We can all joke and say, “They hate us cause they ain’t us” — but the fact of the matter is, statistics regarding anti-American sentiments in some countries are quite alarming. True, some nations have never liked America, and the history of hostility runs deep. But recent polls have shed an uncomfortable spotlight on countries we had thought were friendly, but who are actually less happy with America than we thought.
We know what you must be thinking. How can it be that fellow-English speakers Australia don’t like Americans? Well, it turns out that their opinions are actually split nearly right down the middle. According to a survey conducted by the Pew Research Center in 2017, 48% of the Aussies questioned expressed strong dissatisfaction towards the way things are run in the United States.
So what is it about Americans that some of these Australians are turned off by? According to a user on Reddit, it has to do with gun ownership. He wrote, “In Australia, even owning a revolver for home defense would make people think you’re a bit of a psychopath.”
The history between America and France is endlessly complicated. On one hand, the two countries have retained a strong political alliance over the years. After all, France helped the USA during the American Revolution, and the United States came to France’s aid in World War II. But beyond the political realm, the French haven’t exactly been obsessed with their fellows across the Atlantic Ocean.
There’s been a long stereotype of the French looking down upon American tourists, especially ones who can’t speak a lick of French to save their life. More recently, the French government issued a new tax to take 3% of revenues from non-French companies who are earning money on their soil. While this obviously affects all other countries, American mega-corporations like Amazon and Apple are certainly going to feel that sting the hardest.
For American tourists looking to enjoy Euro-tripping a tad off the beaten path, Denmark is one country that is often recommended. However, while our Danish brethren certainly have a goofy magic in their accents, it’s probably best that that Americans can’t always understand what they’re actually saying.
According to a survey taken by Gallup, 65% of the Denmark population don’t see eye to eye with American leadership. American tourists who visited Denmark in 2018 relayed that they were constantly bombarded with questions about the way things are run back home. However, in defense of the Danish, they reportedly weren’t hostile towards these tourists, and were willing to hear them out.
Since the 1940s, there’s been a persistent anti-American vibe in Greece. This is mainly because America involved themselves in the civil war that took place between the Greek military and the Communist opposition. In fact, some Greeks are still so mad about it that their radical left group promised to kick all American troops out of their country in 2019.
However, to their country’s credit, former Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras stood by the American military during this time, which resulted in uproar among many Greek citizens. Ultimately, while many Greeks love America, we’d suggest treading lightly if you decide to vacation there.
5. Costa Rica
Ahh, Costa Rica. When we normally think of this Central American success story, we imagine a lush paradise beckoning us to fly there when we get the chance. Costa Ricans certainly don’t turn away American tourists, particularly considering how important tourism is to the local economy. But that doesn’t mean they necessarily enjoy their company.
In fact, more than half (56% to be exact) of the Costa Ricans interviewed in a survey expressed dissatisfaction with American leadership. Even more harsh were the statements they made about Americans, saying they believed Americans had “inflated egos” and that they thought the world revolves around them.
Croatia has skyrocketed to the top of travel bucket lists for jetsetters and Game of Thrones enthusiasts alike. In light of the influx of tourists, when surveyed about nationalities, the majority of Croatians expressed much disapproval with the United States. One online commenter from Croatia even said, “The tourists that come here are just plain obnoxious and ignorant.”
Even more alarming, however, were the non-white Americans who noted that they detected some racism in Croatia as well, unfortunately. This isn’t a stain on their entire country, and obviously many of their citizens aren’t like that. But it’s certainly enough for American tourists to be mindful of, as they plan their next visit.
In the past, there have been multiple Latin American countries who have more than a few bones to pick with their neighbors to the north. Argentina happens to be one of them, with particularly bitter feelings about the way they claim they’ve been treated by the United States in the past.
There’s a strong belief among Argentinians that many of their political and economic problems from the second half of the 20th century have their roots in decision-making by successive American governments. Furthermore, 44% of their population expressed distaste for the policies of the United States. However, local citizens have maintained that as long as people are kind to them, they’ll be polite right back. We only hope everyone there feels that way!
Italy is obviously one of the biggest tourist attractions in Europe not just for Americans, but travelers from countries spanning the globe. From the lovely ancient landmarks of Rome to their unforgettably delicious cuisine, it’s not hard to see why Americans are so mystified by this country. The feeling, it appears, is not mutual.
Nearly 60% of Italians let it be known that they were unimpressed with the leadership in America. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean Americans need to watch their backs while touring around Italy. In fact, Italians are cordial for the most part. Just remember: similarly to the French, they may laugh behind your back (perhaps rightfully) at those never-ending selfie sticks and inability to speak the language well.
