- Much of the world woke up Wednesday to shocking headlines about the first debate between President Donald Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden.
- French World called it “worrying about American democracy.”
- “Never before has American politics sunk so low,” said La Repubblica Italia, while The Times of India went so far as to say, “The US humiliates itself in front of the world for 100 minutes.”
- The Guardian concludes that if Trump is re-elected, “this dark, gruesome, and incomparable fever dream will surely become the first line of America’s obituary.”
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There have been polls aplenty on how international perceptions of the United States have largely dived since President Donald Trump took office – and even more so during the coronavirus pandemic – but Tuesday night’s debate marks a new low.
Around the world, major news outlets are using strong language to capture the first debate between Trump and Democratic candidate Joe Biden.
The Toronto Star considered it a “rough debate.”
French World described it as “worrying about American democracy.”
The Guardian in Britain described the debate as “national humiliation. “
Glass in Germany it uses the term “TV duels are like car accidents.”
“Never before has American politics sunk so low,” Italy’s La Repubblica said in its debate submission.
“The US humiliates itself before the world for 100 minutes,” wrote The Times of India.
From our education system to most TV news coverage, the American public is often isolated from international news and, furthermore, our country’s international opinion. A 2019 Gallup survey of more than 2,000 people found that “American adults show gaps in their knowledge of geography and world affairs,” with only 6% answering at least 80% of the questions correctly, according to the Council on Foreign Relations.
Even Trump often said in 2016 that the world was “laughing at us,” and risking his campaign to restore American power globally. But he has simultaneously withdrawn from international agreements and organizations such as NATO and the Paris Climate Accord.
President Barack Obama has often taken the heat for what conservatives have described as a “tour of apology” when on international visits, particularly in his bid to offer reconciliation for the devastation lingering after US military engagement.
The whiplash of this approach is shown in Pew Research Center data on global perceptions of the US, with the Obama administration marking a slight rebound after the pre-Trump invasion of Iraq and its coronavirus response bringing numbers down.
The consequences of America’s deterioration abroad cannot be fully understood at this point in 2020, but The Guardian is venturing into the future – and it is grim.
“The whole world – and future historians – will probably see it and cry,” wrote The Guardian’s David Smith of Tuesday’s debate.
Smith noted that Biden is still seeded to win, but if he loses, “this dark, gruesome, incomparable fever dream will surely become America’s first line of obituaries.”
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