Jon Western points out the new National Brands Index showing that America jumped up in the most recent global popularity poll to take the top spot back. The methodology is suspect (as Western points out), but still: USA IS NUMBER ONE!
Less than a year after Barack Obama’s election, European euphoria over the end of the Bush era is fading. Relations are still far better than in the dark days before the Iraq war. But as the official puts it, there is “a lot of sniping” going back and forth across the Atlantic. ...
The sense of a honeymoon ended is widespread, at least at official level. In a revealing coincidence, 24 hours before the American official talked of a “flashing yellow light”, an EU official used the same metaphor to describe east European alarm at the clumsy way in which the Obama administration cancelled plans for a missile-defence system in Poland and the Czech Republic.
Doubts about the Obama administration have been a dirty secret in European policy circles for months, even as polls like the latest German Marshall Fund’s “Transatlantic Trends” survey continued to find Obamamania in western Europe. But the grumbling is slowly becoming public.
Granted, these two results are not mutually exclusive: it is possible that the unwashed masses have a higher opinion of the U.S. than their civic leaders have. And of course opinion polls have plenty of potential problems, as do quotes from anonymous government officials. In any case, I don't think either of these matters much for U.S. foreign policy.
Nevertheless, I'm sticking with the USA IS NUMBER ONE! interpretation.