According to a global survey released on Friday, the United States has ceded its position as the world’s top ranked nation. The Anholt-GfK Nation Brands Index previously rated the United States as the number one nation in relation to a wide-range of categories. In 2017, following Donald Trump’s “Make America Great Again” agenda, America dropped to sixth place.
It’s difficult to be the number one nation with number zero leadership — from both Trump and a the spineless GOP establishment members like Paul Ryan and Mitch McConnell.
The Index ranks nations using data on governance, immigration, culture, people, tourism, and investment. Under the current regime and its xenophobic anti-immigrant policies, some readers may be surprised the U.S. still retains a ranking in the top ten. Trump has single handedly destroyed America’s global reputation.
Germany, a nation also facing immigration crises and questions, is now the top-ranked nation in the world. Under the strong and competent leadership of Angela Merkel, Germans have been able to address questions of reform and control in a manner that shames Trump’s fiery rhetoric and impassioned appeals to his minority base of hate peddling isolationists and nationalists.
Putting America first is having an inverse effect on the nation’s image according to Simon Anholt, a United Kingdom based political consultant. An Oxford graduate and frequent TED speaker who has worked with the leaders of more than 50 nations, Anholt developed the Nation Brands Index ten years ago. His primary focus is assisting nations to discover and foster policies for closer economic, political, and cultural engagement.
This year, Anholt’s index ranks Germany, France, United Kingdom, Canada, and Japan above the United States for the first time in several years. The last time the U.S. experienced a similar drop in global recognition was after President George W. Bush’s election to a second term in 2004. If Trump is good at one thing, it is in achieving new lows faster than any other U.S. leader during his first term in office.
During a state visit in Asia where he basked in in red carpet glory with more dictators and despots than legitimate democratic leaders, Trump complemented Filipino president Rodrigo Duterte on his approach to crime prevention. In the Philippines where the government routinely and unabashedly violates human and civil rights, Duterte imposes cruel and unusual punishments and conducts regular executions without regard for due process. Trump is a half-goosestep away from extrajudicial judgements of his own.
Duterte’s record on human rights is troubling to NGOs and human rights watchdogs around the globe. Trump cannot understand why. The dictator has also suggested that the Filipino government execute journalists whom he considers corrupt. Calling reporters “spies” elicited more than an unnoticed chuckle from his America guest last week, exposing Trump for the dangerous despot that he is.
It took America 240 years to reach the apex of global status, and only ten months to watch the progresses of democracy, equality, and constitutional rule be reduced to rubble by Trump’s tyranny. They say you have to hit rock bottom before you can really appreciate self-improvement or have the impetus to turn your life around.
If the U.S. ranks sixth among the 50 countries in Anholt’s index, we still have a long way to fall before rock bottom. Who would have thought when Trump said he would make America great again…it meant after he destroyed it.