News stories remind us almost daily that anti-American opinion is rampant in every corner of the globe. Journalists, scholars, and politicians alike reinforce the perception that anti-Americanism is an entrenched sentiment in many foreign countries. Political scientist Giacomo Chiozza challenges this conventional wisdom, arguing that foreign public opinion about the U.S. is much more diverse and nuanced than is generally believed.
Chiozza examines the character, source, and persistence of foreign attitudes toward the United States. His findings are based on worldwide public opinion databases that surveyed anti-American sentiment in Islamic countries, Europe, Latin America, Africa, and East Asia. Data compiled from responses in a wide range of categories—including politics, wealth, science and technology, popular culture, and education—indicate that anti-American sentiments vary widely across these geographic regions.
Through careful analyses, Chiozza shows how foreign publics balance the political, social, and cultural dimensions of the U.S. in their own perceptions of the country.
He finds that popular anti-Americanism is mostly benign and shallow; deep-seated ideological opposition to the U.S. is usually held among a minority of groups. More often, Chiozza explains, foreigners have conflicting attitudes toward the U.S. He finds that while anti-Americanism certainly exists, the United States is equally praised as a symbol of democracy and freedom, its ideals of liberty, equality, and opportunity applauded.
Chiozza clearly demonstrates that what is reported as undisputed fact—that various groups abhor American values—is in reality a complex story.