The Pew Research Center published a new report this week on international attitudes towards Vladimir Putin, and not surprisingly, the Russian president is not a popular global figure. The report explained, “Around the world, few people trust Russian President Vladimir Putin to do the right thing when it comes to international affairs. A global median of roughly one-in-four (26%) say they have confidence in the Russian leader.”
This is certainly in line with expectations. For much of the world, Putin is an autocratic thug, unworthy of respect. This, however, was the part of the new Pew report that was startling:
Although confidence in Putin’s handling of foreign affairs is generally low, in many countries he is more trusted than American President Donald Trump.
And that doesn’t just refer to traditional Russian allies; it actually refers to traditional American allies.
Indeed, in a variety of NATO members – Greece, Germany, Turkey, Hungary, France, Italy, and Spain – the Russian president was seen as more reliable to do the right thing than Trump. In countries like Australia, Canada, and the U.K. – by some measures, three of the closest friends the United States has on the planet – there’s greater confidence in Trump than Putin, but the results were very close.
We’ve already seen evidence that Trump is both unpopular abroad and doing significant damage to the United States’ global standing. But this latest data adds insult to injury.
The next American president may reclaim the title of Leader of the Free World, but this American president has clearly forfeited the mantle.