Germans say US doesn’t respect freedom: poll
Germans are more negative about the United States than the rest of Europe, but still largely support Americans’ efforts to fight Isis, according to a new poll.
More than half of Germans (53 percent) said they did not believe the United States government respects the personal freedoms of its people, according to a Pew Research Center report published on Tuesday.
Forty-three percent of Germans said they thought the US government did respect citizens’ freedoms, while Americans themselves seemed on the fence.
Though in the US most (51 percent) said their government respected personal freedoms, 47 percent disagreed.
The poll also showed that 45 percent of Germans polled had negative views of the US, compared to 50 percent who had positive views.
This was the most pessimistic outlook expressed by any of the western European countries surveyed.
“The U.S. receives largely positive reviews among many of its key NATO allies. About two-in-three Canadians have a favorable opinion, as do large majorities in Italy, Poland, France, the UK and Spain. The outlier is Germany,” the report stated.
“America’s image has become more negative in Germany over the last few years.”
German support for the United States has plummeted over the 15 years since 2000, when nearly 80 percent of respondents in Germany said they felt favourable towards the US.
In the years after President George W. Bush was first elected and later moved troops into Afghanistan and Iraq, support started to wane for the US among Germans, hitting a low of 30 percent positivity in 2007.
Support started to rise again when Barack Obama first took power, up to 64 percent in 2009, but then dropped down in 2012.
Revelations over the past two years about mass surveillance by the US National Security Agency (NSA) on the country’s allies, including on Chancellor Angela Merkel’s phone, certainly hasn’t helped the American government’s image either.