Analysis and research-driven commentary tied to poll findings and developments in the news
Little International Support for Arming Syria Rebels
Growing evidence that the Syrian government may have used chemical weapons against its own people has led to demands for the U.S. to intervene in the Syrian civil war. As American pundits and politicians call for intervention, however merited or unjustified those appeals may be on humanitarian grounds, such pleas have yet to rally majority support for such action in America, Europe or the Middle East.
How Mexicans See America
Mexican approval ratings of the U.S. are at their highest point since 2009. This boost in America’s image comes amidst rising expectations that Washington may soon reform U.S. immigration laws. The question now is whether the two countries can build on the promise fostered by the proposed immigration policy and cement some of the progress that appears to have been made.
Americans Divided over Immigration Reform
The immigration debate in Washington is likely to heat up in the weeks ahead. Indians, Chinese and others either hoping to migrate to America (even those with advanced skills) or those with loved ones living illegally and precariously within the United States should realize that despite largely supportive rhetoric emanating from both Congress and the White House, the U.S. public remains divided over immigration reform.
Americans’ Support for TPP Remains Untested
Prime Minister Shinzo Abe’s announcement that Japan will join negotiations to create a Trans-Pacific Partnership with the U.S. and other Pacific Basin nations won early support from the Japanese people, according to snap surveys following his statement. The decision was also welcomed in official circles in Washington, D.C., where the Obama administration has long supported Japan becoming party to the talks.
What Japanese and Americans Think about Each Other
Japan’s decision to join negotiations to create a Trans-Pacific Partnership with the United States and other Pacific nations reflects, in part, the sea change in public opinion that has transformed U.S.-Japan relations. The upcoming TPP negotiations will be contentious. But the political context in which these talks will take place is far more supportive than ever before.
Obama’s Israel Challenge
Criticized by some for being insufficiently pro-Israel during his first term, and dogged by relatively low ratings in Israel, President Obama travels there this week to deliver a major address in Jerusalem. The Obama administration can only hope this speech is more warmly received among Israelis than his last high-profile address in the region at Cairo University in June 2009.
What Chinese Are Worried About
When incoming Chinese President Xi Jinping takes office, he will be dealing with a public that is increasingly concerned about issues beyond simple economic growth. Such problems will provide some daunting challenges for the new president and his team over the next few years.
Will Budget Cuts = Isolationism?
The forced budget cuts, known in Washington as sequestration, are now in force. These reductions in defense spending, anti-terrorism activities, foreign aid and the budget for the State Department will shrink the U.S. footprint around the world, with consequences for the projection of both U.S. hard and soft power.
American Star Power Still Rules the Globe
Surveys consistently show that movies – and more broadly, American popular culture – are a strong suit of U.S. soft power. And, while studio executives spend considerably more time thinking about box office returns than public diplomacy, Tinseltown is actually pretty effective at nudging America’s international image in a positive direction.
The Public Supports a Transatlantic Trade Pact – For Now
The ultimate public verdict on a U.S.-EU trade and investment agreement has yet to be rendered, but on the eve of such negotiations, both Americans and Europeans seem disposed to try.
How America and Japan See the World
The U.S.-Japan relationship has gone through numerous ups and downs in the last few decades and Americans’ fears that Japan Inc. will overwhelm them have subsided. Yet challenges remain: how to jointly deal with China, North Korea and Iran, and whether Tokyo will join with other Asian governments and Washington in creating a transpacific free trade area.
China and Cyber Attacks: A Top Concern of U.S. Experts
China’s alleged cyber-espionage campaigns against other governments, major corporations and, most recently, the media, have increasingly become a focus of U.S. officials and news reports. In the superpower competition between the U.S. and China, most American experts ranked cyber attacks from China as a more serious problem than the economic or military challenges it poses.
Seeds of Unrest in Pakistan’s Economy
The news out of Pakistan is unrelentingly bad, but headline-grabbing events obscure a more insidious problem: the profound economic challenges facing Pakistani society. And this economic malaise is worsening, thus complicating India’s relationship with its neighbour.
