Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Gordon Brown - Leader of the Free World!

So says a poll of some 19,750 people in twenty countries across the world. Newsweek has published the complete poll - see it here - together with several articles analysing the results.

Here are the numbers for our Gordon:

Great Britain’s Prime Minister Gordon Brown

Country A lot of Some No No Response
confidence confidence Confidence decline
Argentina 4 18 45 32
Mexico 9 25 46 20
USA 6 53 35 7
France 1 34 33 33
Russia 4 16 40 40
Spain 3 19 43 35
Ukraine 3 14 26 57
Azerbaijan 17 26 32 25
Egypt 2 31 66 0
Iran 1 5 52 41
Jordan 0 5 72 22
Palestine 0 9 90 2
Turkey 1 7 65 26
Nigeria 25 34 29 11
China 8 42 21 29
India 14 23 28 35
Indonesia 10 18 43 29
SouthKorea 8 49 32 12
Thailand 4 23 26 46
Total 6 24 43 26
Britain 9 39 46 6
exc UK 6 25 44 26

The only person with an overall score better than Gordon Brown's was Ban Ki Moon, the Secretary General of the United Nations. Brown scored best of the leaders of democracies, and he would have done even better if people in the middle east didn't hate us so much (I presume those Palestinians giving him such a bad score have confused Blair, Middle East envoy with Brown, UK Prime Minister - or Brown is paying for Blair's problems in that part of the world).

59% of Americans had some confidence or a lot of confidence in Brown - very interesting given that these people will be electing a new President in Nov (probably Obama). 50% of Chinese had some confidence or a lot of confidence in Brown. 57% of South Koreans had confidence in him and 37% of Indians (though India had a lot of don't knows). This is great. Both the USA and China are de-facto superpowers and they like him. Brown has made a good impression in the far east. And they really like him in Africa (Nigeria) and central asia (Azerbaijan - a country with a lot of oil and gas).

By contrast only 18% of Americans had some confidence or a lot of confidence in Nicholas Sarkozy. Sarkozy may be Bush's new best friend, but ordinary Americans don't rate him. Only 22% of Chinese had some or a lot of confidence in Sarkozy.

Putin scored well with the Chinese and central asians (but badly in Europe and USA) and Hu Jintao was bigged up by support in the middle east (Egypt and Iran). As expected Bush did badly.

After lamenting at how popular Putin and Hu Jintao are in the world, and how badly the USA and France are doing, Newsweek takes comfort from Gordon Brown's steady popularity:

If this all sounds like bad news for the West, it is. Yet there's one hopeful sign in the numbers if you look hard enough. The one major democrat who did score well was Britain's Gordon Brown (never mind that his numbers are tanking at home). That's important, for Brown happens to be the one national leader who's staked his reputation on finding new, cooperative solutions to a range of global ills. As Holbrooke puts it, "Brown is the person on the list who's by far the most identified with solving transnational problems, such as climate change, HIV/AIDS, African development and so on." Princeton's Slaughter agrees: "Brown is less interested in his country's narrow interests than genuinely trying to address" global crises. Britain's prime minister, she argues, "is giving effective voice to the aspirations of the world's poorest people, to billions who often feel they have no say."

....As Daalder puts it, there's a "yearning for new leadership" to help the planet through its multiple messes. Anyone who takes up the mantle is likely to be rewarded.

They go onto suggest that the next US president should try to copy our Gordon:

But the right person with the right message—say, a certain young senator who preaches a gospel of hope, or his colleague from Arizona, who's promised to take on "restore the world's faith" in the United States and its principles by working closely with U.S. allies—may find a surprisingly attentive audience.

All of which is good stuff. Gordon Brown is proving good at solid, unflashy diplomacy (the best kind) and is making sure that we have good relations with all those countries that really matter. And he's now a model for the new American president, whoever he is, to copy! You can't hope for better than that! ;-)

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