Even though most U.S. citizens would love to think so, America isn’t the most popular nation on the planet. Like any country (or any place in the world, for that matter), there are some major problems in the country that need to be fixed as soon as possible. From outright racism to economic mistakes and the questionable decisions that some politicians make, it’s not hard to see why some countries aren’t exactly big fans of the United States.
Sure, there are some perks to being an American. After all, there are many people from other nations who decide to move their families to the United States in search of better financial and educational opportunities. However, there are still a number of leaders from other countries who aren’t happy with the leadership in America. Some of these foreign leaders also don’t agree with the way that Americans behave in everyday life, either. Yes, that’s a pretty broad generalization, but that’s usually what humans do when they don’t know much about a country or its people, and we should probably work on that as a whole.
The reasons that some other countries don’t particularly care for America are varied, but they are very real. Here are 12 of the countries in the world that hate America.
According to a survey, 47% of Germans dislike the United States, although some Germans say that they dislike the country, and not necessarily the American people. The approval rating has gone down 13 points since 2009. However, Germany’s relationship with the United States is a bit of a love-hate thing. Whenever there is big news in America, German journalists are quick to report it, almost as quickly as journalists in the U.S. There are even certain stories that we may not hear about in America that will make the front page of German newspapers. Timo Lochocki, a fellow at the German Marshall Fund, confirms that Germans want to distance themselves from Americans, but also want to be admired by the United States.
Most of the people from Slovenia who participated in the survey about their feelings concerning the United States said that they didn’t approve of the leadership in America. Even though Slovenia is a member of the EU and a NATO ally, the country has a 54% disapproval rating of the United States. Yugoslavia, which includes Slovenia, was once closely tied to the Soviet Union, and this is likely the reason for Slovenia’s disapproval of the U.S., since the tensions connected to the Cold War are not forgotten. The public debt as a percentage of GDP has grown from 22% in 2008, to 63% in 2013, and the declining economic state of Slovenia may also have a lot to do with why the country does not look at the United States favorably, since America is deemed the world’s wealthiest nation.
People in Tajikistan used to have a 39% disapproval rating of the United States in 2013. The following year, the disapproval went up to 54%. Tajikistan is primarily made up of Sunni Muslims, and is located in Central Asia. In addition to their dislike of the United States, Tajikistan also declined in their approval of the EU by 15 points; the country’s view of China was reduced by 11 points as well. Russia and the United States are also competing to provide what Deputy Assistant Secretary of State for Central Asia, Daniel Rosenblum, called a “security cooperation” with Tajikistan, and it looks like Russia may be winning—for the time being.
55% of the people in Austria are not big fans of the U.S. Austria is a Central European country that was once the place of the Austro-Hungarian empire. When the empire was defeated in World War I, it was divided and Austria became a small republic country. Officials in the United States have a critical view of Austria, because the country continues to trade with North Korea and Iran. Americans are also skeptical of Austria because the country allowed the leader of the Kurdistan Workers’ Party to leave the country, even though he was wanted. Not only does Austria disapprove of America, Austria also has a 70% disapproval rating of China.
The United States disapproval rating in Egypt is 58%, even though America and Egypt are both part of World Bank, the WTO, the UN and IMF. The two countries have been partners for quite some time, but Egypt generally doesn’t approve of the leadership in the United States. Egypt is also the country with the most people in the Arab world, and is a key partner with the United States in America’s efforts to fight terrorism and encourage stability in this Arab region. Even with the election of President Mohamed Morsi, who was elected by a democratic process, Egypt’s disapproval of the United States remains firm.
This is probably not a huge surprise to most Americans that Iran doesn’t approve of the United States very much. According to a survey, 61% of Iranians disapprove of the U.S. The strained relationship between the two countries has been going on for years. When the CIA helped to oust the prime minister of Iran, Mohammed Mossadegh, to keep Iran from giving the Soviet Union its support in 1953, this paved the way for the two countries to butt heads on a myriad of other issues. Later, Reza Shah Pahlavi came into power in Iran, and the country grew quite powerful with its many oil revenues. During the Iranian Revolution, Pahlavi had to flee to Egypt, since he was accused of trying to “Westernize” the government. Recently the major “powers” in the world agreed on a nuclear deal with Iran, and the Iranian foreign minister has stated that Iran will move forward with its nuclear enrichment program if all sanctions are not removed once negotiations are finalized.
The disapproval rating of the U.S. and its leadership in Pakistan is 65%. The U.S. State Department states that Pakistan has received more than $4 billion in civilian assistance from the U.S. from 2009 to 2013, and the United States has given Pakistan $13 billion in military aid in the past 13 years, so it’s surprising that Pakistan would not have a more favorable relationship with America. After the 9/11 attacks, America was focused on Pakistani operations, and is still a strong presence in the country in an effort to prevent and combat terrorism. Perhaps one of the biggest reasons for Pakistan’s high disapproval rating is the fact that Osama bin Laden was hiding in the country, and the United States’ mission to kill bin Laden did not go over well with many Pakistani people.
