it has continued unabated under Trump, who claimed as part of his election campaign that less confrontation with big powers like Russia would make survival more likely than the bankrupt nihilist neocon confrontational policies proposed by the Clintons.

    • backwardsevolution
      July 5, 2017 at 17:48

      exiled – even though Trump bombed Syria, even though he’s acting all tough against Russia (going against what he campaigned on), the Russians and Syrians are making great headway in Syria now, Qatar and Saudi Arabia are fighting, Turkey is siding with Qatar, etc. The chessboard is being shaken up.

      So I would caution everyone that Trump has been under tremendous pressure, outwardly he’s acting all tough, but we don’t really know what’s going on behind the scenes, do we? If there were orders to stop aiding ISIS, would we really know about it? Would the intelligence community or media be happy about this and want to broadcast this? No. Would they want to keep the fight going (like Comey did when he didn’t come out and say that Trump was NOT being investigated)? Yes. Would they want to throw a wrench in the works? Yes.

      If you were the leader and you knew this, you would keep your mouth shut too. You’d act all tough, but behind the scenes you might be directing a change in operations in Syria.

      All I know is that the U.S. and the rest of the bandits are being pushed out of Syria. Maybe the reason for this is coming from Trump, but we’d never know about it? He can’t announce it?

      Think about it. Blast me if you disagree.

      • Virginia
        July 5, 2017 at 21:58

        Interesting thoughts, Back. I hope you are right. At any rate, we see the good happening in Syria.

        • Virginia
          July 6, 2017 at 15:17

          Things not going well in Raqqa unfortunately. Just saw Democracy Now segment on Raqqa. Very bad now, I’m sorry to say.

      • exiled off mainstreet
        July 6, 2017 at 20:58

        I think you may be largely correct, but I didn’t much like his Polish speech, which seemed to hew too closely to the deep state line. In deed if this is not the case, we are in serious deep gowno (pronounced guvno, I think it’s Polish for shit)

        • Jessejean
          July 8, 2017 at 19:24

          Exiled–I thought it was bat for shit. :>}

  23. July 5, 2017 at 13:39

    Polls certainly are manufactured, but I do think Trump has been a catalyst for exposing the world crisis created by the USA (with help of NATO and other western nations). Obama’s “pivot to Asia” didn’t turn out so well, because it was seen through as just another hegemonic ploy. Merkel just said Germany can’t “rely on the US anymore” but that cloaks the fact that Germans see through the refugee crisis created by the wars and she’s getting the message that she ought to listen to the Germans. Duterte is pivoting to China and Russia, trying to get Philippines out from under US military control, while the US is trying to stop him. There is a far more positive viewpoint toward Russia outside the US. I do think people see through what the US has done, it’s mainly the Americans who are lulled by media.

  24. mike k
    July 5, 2017 at 13:03

    America is growing exhausted. Our infrastructure, including all our major institutions is failing. Our foreign wars are draining our strength, just as happened in the Roman Empire. We need a period of peace, in order to turn our energies to rebuilding our homeland. We are the major instigators of war on the planet. If we withdraw our enormous financial, resources, and manpower from making war, only then can we become great – maybe really for the first time.

    • Libby
      July 6, 2017 at 12:44

      Thanks for both comments Mike. The only words I might take ‘exception’ of are in the last sentence of the above comment. I am so tired of the ‘greatness’ theme, which seems to produce hubris, arrogance and lack of self-reflection. It entitles us, and aggrandizes our self-perception. I believe that this self-concept is the root of the sheer madness we are living.

      A great person or country doesn’t reflect on their own greatness, but strives to live up to principles and ideals in a process that is ongoing and necessarily, in the larger picture, always relative.

