global image

I’m sitting in a café in Jerusalem’s posh German Colony, an area of town reminiscent of Boston’s Newbury Street, on a lovely, if a touch excessively warm, summer Friday morning. As I’ve been here for a month doing archival research for my next book, Cast a Giant Shadow: Israel’s Image-Making efforts in America 1948-78, I’m thinking a lot about nation branding. But at the moment, I’m thinking less about Israel’s image and “brand” in the U.S. than I am about Palestine’s.

As the European Union considers further sanctions on Russia for its role in the standoff in Ukraine, Russia is broadly unpopular in many countries around the globe and increasingly disliked in Europe and the United States. President Vladimir Putin’s leadership also continues to inspire little confidence worldwide, according to a new Pew Research Center survey. The former Cold War power’s negative global image contradicts Russians’ expectations that Putin’s actions in Ukraine would improve their country’s international reputation.

The World Cup was meant to be a celebration of a new Brazil -- powerful, prosperous and jubilant. When the ball starts rolling in three days the world may instead view images of violence and inefficiency. Seven years after gaining rights to host sport’s most-watched event, Brazil nears the tournament amid street protests, economic slowdown and a wave of strikes including subway and museum workers. 

September 17, 2013

As the United Nations opens its 68th General Assembly session, publics around the world continue to have a positive impression of the international organization. Clear majorities in 22 of the 39 countries surveyed say they have a favorable view of the UN, including thumbs-up from Security Council permanent members Britain, France and the U.S. Ratings for the UN are on balance favorable in Russia. But the Chinese are divided in their opinion. However, views trend negatively in key Middle Eastern publics, including Israel, the Palestinian territories, Jordan and Turkey.

India’s mild-mannered Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is known to be measured in his public utterances. This is perhaps why his combative response on August 30 to attacks made by the main opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Rajya Sabha, India’s Upper House of Parliament, made headlines. In recent weeks, the BJP has accused Singh of presiding over a government battered by a slew of corruption scandals and failing to take steps to revive the Indian economy, which has seen a sharp deceleration in growth.