It’s not uncommon for countries in the Middle East to have a big problem with America. A great deal of these negative opinions have to do with America’s foreign policy in regards to the region and a history of intervention. Much anger and distrust centers around America’s strong relationship with Israel. When it comes to Jordan, this truth was painfully observed after the U.S. announced that their embassy in Israel would be moved from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
When that happened, Jordanian protesters stormed the streets and chanted, “America is the head of the snake”, implying that whatever the problem is, the U.S. controls it. Those hardly sound like the words of a country who is happy with America –but hopefully there can be some reconciliation between both countries in the near future.
Many Latin Americans have a complicated history when it comes to the United States, and Chile is certainly no exception. Their main beef with the States goes all the way back to the 1970s, when the American government and the CIA were very involved in bringing a certain leader into power in Chile — one with a difficult legacy.
Many are keenly aware of American involvement behind the scenes to oust democratically-elected Chilean Marxist president Salvador Allende from office. The resulting military coup brought to power the oppressive dictator Augusto Pinochet. Things have seemingly simmered down since between the U.S. and Chile. They seem to be willing to reconcile things on the surface. But any American traveler should understand this complicated history.
Germany has come a very long way in terms of rectifying its national image since World War II. Today, there’s been plenty reason to believe that Germans aren’t necessarily thrilled with America. In 2018, an article released by leading German media outlet Der Spiegel nonchalantly let loose that they thought of Americans as bigots and lovers of guns.
The piece was drawing from apparently reputable sources, but later it was proven that Claas Relotius had actually faked some of his findings. The U.S. ambassador to Germany then accused the German magazine of being anti-American. In a separately alarming story, German chancellor Angela Merkel once not-so-subtly preached to Harvard students that they needed to be tearing down “walls of ignorance and narrow-mindedness”.
Trust is one of the most important things to be cherished in this world — and apparently many Guatemalans don’t have it for Americans. This is mainly dates back to a series of unpleasant events place back in the 1950s: a CIA-led coup that deposed the Guatemalan government because of fears of Communism.
Although this took place nearly 70 years ago, “people don’t forget”, as the old saying goes. Survey results reflect that strongly: in a Gallup poll that was conducted with the people of Guatemala, 54% of them don’t agree with America’s leadership — and their opinions don’t seem to be changing any time soon.
There’s no secret that the United States and Lebanon have butted heads pretty strongly over the years. One particularly raw incident that further strained relations was the deadly 1983 bombing of a US Marines base near Beirut Airport. Add to that America’s strong relationship with Israel, which remains embroiled in conflict with Lebanon, and there’s plenty of reasons for tension.
Unfortunately, while there are certainly many voices of Lebanese citizens who desire understanding and acceptance, they aren’t in the greatest position to alter the state of things. And they certainly aren’t the ones who tourists need to be worried about. Parts of the country, particularly the south, are in the hands of Hezbollah, whom the U.S. defines as a terrorist organization.
Although the Overseas Security Advisory Council of Peru has maintained that most of their citizens have no problem with America, a recent poll says otherwise. Apparently up to 54% of the population aren’t happy with the United States. They’re specifically displeased with the American government, similar to many other countries on this list.
It’s important to distinguish that this doesn’t necessarily mean they don’t like Americans in general. But for any Americans looking to travel to Peru, regardless of whether or not the locals like them for their background, it’s important to be conscious of something else: thieves and muggers. The pickpocket game there is strong, and American tourists are often perceived as an easy target.
Luxembourg may not be the biggest European country, but it’s certainly an underrated and unique hotspot well worth a visit. But perhaps it may be prudent to read this before going — especially because of the strong role this country plays in the politics of Europe.
Their government is heavily respected in the continent, and therefore their opinions are pretty influential to citizens well beyond Luxembourg’s borders. Former Luxembourg prime minister and former president of the European Commission, Jean-Claude Juncker, has loudly criticized the American government for its foreign policy towards Iran. “We have to replace the United States,” he said. In other words, we wouldn’t recommend trying to provoke any of the locals on politics.
One of the most beautiful and popular countries to visit in the world, at any given time, thousands of Americans will likely be touring Spain no matter what. But it’s always good to be informed — and in this case, Americans should know that 60% of the Spanish population are not especially fond of them.
Travelling there is perfectly safe. However, for Americans, it’s certainly recommended not to be surprised if locals are not the biggest fans of American politics. It may be best to try to abstain from getting into any heated debates. Like many countries on this list, it’s unlikely that anything bad will happen as long as you’re careful and polite. Just be wary that opinion polls suggest that it may be important not to add any fuel to their fire.
Sweden is often characterized by its happy-go-lucky citizens, pleased with the quality of life their country affords them. But don’t mistake that happiness for being the most accepting of everyone. A poll done by the Pew Research Center shows more than half of the Swedish population aren’t big fans of Americans. So what’s their reason for feeling this way?
