Manual America’s Perceptions of Europe

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There is generally less apprehension in the rest of the world, but views vary significantly, influenced by proximity and colored by history.

Pew surveys show that some 60 percent of Americans worry about China's increasing economic strength and some two-thirds think it is untrustworthy. Many hold China responsible for the U. All this has encouraged punitive actions and claims with the WTO that China's exports are unfairly subsidized.

It also provides a rationale for the United States' major trade initiative, the Trans-Pacific Partnership, which does not include China. Interestingly, the Chinese people do not see the United States so negatively, with various polls showing that their sentiments include considerable admiration for American ideas, customs and scientific accomplishments.

This reaffirms the major advantage that the U. The U.

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China's emergence as the world's largest trading nation is mirrored in America's relative economic decline over the past decade as the latter's financial vulnerabilities triggered the global financial crisis. This was soon followed by Europe's budgetary woes. Until last year, annual Gallup polls showed that a majority of Americans believed that China is the world's leading economic power. This was not the case in , when only 10 percent named China and 65 percent of Americans saw the United States as on top.

Yet many do appreciate that the world is better off with a more prosperous China. This accounts for the generally favorable ratings that Americans had of China in the decade up to But in recent years, sentiments have turned negative as China was seen as becoming more aggressive in its island disputes and the U. With one exception, the rest of the world sees the U. The exception is Europe, which views China as the leading economic power even more so than Americans.

The reason both the United States and Europe see China as the leading economic power comes from the perception that a country's economic strength reflects its trade balance. China has huge trade surpluses with the United States and Europe, but has incurred deficits with the rest of the world, especially with commodity exporters and its East Asian neighbors. This generates considerable insecurities in the West about its competitiveness. However, a country's economic strength comes more from the quality of its institutions and human capital, which is correlated with its per capita GDP rather than trade balances and the size of its economy.

With a per capita GDP placing it around 80th globally, China is not yet ready to assume the preeminent position. Europeans are more conflicted and generally less negative in their feelings toward China than Americans because there is less of a great power rivalry and some also feel the need at times to distance themselves from U.

Within Western Europe, official and popular perceptions vary significantly as exemplified by Germany and Britain. The Sino-German economic relationship is seen as the strongest within Europe, yet polls consistently show that the German public feels more negative about China than other Europeans, driven by cultural differences and seemingly random coincidences such as the World Uygur Conference being located in Munich.

Many might think that British public opinion of China would be more negative because of their feelings about Hong Kong and its large trade deficits with China. Such sentiments, however, appear to be overshadowed by extensive person-to-person interactions fostered by tourism, education exchanges and financial links. Outside of the U. In Asia, views are much less favorable today compared with the post Asian Financial Crisis years, when China's financial support and charm offensive generated much good will. Today, island-related sovereignty issues have exacerbated tensions.

Elsewhere, China's rise is seen more favorably because it buoyed Latin American and African economies, although there is now an underlying concern that China's economic slowdown is dampening their prospects. Whether one is talking about the United States, Asia or elsewhere, public perceptions of China's influence are being shaped by a combination of economic and foreign policy concerns.

Dealing with the complexity of these global relationships at a time when the economy is slowing is a major challenge for China's leadership. They need the union to succeed. Another interesting point raised or implied by the authors was the way in which changes in the United States were making countries look more closely at Europe, and not just in terms of trade.

The view from New Delhi is always interesting. Just as it looks with awe and apprehension at the way China is modernizing at an extraordinary pace, India seems paralyzed when it comes to renewing even basic infrastructure such as housing, clean water, roads, railroads, and airports. All are crucial for investment opportunities. Indeed, European companies are increasingly trying to enter the Indian market.

There is, finally, another view from outside Europe. In doing so, it will throw down the gauntlet to an EU that is grappling with its ambitions to be a genuine global player—which, as this series has shown, is something many countries want it to become.

2. Everything is “awesome”!

Follow the conversation— Sign up to receive email updates when comments are posted to this article. Everybody is interested in trade, at least for the immediate future. The EU is home of the carcasses of the fallen empires which dominated the world for more than half a century. That includes the Russian and Ottoman Empire a large colonial power in Europe for centuries. What they got was dreadnoughts, and a night watchman empire forcing one country to grow opium to be forcefully sold to another. Africa, even worse; Congo was an apogee of inexcusable behavior.

Wealth extraction at a global scale enabled these empires to ignite many wars, culminating with the suigenocide of The temporary armistice included partitions which left the world in an unstable state for the probably millennia, including now religious war. Poland stopped the Ottoman Empire at Vienna and Trotsky on the Vistula, and was rewarded with the phony war. Europe is a tough neighborhood for small and medium Wilsonian powers. These are some of the reasons many countries are interested just in commerce, not governance advice; an RCEP variant would suffice.

European Perceptions of America since the 17th Century

For the others, Europe is still wealthy, but in relative terms that is also going away. Sic transit Gloria mundi. In terms of defense Europe trumpeted ambitious plans, but no mention of a nuclear triad. Europe should be able to handle all threats perceived in the East, with US providing the nuclear deterrence. Carnegie Europe.

America's Perceptions of Europe | L. Eliasson | Palgrave Macmillan

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Judy Dempsey. Many non-European countries are reassessing their views of the EU against a background of Trumpism, populism, and globalization. July 14, Strategic Europe. Dempsey is a nonresident senior fellow at Carnegie Europe and editor in chief of Strategic Europe. No links or markup permitted. Comments are moderated and may not appear immediately.

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