Monday 22 November 2021
Biden makes the difference
Germans have more confidence in the USA again
Since Joe Biden has been in the White House, the Germans’ image of the United States has improved significantly. But doubts remain about the USA.
A year ago the US elected a president, they voted for the Democrat Joe Biden and against another term of office for the Republican Donald Trump. It had messed up international relations in his country – and dramatically worsened the image of the United States among Germans. But under Biden the mood has improved significantly again, like a comprehensive survey by Pew Research and the German Körber Foundation.
Last year, only 18 percent of Germans thought their relationship with the United States was good. In the meantime, 71 percent of those questioned answer, an improvement of more than 50 points. On the other side of the Atlantic, 85 percent say the same, an improvement compared to the 74 percent in 2020. The majority of Germans now also consider the United States to be their most important foreign policy partner (44 percent). When Trump was still in the White House, most had named France.
The development goes beyond Germany. At the end of Trump’s presidency, on an international average from partner countries, 34 percent of people said they saw the US positively, 63 saw it negatively. In June this had already happened vice versaThey saw 62 percent positive and 36 percent negative. People were interviewed in 13 countries: Sweden, Belgium, the Netherlands, Germany, France, Italy, Canada, Spain, Great Britain, Australia, South Korea, Japan and Greece.
The result of the question of trust in the US president in diplomatic matters (“world affairs”) was even more striking. Only 17 percent outside the US trusted Trump – but 75 percent trust Biden. However, the survey took place before the chaotic withdrawal from Afghanistan in August. In Germany, only one in ten people (10 percent) trusted Trump. The US under Biden is a much more trustworthy partner for the Germans than under Trump: free trade (64 to 35 percent), environmental protection (41 to 12 percent), protection of human rights and democracy (63 to 38 percent), guaranteeing Europe’s security (73rd to 54 percent) and when dealing with China (41 to 28 percent).
Germans for military operations
In order to ensure the security of their own country, both Germans and Americans say that the military should intervene in foreign conflicts: 83 percent of respondents in Germany responded accordingly, 85 percent in the United States. When it comes to the security of allies – both are part of NATO – 79 percent in Germany and 77 percent in the USA say this.
Nevertheless, there are areas in which the majority of Germans do not trust the USA. For example, when it comes to fighting the pandemic, 59 percent say the United States is the wrong partner, and 54 percent say the same is true when it comes to environmental issues. Only around 20 percent say the US is doing a good job dealing with climate change.
In both countries, respondents agree that relationships with one another are more important than those with China; 55 to 38 percent of Americans, 67 to 19 percent of Germans. However, older people in Germany and those in the eastern federal states prefer Russia to the USA as an international partner.
Germans are also less concerned than Americans: Only 26 percent see China as a major threat to the country’s values, compared to only 16 percent for Russia. In the US, however, 61 percent answer the same question about China and 54 percent answer that question about Russia. More older than younger people have these views.
The coronavirus is also showing its effects. Half of Germans now believe that after the end of the pandemic, cooperation with other countries will become more intensive. Last year it was 42 percent.