  25. mike k
    July 5, 2017 at 12:49

    The American Empire is running on fumes. They are borrowing and pretending, and over extending to maintain their hubris and belief that they can rule the world. How the rising powers treat the ailing would be hegemon will be the crucial issue of the nuclear age. If Putin can persuade Trump to enter into a nuclear weapons reduction/disarmament process, that would be the ideal scenario for cooling off the failing and nervous Empire. As part of this deal, offering America a big slice of the coming Russian/Chinese economic boom could be the bait to salve the wounds of the injured egos of the Deep State Neocon Warmakers. Everybody wins something in this scenario, but nobody gets the Lion’s share. Whether such a reasonable compromise gets done depends on making deals outside the arena of inflamed passions. May this coming G20 meeting move us in that direction. Putin has avoided demonizing America, so now it’s up to Trump to reciprocate. To move closer to peace with Russia is Trumps only chance to save his presidency from disaster.

  26. mike k
    July 5, 2017 at 12:31

    World opinion is important. The ineptness and buffoonery of Trump are giving other world leaders an opportunity to be more openly critical of America and begin more directly countering it’s hegemonic moves. This could be either good or bad, or some of both. If Trump and the Deep State are challenged too directly, it could result in a violent reflex from TPTB. This is the virtue of Putin’s more subtle approach. Time is on Russia and China’s side. The US is self-destructing. And if they can stall and wait it out, avoiding a direct military conflict, then the endgame of this global chess match will be in their hands.

  27. Brad Owen
    July 5, 2017 at 12:03

    It would still be worth remembering that public opinion is mostly manufactured by the MSM and their spin methods and tricks. THIS, the CN audience understands clearly, despite whatever opinions one holds about Trump. Everything positive for the world hinges on whether or not Trump signs on with Putin and Xi and the BRI. This, and this alone, determines thumbs-up or thumbs-down on Trump. The rest of the D and R Party public wrecking ball policies can be dealt with later…and will be. I don’t see these Parties surviving much longer.

  28. July 5, 2017 at 11:32

    US standing in the world should have been lowered long before now, given the horrific mess of the wars created mostly by the US and all the other nefarious deeds of destabilizing governments that wouldn’t bow to US hegemon. If “the chickens have come home to roost”, as Malcolm X said, it’s about time. The glossing over of such behavior as has been pulled off by Bush, Obama, Clinton and others has been put out in plain sight by Trump, and it’s about time the mask was pulled off of the USA devil.

    • Dave P.
      July 5, 2017 at 12:35

      Jessica, I completely agree with your comments. But I do want to add that this hourly and daily polls driven society is not what an properly educated, informed, and civilized democratic society should be about. It seems to me that to make wars on Nations or shooting cruise missiles at them by consulting such polls – taken by so called respectable polls organizations who are supposedly polling an equally ignorant masses – are the high marks of the the Richest and Powerful Country on Earth for sometime now.

      First, we must start with teaching the masses where the foreign countries are located. I bet, after all this 24/7 ‘Russia Beating’ by the entire Media, there are millions and millions of people out there who can not even locate Russia on the map. And they are polling these people! Same may be true in many other countries of the World as well.

      In a society where people change their opinions by the day watching this garbage fed to them by MSM , is not an educated society, and those who poll them are not much better either. In short, just like here, the societies across the globe are becoming increasingly ignorant by the ‘The Western Media onslaught’. The Western Media reigns supreme all over the Earth. It is not a good omen in the World with thousands of nuclear weapons and other deadly weapons. In short, the population needs to be educated first before they take polls, especially on foreign policy.

      • Skip Scott
        July 6, 2017 at 06:55

        Yes, thanks to the MSM, these polls prove the adage “Garbage in, garbage out”. Does it really reflect the reality of global affairs to ask what people think who are fed nothing but lies? Our foreign policy has been run by the Deep State for decades, there has been no change under Trump. But because he is not slick like Obomber, suddenly the proles are losing confidence. Or possibly they are losing confidence because they realize Trump has done a 180 on his foreign policy campaign rhetoric?