The U.S. Focuses on Its Homefront
The president’s inaugural address and the confirmation testimony of Kerry and Hagel are being scrutinized by foreigners for signs of America’s international intentions. To separate lofty ambitions from practical realities, their statements must be interpreted in the context of U.S. public opinion – and that means they should be taken with a large grain of salt.
Viewpoint: Pakistan’s Economic Woes Are Being Overlooked
Pakistan is a country beset with political difficulties, but they could be of secondary importance to its economic woes. The truth is that the Pakistani people are deeply troubled by the plight of their economy and their own economic prospects.
Is Obama Out of Step with America on Foreign Policy?
The U.S. president’s inaugural address is a speech heard and read around the world, and is interpreted as a sign of America’s intentions going forward. To separate lofty ambitions from more practical realities, it needs to be interpreted in the context of U.S. public opinion.
The U.S. Fiscal Cliff Redux
At the turn of the year the United States avoided careening over a fiscal cliff – which would have triggered recession-inducing automatic tax increases and spending cuts – by passing legislation that raised some taxes, but did little to cut spending.
The Tahrir Square Legacy: Egyptians Want Democracy, a Better Economy, and a Major Role for Islam
Two years after Egyptians first poured into Cairo’s Tahrir Square chanting “Down with Mubarak” the legacy of the Arab Spring remains uncertain. Polling since the uprising shows that Egyptians want democratic rights and institutions, a major role for Islam in political life, and an improved economy – a challenging set of demands for the new cadre of Egyptian leaders.
Public Attitudes Toward the Next Social Contract
Recent deliberations in Washington have triggered a national debate about key elements of the social safety net. Why the U.S. invests relatively less in its social safety net than many other countries reflect Americans’ conflicted, partisan and often contradictory views on fairness, inequality, the role and responsibility of government and individuals in society and the efficacy of government action.
2013: A Fateful Year
The year ahead promises both challenges and opportunities for transatlantic relations. The next 12 months could prove to be consequential for both security and economic ties between Europe and the United States.
Indians Support Gender Equality But Still Give Men Edge in Workplace, Higher Education
The recent gang rape and killing of a young woman in New Delhi – and the subsequent protests – have focused worldwide attention on gender issues in India. A 2010 survey that examined attitudes about gender around the world sheds some light on how public opinion in India compares to the other 21 nations surveyed.
What Americans Want in 2013
In 2013, downbeat domestic attitudes coupled with reticence about international engagement poses challenges for a world that still may need a strong United States.
Americans on Middle East turmoil: Keep us out of it
The pace of change in the Middle East – in Syria, Egypt, Palestine and Israel – is accelerating as 2012 draws to a close. But the American people are not paying attention and are deeply skeptical of greater U.S. engagement in a corner of the world that looks increasingly unstable.
U.S.-China Economic Relations in the Wake of the U.S. Election
What does Obama’s return to the White House portend for U.S.-China economic relations? The U.S. public wants Washington to ratchet up the pressure on Beijing, but history suggests that there are geo-political constraints to doing so.
Anti-Americanism Down in Europe, but a Values Gap Persists
Europeans generally reacted positively to President Obama’s re-election, just as they did four years ago. But despite Obama’s re-election at home and continued popularity in Europe, his presidency has not closed the long-running transatlantic values gap on issues such as the use of military force, religion, and individualism.
The Day After: Obama Triumph Sobered by Unmet Global Expectations
Much of the world cheered the re-election of U.S. president Barack Obama. But the president’s honeymoon may be short lived. Disappointment with Obama’s first term foreign policy may challenge both his popularity and his ability to present a positive image of the United States around the globe.
Post-election America still divided
The election is over. The voters have spoken. But those who thought that a clear-cut verdict in the recent presidential election would finally break the partisan deadlock in Washington may find themselves disappointed.
Obama’s Global Challenges
American elections are consequential events and President Obama’s reelection is likely to bring to a head a number of long-smoldering economic and strategic concerns. His biggest challenge may be to bridge the divides among the American people and with America’s allies.
Transatlantic Relations in Obama’s Second Term
The re-election of Barack Obama as the next president of the United States has ramifications—good, bad and indifferent—for transatlantic relations.
Obama has a mandate. Sort of.
Obama now has a mandate to govern. But his mandate domestically, and internationally, on specific issues is far from clear.