According to a new global leadership poll, Germany is the most admired country in the world, for a third year running; leaving the US in a tight battle for a distant second place with China and Russia.
The annual poll – conducted by Gallup – casts more doubt on US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's claim on Friday that the US was "perfectly positioned" to lead the free world in a new ideological rivalry with the Chinese Communist Party, reports The Guardian.
The US had a 33 percent global approval rating for 2019 – just one percentage point ahead of China and three percent ahead of Russia. Germany outshines all three by a long stretch, with a 44 percent rating.
The survey of a thousand adults in each of 135 countries was carried out around the world in 2019, before the novel coronavirus struck.
Washington's global standing could suffer even further in light of its mismanagement of the pandemic, which has left the US as one of the worst hotspots for the disease.
US President Donald Trump has frequently claimed that he has made the US respected again in the world, but the poll figures suggest the opposite.
The US was the most admired country in the world for every year of the Obama administration except in 2011 – the year it came a close second to Germany; but then its popularity plummeted 18 percentage points after Trump's took office, recovering marginally after that at just over 30 percent.
"When you read the latest results in this report on how the world rates the leadership of major global powers, the leaders who presented the case for the most certainty did the best," said Mohamed Younis, Gallup's editor-in-chief,
"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."
Younis added that the novel coronavirus could erode America's stature even further: "The image of US leadership in particular could seriously suffer as the globe watches US states and the federal government struggle to get infection rates under control."
US leadership approval is at its lowest among the country's traditional allies in Europe, where 61 percent disapprove of its performance and just 24 percent approve.
In the UK, the figures are 65 percent disapprove - 25 percent approve, with a similar outcome in France. In Germany, US stature is even worse: 78 percent disapprove and only 12 percent admire the leadership coming from Washington.
In Australia, too, there was deep scepticism about the US, with 67 percent disapproving compared with 23 percent approving.
The only continent where the US has maintained an overall positive image is Africa, where a bare majority of 52 percent approved its conduct, but that, too, is way down from the 85 percent backing Africans gave to the US in 2009, just after Barack Obama's election.