66% of Lebanese people who participated in the disapproval survey stated their dislike for the United States. Lebanon is a Middle Eastern country, but is diverse in terms of religion; 41% of the people in the country are Christian, and 54% are Muslim. Not only does Lebanon disapprove of leadership in the United States, it is also one of the countries that does not approve of the way that the EU is handling their governmental affairs. The Lebanese disapproval rating of the United States improved a little in 2013, which may be largely due to the fact that Congress approved more than $1 billion dollars that was allocated to improve security forces in Lebanon.
Belarus has a 69% disapproval rating of the United States. Since Belarus is a former Soviet Union country, it’s not a big surprise that, for the most part, the country still has a strong dislike for America due to Cold War tensions. To make matters worse, the United States baked the Ukraine after the Russian annexation of Crimea, which increased Belarus’ approval even more. However, Belarus is still on good terms with Russia, and around 62% of the people in Belarus stated that they approved of the leadership in Russia. Since Russia is another country that doesn’t exactly “get along” with the United States, this could explain the overall perception of America in Belarus.
3. Palestinian Territories
There is a 72% disapproval rating of the United States in the Palestinian Territories. This is actually an improvement from 2013, when 80% of people in the Palestinian Territories were clear about their dislike for the U.S. America has also stated that it is in favor of a two-state resolution for the conflict in Palestine and Israel. However, as long as it is perceived that the United States is in full support of Israel, relations between America and the Palestinian Territories are likely to remain strained. Hamas, which is the effective governing body in the Gaza Strip, is also considered a terrorist organization by America and other Western nations, which is also a large part of what keeps the Palestinian disapproval rating of the United States so high.
Turkey’s disapproval of the United States is 73%, which makes it pretty clear that Turkish people aren’t very friendly or open when it comes to talking about America. Many people from Turkey view the United States as a “bully” country that is always butting into the affairs of other countries. There is also a significant amount of unrest in Turkey, but the people of the country are proud and patriotic for the most part. The Turkish people are generally skeptical when the United States tries to step in to help, because Western philosophies are often different from traditional Turkish governmental values. There have been links to terrorism over the course of history when it comes to Turkey, and the United States has worked to prevent these acts, which has aided in the tension between the two countries.
The U.S. Global Leadership Project reports that 82% of Russians don’t approve of the job the United States is doing in leadership. This is the strongest disapproval rating of any other country in the world. Many Russians feel that the United States has made things worse in their country by trying to get involved in Russia’s affairs. Even though most Russians don’t like America, those who live in other countries have a high disapproval rating of Russia as well. Russia is the only country in which the median disapproval rating of Russian leadership was more than the median approval rating. The fact that the United States has recently led Western sanctions on Russia hasn’t made the approval rating any better.
The Lost Ways…a true story about our grandparents days!
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Why Vladimir Putin Hates Us
He’s done it again. The honey badger in the Kremlin just moved more advanced missiles into position on Russia’s most westerly fringe to own the Baltic Sea. This week Moscow admitted it has deployed cutting-edge Bastion anti-ship missiles to the Kaliningrad exclave, north of Poland, plus equally advanced S-400 air defense systems to shoot down aircraft and missiles as far as 250 miles out.
With this move, the Kremlin has established control over the Baltic Sea, most of Poland and the Baltic republics—NATO members all. Russia now can exert anti-access and area denial—what the Pentagon calls A2AD for short—at will, meaning that any NATO aircraft or ships entering the region can be hit long before they get close to Kaliningrad. For Western military planners, this is nothing short of a nightmare, since Moscow can now block NATO reinforcements headed east to counter, say, Russian military moves on the vulnerable Baltic republics.
That scenario, wherein Moscow’s forces overrun a Baltic republic or two before NATO can meaningfully respond, is judged alarmingly plausible by Alliance planners, yet nobody should be surprised that Vladimir Putin has done this. One month ago, when he moved nuclear-capable Iskander-M ballistic missiles into Kaliningrad last month, initiating a Baltic version of the Cuban Missile Crisis, President Obama’s response was…nothing.
The outgoing commander-in-chief decided that he needed to appease the Kremlin one more time before leaving the White House, to the horror of our allies who live close to Russia. “We’re on our own until January 20, and maybe much longer,” was how a senior Alliance defense official in that neighborhood explained the reality of what Obama has done through his inaction.
