Monday, 7 March 2011

Germany still world's most popular country

The figures are in, and Germany has again taken the top spot in the BBC's annual poll of nations' popularity - with 62% of those surveyed ranking its influence as positive for the world. The UK was the next most-loved country, rising to second place in its highest ever placing in the annual poll.

But while Germany and the UK sit at the cool kids' table in the world lunchroom, over in the losers corner sit Iran, North Korea, Pakistan and Israel, all ranked as the most unpopular countries. The United States was ranked seventh in popularity out of the 16 countries respondents had to choose from, polling behind Canada, France, Japan and Brazil.

So what makes Germany so popular? The country's pacifist foreign policy over the past half century probably has a lot to do with it. The more military conflicts a country has been engaged in over the past fifty years the more likely they were to rank low in popularity – which would explain America's rather dismal showing. But of course the UK managed to rank second even though they've been involved in a number of military conflicts (most notably the Iraq War), so passivity can't be the only explanation.

Germany also benefits from its reputation as prosperous, industrious and fair. People perceive German products to be of high quality and they perceive the German quality of life to be enviable. That, combined with its reputation for being fair and "non-nationalistic" in dealing with other countries, like also have a large effect on the way Germany is perceived in the world.

For the UK, it's rise to the number two spot may be due to the prominent role the country has taken in dealing with the world financial crisis. From Gordon Brown's immediate leadership at the G20 in the wake of the bank crisis to David Cameron's leadership of the pan-European movement for austerity,the UK has been on the front lines of the problem - for better or worse.


Anonymous said...

"The country's pacifist foreign policy" -

Germany is the arms dealer for the whole world.

You should ask Gaddafi or Mubarrak.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for this nice article.

Yes, we are the arms dealer of the world, because no one else can do it. the US would definitely do it, but they cant. they are good in coca cola and burgers. service.

Anonymous said...

"The arms dealer for the whole world"?

If you were run over by a drunk driver, would you blame the car dealer?

In the end, the problem is not someone producing weapons, the problem is caused by those using them.

And by the way, most weapons are produced by the United States, second is Russia and third is Germany. ( Maybe next time you should think first and then make comments not only based on prejudices! Thank you.

Best wishes

Captain Kid said...

I wouldn't blame the car dealer, but the one who sells alcohol to someone who's driving.

Captain Kid said...

and by the way: I don't think the first comment was prejudiced. Germany is, in fact, one of the leading arm-dealing nations. no one said, it was number 1. and a third place regarding arm-dealing is not "pacifist"!

less of nationalism and more of humanist sensibility, please.

Anonymous said...

First, "the" arms dealer for the world clearly suggests that it is number one. But that is definitely not the point here.

I don't believe in Germany being a pacifist country either. But in my opinion, the problem is not that arms are being sold but that they are bought.

It is a very simple thing to hold the seller of the alcohol responsible. But fact is, if you insist that you (by which I mean a nation, not you personally) are qualified to decide upon whose responsible enough for guns, you are implying your own superiority in a very dubious way.

Do you believe that you can carry a responsibility like that? I don't.

In the end, it is still not the arms seller - it is those people using them. This was in no way supposed to be a nationalist comment. I just believe that no nation has the right to make itself superior to the rest of the world.

Captain Kid said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Captain Kid said...

Ok, I agree with you from a philosophical point of view, but I would say, that in practical political terms, it is your responsability (not yours alone, obviously) to determine whether it is ok to sell weapons to a country like Libya (or to be more precisely: to its regime). You have to make a distinction because we as a society agree on the fact that those values we call human rights are universal and have to be protected.

Of course, in the end the "bad" person is the one who uses the weapon.