President Donald Trump has significantly lowered the United States’ standing in the world according to global opinion polls, but two countries couldn’t be happier with America’s bumbling new leader.
As Trump attempts to put on his best impression of competency at the United Nations, a FiveThirtyEight analysis of global polls found that virtually every nation he addressed has a much lower opinion of the president and the United States than a year ago when President Obama led the nation without openly stoking racial divisions and threatening allies.
According to FiveThirtyEight, “Since Trump took office, confidence in the president has gone down further, on average, than favorability toward the U.S.: Confidence dropped 47 points; U.S. favorability just 13 points.”
But there are two exceptions. Two nations have a better opinion of Trump than of Obama – Russia and Israel.
That’s hardly surprising since Trump’s foreign policy ambitions line up better with those two nations than his own.
While Obama attempted to take a hard stance on Russian aggression, their hostile takeover of Crimea in Ukraine, and their human rights violations, Trump openly dismisses his own intelligence agencies’ findings that Russia meddled in the election, threatens to kill sanctions that have been imposed on the Kremlin, and constantly praises Vladimir Putin, a leader who routinely has dissenters murdered.
Trump’s team even quietly got the entire Republican Party to remove aid to Ukraine in their war against Russia-backed secessionists from the party’s platform at the Republican National Convention last year, immediately after winning the nomination.
Israel is a similar story. Obama long resisted the far-right Israeli push to build settlements on occupied Palestinian land, which is illegal even under Israeli law. In an unprecedented move, the Obama Administration sided with the rest of the United Nations security council and did not veto their vote to condemn the settlement expansion, which inherently moves the world farther away from a two-state solution that could finally see peace between Israel and their neighbors by essentially preventing Palestinians from ever getting settled land back under any type of peace deal in the future.
Trump, on the other hand, has said that he wants to move the US Embassy to Israel to Jerusalem, which is disputed land and, too, would move the world much farther from ever being able to work out a peace deal between the two peoples.
Trump himself talks openly about a possible one-state solution, a scenario in which Palestinians would live in Israel under Israeli rule. Given that the Palestinians would quickly outnumber Israelis, the only way Israelis would keep power over the majority population would be to create a full-fledged apartheid state.
Where the world welcomed Obama’s steady hand and diplomatic tact, the states that make up the United Nations watch aghast as Trump sides with two controversial nations’ worst impulses, even at the detriment of our own allies. Trump’s speech threatening to “totally destroy North Korea” and pull out of the Iran deal in opposition to the rest of the western world isn’t likely to change that.