For good measure, this week the Russian defense ministry indicated that the deployment of Iskander-M systems to Kaliningrad, which Moscow has said was merely part of a military exercise, will be staying there permanently. Since those missiles can launch nuclear or conventional warheads as far as 300 miles with stunning accuracy, Russia now holds a powerful military advantage over NATO in the Baltic region.
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Predictably, the Kremlin maintains that moving state-of-the art missiles into Kaliningrad is a response to American ballistic missile defenses which have been deployed in Eastern Europe. As usual, Moscow depicts all its military moves, even ones which are destabilizing to regional security, as cosmically defensive, so great is the Western threat to Russia.
Russian remains an existential threat to the United States in a manner that jihadists simply are not, no matter what Islam-alarmists say.
Such brazen chessboard moves with cutting-edge weaponry are hardly surprising, since Putin has been challenging Western—especially American—power all around the world of late. The Kremlin cares so little about our reactions to its provocations that it’s admitted it played clandestine spy-games with our elections, conceding that Wikileaks is a Russian pawn. Simply put, President Obama’s consistent unwillingness to confront Putin’s bad behavior on the global stage has predictably led to more—and worse—of it.
Of course, why Putin is doing all this, playing dangerous games which could provoke a major war, looms as a big question here, albeit one that Western foreign policy gurus have trouble answering. Our academic international relations experts, who indulge in silliness like game-theory or realist fantasies to explain Putin’s increasingly aggressive policies, have difficulty explaining why the Kremlin—which after all in military or economic terms is vastly weaker than NATO—is acting so brazenly.
Western inability to grasp what motivates our enemies is nothing new. Fifteen years ago, in the aftermath of al-Qa’ida’s attacks on the World TRADE CENTER and the Pentagon, everybody wanted to know “why they hate us.” President George W. Bush spoke the received Beltway wisdom when he explained that jihadists and Islamists hate us because of our “freedoms.”
Such escapism, while flattering to American self-perceptions, was completely wrong. The answer was right there since jihadists talk nonstop (especially online) about their worldview. Their hatred for Americans and the West has nothing to do with our freedoms, which radical Muslims care nothing about. It has everything to do with our policies—especially our support for Israel and our military presence in Muslim countries—plus our decadent way of life, particularly Western post-modern sexual mores, which jihadists see as literally invading their countries through media and entertainment.
Misunderstanding what makes our enemies tick is old hat in Washington. During the Cold War, our academic mavens, highly paid by the Pentagon to prognosticate about the Kremlin’s inner workings, paid little attention to Soviet public statements. Such aggressively anti-Western Marxist-Leninist pronouncements, often threatening nuclear war, were dismissed by our experts, academics plus Intelligence Community eggheads, who insisted that these ravings were just for show: in private, Soviet political and military leaders were calm and rational men just like us.
Of course, after the Cold War we learned that the Kremlin leadership said the same nutty things in private, dripping with Communist hatred for the capitalist West, that they yelled in Red Square. It’s tough enough for any person to maintain a completely different public persona than his private one, while for a whole regime it’s impossible. Therefore, pay attention to what your enemies state openly—there’s a good chance they believe it.
It’s not like Putin and his minions have been hiding what they believe. Putin himself is very much a KGB man—what Russians call a Chekist—cunningly conspiratorial to his bones. Yet over the last decade, he has become an open Russian nationalist with strong religious overtones. Regime outlets pontificate nonstop about the evils of the West, castigating our decadence and depravity, reflecting a nationalism that is deeply grounded in Orthodox Christianity.
Putin has talked warmly about what he calls “spiritual security“—which means keeping versions of Christianity other than Russian Orthodoxy out of the country—even stating that Russia’s “spiritual shield” is as IMPORTANT to her security as its nuclear shield. His inspiration for this comes from Orthodox thinkers, above all Ivan Ilyin, who hated the West with vigor and passion. This anti-Western worldview seems strange and even incomprehensible to most Americans, its reference points are utterly foreign to us, yet is grounded in centuries of Russian history and spiritual experience.
In this viewpoint, which I have termed Orthodox Jihadism, the West is an implacable foe of Holy Russia with whom there can be no lasting peace. For centuries—whether led by the Catholic Church, Napoleon, Hitler or the United States—the West has tried to subjugate Russia and thereby crush Orthodoxy, the one true faith. This is the Third Rome myth, which became very popular in 19thcentury Imperial Russia, postulating that it is Russia’s holy mission to resist the Devil and his work on earth.
Putin has reinvigorated such throwback thinking, making the Russian Orthodox Church—the de facto state religion—the ideological centerpiece of his regime. After Communism fell, the country needed a new ideological anchor, and Putinism found it in a potent amalgam of religion and nationalism which has far greater historical resonance with Russians than Communism ever did.
