It’s not even close.
Image via (cc) Flickr user Nikole Snyder
As Americans, we commonly refer to our country as a “shining city on the hill” and our president as the “leader of the free world.” We live in a country on which God has allegedly shed his grace, and which boasts of its superior democratic values. But at the same time, our leaders—especially those in the current presidential campaign—spew hawkish threats that are amplified around the globe and undermine our credibility. The disconnect between how we view the world and how it views us was clear in a year-end 2013 poll of 66,000 people from around the globe, which found that 24 percent consider the United States “the greatest threat to peace in the world.”
Here’s a map showing which countries are considered the greatest threat to world peace.
More than two years after the poll, the United States hasn’t done much to reverse world opinion. This election cycle has opened the floodgates on aggressive and inflammatory rhetoric from several Republican candidates. Donald Trump took a pro-torture stance, saying he would “bring back a hell of a lot worse than waterboarding.” Ted Cruz claimed that he would “carpet bomb ISIS into oblivion” and questioned whether “sand can glow in the dark” because “we’re going to find out.”
These hawkish threats haven’t come only from the right; Hillary Clinton has promised a more aggressive foreign policy than Obama’s. Although the United States shouldn’t live out its history begging to win an international popularity contest, we’d be better at exporting our values if we followed Teddy Roosevelt’s philosophy of “Speak softly and carry a big stick” rather than the credo “America, f**k yeah.”