November 19, 2009
This publication is now archived.
International polling reveals a majority of nations have a favorable view of the United Nations and think that it is having a positive influence in the world. On average, nearly six in ten respondents express such positive views. These majorities are smaller than those expressing support for the United Nations having a robust mission, suggesting that attitudes about the United Nations as an institution, while buoyed by support for its mission, may be mitigated by reservations about its performance. When asked about confidence in the United Nations as an organization views tilt to the negative. Download full chapter (PDF).
Polling in Europe and the United States finds that support for the United Nations appears to be derived from a perceived need for collective action to deal with global problems and from a belief in the efficiencies of collective action. Reservations appear to be related to performance issues. Download full chapter (PDF).
International polls have found support in all countries polled for adding new countries as permanent members of the UN Security Council (UNSC). Specifically, majorities or pluralities in nearly all countries have favored including Germany, Japan, India, Brazil and South Africa. On average, majorities have supported the inclusion of Germany and Japan, while pluralities have favored adding India, Brazil, and South Africa. Download full chapter (PDF).
Most European nations favor having a single permanent seat on the UNSC even if it means replacing the permanent seats of the United Kingdom and France. The British public, however, is opposed. Download full chapter (PDF).
International polling has found robust support for giving the UN Security Council the power to override the veto of a permanent member if all other members are in favor of a resolution. This position is favored in the United States, Great Britain, and China, while views are divided in Russia and France. Download full chapter (PDF).
There is strong international support for various approaches for making the UN more democratically representative. Large majorities around the world favor direct elections of their country’s UN representative to the General Assembly, a new UN parliament with directly elected representatives, and giving non-governmental actors a formal role in the United Nations. Download full chapter (PDF).
In general, majorities in most countries have expressed a positive view of the influence of international financial institutions, including the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF). While both get mildly positive ratings in nearly all countries, the World Bank is more popular than the IMF and a few countries, particularly Argentina and Brazil, have distinctly negative views of the IMF. Publics in many beneficiary countries tend to show high levels of enthusiasm, while those in donor countries are more modest in their support, though still predominantly positive. The WTO has a positive image in Europe and the United States and most countries polled, including the United States, say that their government should comply with adverse WTO decisions. Download full chapter (PDF).
Publics in a majority of countries, especially in Europe and Africa, express confidence that the International Court of Justice would rule fairly and impartially in cases involving their country. However substantial numbers also express doubts. A poll of African and majority-Muslim countries found more support than opposition to the International Criminal Court indictment of Sudanese President Omar Bashir for his alleged role in displacing and killing civilians. Download full chapter (PDF).
Most Europeans and Americans agree that NATO is still essential, think that it needs to be strengthened, and do not want to cut spending for it. But Europeans and Americans also agree that Europe should have its own defense alliance, and Europeans overwhelmingly believe that decisions about European defense policy should be made by the European Union or national governments rather than by NATO. Large majorities of Europeans and Americans agree that their country should contribute troops to defend a NATO member that has been attacked. Download full chapter (PDF).
European Union members’ views of their membership in the European Union are quite varied and on the whole only moderately positive. But when it comes to decisions that have foreign policy implications, Europeans show very strong support for decisions being made not simply by their own national government, but jointly within the European Union. This includes fighting terrorism, defense and foreign affairs generally, and energy. Europeans tend to agree that European Union membership aids in dealing with the costs and benefits of globalization; but it is more often pluralities, rather than majorities, that hold this view. Download full chapter (PDF).
Polls from around the world show the European Union is widely perceived as playing a positive role in the world. EU members show far more enthusiasm for the European Union’s international influence than they do about the benefits of membership. Download full chapter (PDF).
Asian publics polled tend to express positive feelings toward ASEAN and favor the idea of the ASEAN countries entering into a free trade agreement. However, confidence in ASEAN is mixed. When asked who should decide policies on the environment, refugees, aid to developing countries, and peacekeeping, only small minorities say that it should be ASEAN together with Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. Most say the UN or national governments should decide such policies. Download full chapter (PDF).
Majorities or, more often, pluralities in most Latin American countries have positive views of Mercosur, the Andean Community, the Central American Parliament, the Central American Integration System, the Organization of Ibero-American States, and the Organization of American States. Download full chapter (PDF).
Limited polling of African countries has shown modest levels of confidence in the African Union (AU). Download full chapter (PDF).
Stewart M. Patrick assesses multilateral cooperation and state sovereignty.
Kurlantzick offers the sharpest analysis yet of what state capitalism’s emergence means for democratic politics around the world. More
In a cogent analysis of why the United States is losing ground as a world power, Blackwill and Harris explore the statecraft of geoeconomics. More
Takeyh and Simon reframe the legacy of U.S. involvement in the Arab world from 1945 to 1991 and shed new light on the makings of the contemporary Middle East. More
The Task Force recommends revising U.S. policy toward North Korea to break the cycle of North Korean provocation and promote stability in Northeast Asia.
India now matters to U.S. interests in virtually every dimension. This Independent Task Force report assesses the current situation in India and the U.S.-India relationship, and suggests a new model for partnership with a rising India.
Rates of heart disease, cancer, diabetes, and other noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) in low- and middle-income countries are increasing faster than in wealthier countries. The report outlines a plan for collective action on this growing epidemic.
This report asserts that elevating and prioritizing the U.S.-Canada-Mexico relationship offers the best opportunity for strengthening the United States and its place in the world.
To ensure the success of Myanmar's historic democratic transition, the United States should revise its outdated and counterproductive sanctions policy.
Blackwill and Campbell analyze the rise of Chinese President Xi Jinping and call for a new American grand strategy for Asia.
Williams argues that greater U.S. involvement is necessary to enhance the quality and success of peacekeeping missions.
Learn more about CFR’s mission and its work over the past year in the 2015 Annual Report. The Annual Report spotlights new initiatives, high-profile events, and authoritative scholarship from CFR experts, and includes a message from CFR President Richard N. Haass.
Read and download »
To request permission to reprint or reuse CFR material, please fill out this permissions request form (PDF), referring to the instructions on page 1.
Every September, many of the world’s presidents, prime ministers, and foreign ministers descend on New York City to mark the start of the...
How It Manages Rising Powers—for Everyone's Benefit
After all, Trump might not be worse than Carter.
Laurie Garrett writes that the organization responsible for international public health is increasing its budget by millions of dollars —...