  29. WG
    July 5, 2017 at 11:21

    All this poll shows me is that people interviewed base their opinions on superficial traits and not the underlying behaviour of the US. There have been no substantial changes in US foreign policy since Trump was inaugurated.

    I’d like to think that this dramatic drop is based on a reassessment of US behaviour but it’s far more likely due to his unpleasant personality.

    • Libby
      July 6, 2017 at 13:01

      Polls themselves are manufactured and superficial: ‘superficial’, in that they never take into account the ‘why’ or motivation that underlies a particular belief that a person might hold; ‘manufactured’ in that they are a reflection of the manufactured ‘news’ people respond to. The results show that the ‘natural’ ignorance of most people on most topics is being willfully transformed into various narratives that can only result in chaos and the destruction of civilization.

  30. DFC
    July 5, 2017 at 11:02

    I’m an expat living in a foreign country, so I see this all the time. There really is nothing nefarious going on. Most of the time the result is due to the news syndication pipeline. Most foreign news agencies don’t have a lot money to do investigative reporting, instead what they do is translate syndicated content from AP, Reuters & CNN, to get the news out as fast as possible. The result is that unintentionally, the MSM anti-Trump bias gets incorporated in these news stories and they are often the only source for foreign peoples. Most don’t have English, so there is no option to turn the channel to FNC or Breitbart, etc to see a contrarian opinion. So they only see one side of the argument. And this gets reflected in the polls. One could make a good argument, that by biasing the news the way they do, the MSM and not Trump are destroying the reputation of America in foreign countries. Sorry to say it.

    • malcolm harrison
      July 5, 2017 at 11:24

      I think you are absolutely correct. I dont think it is Trump himself who is doing the damage, but the media that is so opposed to him. And to that extent, I think that the headline on this story is incorrect, and thought so the moment I saw it. I too do not live in America, and my local media is very anti-Trump, but much of that media is sourced to the NYT or the Washington Post.

      • Lisa
        July 5, 2017 at 15:38

        Living in Scandinavia, I totally agree with you, Malcolm. The press in these countries has parroted the MSM ridiculing of Trump during the whole election campaign and continuing the same during his presidency. We get only translations of the material from NYT, Washington Post, in the best case Reuters and AP. Interesting though, that in the commentary after the articles, the readers themselves seem to be better informed of other viewpoints than the correspondents themselves.

        Polls generally do not reflect how things are, but how the general public perceives they are. And there can be a substantial gap between the two.

    • exiled off mainstreet
      July 5, 2017 at 13:59

      Canada’s official news media is explicitly following the yankee deep state line, which is hostile to Trump unless he follows their neocon dictates.

    • backwardsevolution
      July 5, 2017 at 17:37

      DFC – great post; I agree. Malcolm, Lisa, Exiled – agreed.

  31. Tom Welsh
    July 5, 2017 at 10:40

    Indeed, I believe the main reason why Trump is so immensely unpopular in the USA is that he perfectly embodies the US government’s world view and attitudes. He is a transparent shop window – what you see is what you get.

    Obama was a slick, glad-handing, easy-going snake oil salesman.

    But there is no real difference between Trump and Obama in terms of what their governments do. Just that Trump is a lot more open and honest about it.

  32. July 5, 2017 at 10:39

    Polls are like high school quizzes. The teacher feeds the students all week long and then at the end of the week, the student regurgitates what he has been fed.
    To use polls to affect policy is propaganda.Using intelligence agencies as a source of news is mimicking freedom of the press.

    • backwardsevolution
      July 6, 2017 at 00:10

      Eric – well said!

    • cmack
      July 6, 2017 at 09:05

      most people around the world who form opinions get their us news from……

      you guessed it. cnn

      never mind the endless years of aggression against other countries by the us. both military and financial.

      another “it’s trumps fault” article.

      is there anything that trump can’t be blamed for?

