Wednesday, October 21, 2009


Does The World Like Us Now?

It would appear so, at least according to GfK Custom Research:
NEW YORK – October 5, 2009 – Brand America is now ranked #1 by global citizens, according to the GfK Roper Public Affairs & Media, a division of GfK Custom Research North America. Results from the 2009 Anholt-GfK Roper Nation Brands Index(NBI), which measures the global image of 50 countries, show the United States taking the top spot as the country with the best overall brand, up from seventh last year.

"What’s really remarkable is that in all my years studying national reputation, I have never seen any country experience such a dramatic change in its standing as we see for the United States in 2009,” explains Simon Anholt, NBI founder and an independent advisor to over a dozen national governments around the world. "Despite recent economic turmoil, the U.S. actually gained significant ground. The results suggest that the new U.S. administration has been well received abroad and the American electorate’s decision to vote in President Obama has given the United States the status of the world’s most admired country.”

The NBI is based on a global survey in which people from across 20 major developed and developing countries are asked to rate each nation in six categories: Exports, Governance, Culture, People, Tourism and Immigration/Investment. The NBI ranking is based on the average of these six scores.
Ryan Mauro of Pajamas Media adds:
[President Obama] personifies the American dream and the credibility of American values — the most important reasons the world admires the U.S. As an African-American, he debunks the stereotype heard far too often around the world that America is a racist country. And as an African-American who grew up poor, he is a walking rebuttal to the allegations that in our country not everyone can make it and those who are disadvantaged are left to dangle in a net of unachievable dreams.

Merely saying the words “President Obama” discredits anti-American propaganda around the world and causes those facing barriers to their own personal fulfillment to place faith in the values that have allowed Obama, and the U.S. as a whole, to succeed. You add Obama’s personal likeability, ability to inspire, and eloquent rhetoric that sounds principled and tough when necessary but not frightening to the world audience and you have a man that they see as the personification of the good of America.
Personally, I never thought America's image abroad was as important as it was made out to be. (Actions speak louder than words, and so forth.) Still, it did seem clear to me that, with such harsh and unyielding opposition to President George W. Bush, it was more difficult for him to get anything done.

We have yet to see what fruits will come of this new-found popularity. After all, America's enemies and adversaries do not seem impressed by any of this. And if the United States must fight a trade war against Russia, or a shooting war against Iran, would other countries be more likely to help because of American popularity? I doubt it.

Still, the man ran for President at least partially on the premise that he'd get the world to like America again. He seems to have succeeded in that.


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