Swedish critique of American foreign policy has been widely felt for a while. Then came a Fox News segment that aired in 2017, when Muslim immigration in Sweden was discussed by conservative TV persona Tucker Carlson, and many Swedes felt he was lambasting them as a whole. Communication is a fickle beast that can be perceived in multiple ways by different communities, and they clearly didn’t appreciate it.
The people of Mexico have always had a strained, though helplessly interconnected, relationship with the United States. Given the fact that the two countries share the same border — and the fact that America is perceived as the land of opportunity — it makes sense that millions of Mexican citizens have immigrated over the past century.
In fact, according to the U.S. Census Bureau’s 2018 findings, Mexican-Americans are estimated to comprise a whopping 11.3% of the United States’ population. Therefore, while there is certainly hostility among the two groups, particularly over maintenance and security of the border, there’s also a great deal of intimacy and connection. However, if an American were to visit Mexico, they should probably be a bit more careful with what they say around the locals.
After half a century under anti-American dictator Muammar al-Gaddafi, coupled with mistrust of U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East, it’s far from surprising that Libyans don’t have the most positive opinions of Americans. But here’s a small turn of current events you may not have heard about. In the year 2019, the U.S. government did something additional that the Libyan citizens perceived as wrong.
During a hostile takeover by Libyan National Army leader Khalifa Haftar, a call was received from the States. The citizens of Libya were against Haftar, and believed the U.S. were actually supporting him. While the exact details of that phone call aren’t precisely clear, there’s fair reason why stern travel warnings are in place.
Considering the fact that Islamic radicals attacked the American Embassy located in Tunis as recent as 2012, and anti-American protests even by moderates are commonplace, when it comes to how the U.S. is perceived, feelings in Tunisia across the board aren’t exactly positive. Even after a democratic revolution, opinion towards Americans hasn’t shifted much.
As a result of the embassy attack, the U.S. government wasn’t as keen to help out the Tunisian government with financial aid — which only strengthened their people’s ire toward Americans. In fact, less than half of their population said they thought Americans were good people, and more than a few endorsed violence against them.
Similar to many of the countries listed above, Turkey hasn’t always been in love with the United States, despite Turkey’s key position as a NATO ally in the Middle East. Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan is leading the most recent anti-American charge, and his strong influence has caused the Turks to be fearful or resentful when it comes to Americans.
From a statistical outlook, a recent survey determined that a whopping 70% of Turkish citizens felt threatened by the United States. That being said, the country still has a reputation to maintain as a huge tourist destination. Due to strong suspicion of Americans coming from local press, Americans shouldn’t be surprised if they catch any off-color looks when revealing their identity.
So how do the people of Russia actually feel about Americans? Sure, the Cold War has been more or less over for three decades, but today’s statistics tell a surprisingly mixed tale. A 2017 Pew Research Center survey indicated 52% feeling negatively towards the United States. Depending on what you thought about Russia previously, this percentage may be higher or lower than you expected.
From a traveler’s perspective, tourist websites maintain that most Russians are cordial toward visiting Americans. But like many of these countries who aren’t big fans of the U.S., just because a great deal of good people exist, doesn’t mean you shouldn’t be conscious of potentially being seen in a negative light by more than a few others.
Wait, wait, wait. How can it be that Canada is on this list? The same Canada that has a stereotype of its citizens being the politest, friendliest people on the planet? They’ve taken years of teasing in stride — but sometimes it’s hard to not feel a bit miffed.
The truth is that Canada is certainly not a dangerous place to visit, and compared to some of the other countries on this list, you shouldn’t be worried at all about going there. However, particularly in light of recent squabbling between leaders, sentiments aren’t the best. Americans working in Canada have claimed that in the workplace, it’s actually not uncommon to criticize America. They also said that sometimes there’s even a strong peer pressure to agree with those people.
Long after the fall of the Iron Curtain, more than a few countries in Eastern Europe still hold rather anti-American sentiments. Serbia in particular is one of the leaders of this thread, with 59% of Serbian survey respondents expressing hostility towards Americans. It’s believed that much of this is thanks to Russian propaganda, which has affected the opinions of multiple countries in that region.
To further complicate matters, Serbs haven’t forgotten the American support of Kosovo during the deadly war there in the late ’90s. Nonetheless, these sentiments are not a major red flag if you desire stopping in Serbia during a Balkan-themed trek through Europe. But it’s definitely something to take note of, and to remind you to make sure you aren’t on your own during these travels!
Just like Serbia, Bosnia is very much influenced by anti-American propaganda perpetrated by the Russian government. It’s quite common for fake news to get spread in these regions, feeding the populace with materials presenting the United States in a negative light. Perhaps this is the reason that a recent Gallup poll showed 52% of Bosnians showing strong distaste for the American government.
U.S. and NATO involvement in this country’s darkest chapter, the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s, along with what many perceive to be anti-Muslim sentiments coming from Americans, influence many Bosnians’ opinions of Americans. That being said, they’re famous for their hospitality — just don’t try to talk politics.
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