      • Eddy
        July 13, 2017 at 06:21

        WHAT ?????????????? LOL, where did you get that assumption from CMACK ????
        I for one, have not ever, nor do I ever plan on watching CNN, simply because we don’t have CNN in my country.
        Secondly, I do not get my news or information from any of the MSM sources available in my county simply because they are all contaminated with rubbish from the U.S.MSM.
        I guess that means a re-evaluation of your beliefs.

    • Peter Loeb
      July 7, 2017 at 06:24


      I agree with “Eric” above. Robert Parry might better observe actions/
      inactions./ oikucues.

      I never quite comprehend the inattention to economic realities of
      the 21rst century. These are dealt with in the landmark works of
      Dr. Jack Rasmus, especially SYSTEMIC FRAGIILITY IN THE
      GLOBAL ECONOMY. Among many areas, Rasmus takes up
      shadow banking and its significance for international relations.

      What is “deficit spending” for example? It occurs when the US
      spends (appropriates etc) money it does not have. It then
      must borrow. Bonds are sold with interest due. There is
      a buyer to whom this interest must be paid, sooner or later.
      The buyer has in many cases been the People’s Republic
      of China .

      In addition to China, most sovereign nations object to demands from
      the US as to its policies. China certainly does but it is
      not alone.

      “The thief principle….”—-

      I recall if somewhat dimly, reading a Noam Chomsky description of
      “the thief principle”. While you are yourself slipping your hand
      for someone’s wallet or emptying a purse, you scream “thief,
      thief!” and point elsewhere. Everyone runs elsewhere to catch the

      This description with modifications fits the US cries about Russian
      “aggression” and “destabllization”. Blameless too are Israel, Saudi
      Arabia, Egypt and others..Innocent too is NATO itself which is
      fighting wars far from the North Atlantic (eg Afghanistan).

      Digression: It should be duly noted that for various reasons
      (mostly without basis beyond rhetoric), fear of the Soviet
      Union/Russia has been part and parcel of American
      history for decades.

      —-Peter Loeb, Boston, MA, USA

      • Peter Loeb
        July 7, 2017 at 06:26


        actions inactions./ POLICIES



  33. Tom Welsh
    July 5, 2017 at 10:38

    While I’m not surprised by these results, I think they show very superficial understanding. Obama was every bit as “arrogant,” “intolerant,” and “dangerous” as Trump. He merely disguised his unpleasant personality with a veneer of demagogic charm.

    • jo6pac
      July 5, 2017 at 10:41

      Agree, for sure.

    • exiled off mainstreet
      July 5, 2017 at 14:02

      I fully concur with this assessment. The veneer of charm probably made him even more dangerous, because Trump’s demagoguery is plainly visible. Also, Obama may actually have been more naïve than he appeared, where Trump might actually be less so.

      • irina
        July 5, 2017 at 16:37

        Yup. We saw that when Trump trolled James Comey so successfully about the ‘tapes’
        (in response to a leaked NYT article which appeared before Trump’s ‘tapes tweet’).

        He also has a Sec of State who is completely versed in global financial connections.

    • Cal
      July 5, 2017 at 15:44

      I agree also.

    • backwardsevolution
      July 5, 2017 at 17:34

      Tom Welsh – in complete agreement. Charmers are always much more dangerous people. It shows calculation on their part. Trump is not calculating; he’s out there for everyone to see.

      The greatest reason for the poll results would be the media’s complete vilification of Trump. Obama they treated with kid gloves.

    • Paranam Kid
      July 6, 2017 at 06:34

      It is not quite the same. While Obama was essentially a Republican in Democrat skin, he was more educated than Trump, and was in control of his thoughts. Trump is a vulgar lout with the educational level of a 6-year old, the intelligence of a guinea fowl, and has no control whatsoever over his thoughts nor over his actions – he does not know what he will do 2 minutes down the line.

      Having said that, I agree that Obama was no better, possibly worse, than any of his predecessors, even Bush jr.

Comments are closed.