Which countries are the ‘most admired in the world’ – and why?

Germany has topped a poll of the world’s “most admired countries”, leaving the US a distant second ahead of China and Russia.

The annual poll by Gallup found Germany topped the list for the third year running, leading the US by 10 percentage points, The Guardian says.

The European nation had an approval rating of 44%, while the US clocked in at 33%. China was one point behind the US, on 32%, while Russia lagged behind America by three points.

The survey of a thousand adults in 135 countries was taken in 2019, before the coronavirus struck. However, Germany’s successful battle with the pandemic is likely to have only strengthened its image as a reliable global power. 

“Longtime German chancellor Angela Merkel, loved or hated, has been one of the most predictable leaders in highly uncertain times in both Europe and the global order,” said Gallup’s editor-in-chief, Mohamed Younis.

The US’s global rating will “cast doubt” on claims made by the country’s Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who last week told Reuters the country was “perfectly positioned” to lead the free world in opposition to the Chinese Communist Party.

During the Obama administration, the US topped the Gallup poll every year bar one, but its international popularity has plummeted by 18% since Trump took office.

And the president’s handling of the pandemic, which has so far hit the US harder than any other country in terms of deaths, could further harm the country’s standing. 

Trump’s protectionist economic policies and withdrawal from some international treaties and organisations may also be a factor in the large drop in the country’s ratings, Gallup said. 

Approval for the US is lowest among its traditional allies in Europe, where 61% disapprove of its leadership and 24% approve. The three countries on the continent that gave the US a positive approval rating were Kosovo, Albania and Poland. 

China led the US in 2018, but has faced criticism for its increasingly “aggressive diplomacy”, The New York Times reports. Relations with the UK have continued to sour as rows over the involvement of Huawei in Britain’s 5G network and the diplomatic crackdown in Hong Kong intensify, the Financial Times adds. 

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