Western skeptics invariably note that Putin’s can’t really be an Orthodox believer and, besides, most Russians don’t bother to attend church regularly anyway. I have no idea what Putin actually believes—unlike Dubya I can’t see into his soul—but he certainly knows how to look like a real Orthodox, while the fact that regular church attendance in Russia isn’t particularly high doesn’t change that three-quarters of Russians claim to be Orthodox. The political reality is that Putinism has successfully convinced most Russians to go along with the official ideology, at least tacitly.
To get a flavor of what Putinism’s worldview looks like, simply listen to what Moscow says. It’s easy to find fire-breathing clerics castigating the West and its pushing of feminism and gay rights, which they openly term Satanic. The Russian “think tank” (in reality it’s just a website) Katehon is a Kremlin-approved outlet which offers heavy doses of geopolitics suffused with militant Orthodox nationalism. Significantly, its name comes from the Greek term for “he who resists the Antichrist”—and Katehon makes perfectly clear that the decadent, post-modern West is what they mean.
Then there’s Tsargrad TV, which is Russia’s version of Fox News, if Fox News were run by hardline Russian Orthodox believers. It’s the project of Konstantin Malofeev, a Kremlin-connected hedge funder-turned-religious crusader who wanted to give the country a news outlet that reflected traditional values. Its name is the traditional Slavic term for Constantinople—the Second Rome in Russian Orthodox formulation. A few months back, when Putin visited Mount Athos in Greece, one of Orthodox’s holiest sites, accompanied by Patriarch Kirill, the head of the Russian Orthodox Church, Tsargrad TV gave it wall-to-wall live coverage.
The anti-Western animus of this ideology would be difficult to overstate. There are rational-sounding complaints—for instance, Russian harping on NATO expansion up to their borders—but much of it boils down to depictions of the post-modern West as Satan’s project designed to subvert traditional religion and family life. These complaints sound a lot like what hardline Muslims say about the West. Just like Islamists, Kremlin ideologists claim that, since the West is spiritually attacking Russia and Orthodoxy with feminist and LGBT propaganda, all of Moscow’s responses—including aggressive military moves—are therefore defensive.
To be fair to Putin and his ilk, we’ve been doing a good job of making their anti-Western polemics seem plausible. Under President Obama, the State Department really has pushed feminism and LGBT rights hard—including in Russia. Washington’s official effort to coerce small, impoverished countries like Macedoniainto accepting our post-modern views of sexuality has raised Russian ire, not least because Macedonia is a majority-Orthodox country.
The bottom line is that Putin’s Russia is driven by a state-approved ideology which hates the post-modern West and considers us a permanent existential threat. President Obama’s insistence that we can’t be in a new Cold War with Russia because there’s no ideological component to the struggle is completely and utterly wrong. The Kremlin sees that spiritual-cum-ideological struggle clearly, and says so openly. Indeed, Putin explained it concisely, in public, before he seized Crimea, but nobody in Western capitals took him seriously:
Another serious challenge to Russia’s identity is linked to events taking place in the world. Here there are both foreign policy and moral aspects. We can see how many of the Euro-Atlantic countries are actually rejecting their roots, including the Christian values that constitute the basis of Western civilization. They are denying moral principles and all traditional identities: national, cultural, religious and even sexual. They are implementing policies that equate large families with same-sex partnerships, belief in God with the belief in Satan.
The excesses of political correctness have reached the point where people are seriously talking about registering political parties whose aim is to promote pedophilia. People in many European countries are embarrassed or afraid to talk about their religious affiliations. Holidays are abolished or even called something different; their essence is hidden away, as is their moral foundation. And people are aggressively trying to EXPORT this model all over the world. I am convinced that this opens a direct path to degradation and primitivism, resulting in a profound demographic and moral crisis.
The coming of Donald Trump to Washington, with his affection for Russia and its leader, gives some cause for optimism that things might improve between us and Moscow. There’s no doubt that the Kremlin thinks of Trump as a man with whom they can do business. However, the deep-seated conflict between Putinism and the post-modern West will remain. If Trump decides to get the State Department out of the business of our sexual mores to countries where they’re not wanted, that might cool things down with Moscow somewhat. However, the hard-wired strategic rivalry between the West and Russia will remain, no matter what pleasantries get exchanged between our leaders.
It would be wise to counter Russian adventurism before it causes a major, perhaps nuclear war. Deterrence works, when applied properly. It would be even wiser to stop ignoring what Moscow says about its worldview—they probably mean it. Above all, stop provoking the Russians needlessly. This week, Senator John McCain rehashed his line that “Russia is a gas station run by the mafia masquerading as a country,” omitting that it’s a country with several thousand nuclear weapons. For this reason, Russian remains an existential threat to the United States in a manner that jihadists simply are not, no matter what Islam-alarmists say. A first step to dealing wisely with Putin would be actually understanding what makes his regime tick.