That may be the defining question that separates liberals from conservatives. But if the recent Pew Global Attitudes Project is any indication, America has a long way to go.
According to the report, the United States’ “global image” continues to decline:
A year ago, anti-Americanism had shown some signs of abating, in part because of the positive feelings generated by U.S. aid for tsunami victims in Indonesia and elsewhere. But favorable opinions of the United States have fallen in most of the 15 countries surveyed. Only about a quarter of the Spanish public (23%) expresses positive views of the U.S., down from 41% last year; America’s image also has declined significantly in India (from 71% to 56%) and Indonesia (from 38% to 30%).
The question I ask myself is: Should this matter? Should Americans worry about what the rest of the world thinks of them? This isn’t to suggest indifference toward the global community. But how far should the U.S. go to ensure a high favorability rating?
Think of it not on a national level, but on a personal level. Should YOU seek to be loved? The question isn’t “Would you like to be loved?” because, of course, everybody would like to be loved. But seeking to be loved means pandering to others, refraining from controversy, compromising our standards so as to not offend or anger someone else. Perhaps this is why Jesus said, “”Woe to you when all men speak well of you, for their fathers used to treat the false prophets in the same way” (Luke 6:26 NASB). The idea is that when we live to please men, we inevitably displease God. In the biblical sense, we must do right, no matter how much it damages our favorability rating.
So why are Americans so worried about what the rest of the world thinks of them?
If the USA is disliked because she is stingy, unmerciful, power hungry, and bent on world domination, then statistics like the ones above should worry us. However, the last I checked, America helped end Communism, Naziism, abolish slavery, fight world hunger, and is still one of the most humanitarian nations on the planet. Hmm. Could it be the problem lies with those answering the question?
This election cycle, we will hear lots about restoring America’s place in the world. But when we elect presidents and decide policy based on how the rest of the world will feel about us, we’re screwed.