Event Title

The Trump Effect on US Public Diplomacy: Results from Survey Experiments in Three “Swing” Countries between the EU and Russia

Presenter Information

Henry E. Hale
Ridvan PeshkopiaFollow

Session

Political Science

Description

Can the election of new national leaders significantly impact a country’s image abroad? This is frequently assumed but rarely actually tested, leaving us with little knowledge about the nature of any such effects. We address this question by investigating the possible impact of Donald Trump’s election as president in the United States, widely interpreted as a popular rejection of traditional US foreign policy, on attitudes toward the US abroad. We do so through two novel experiments, each conducted in three EU-aspiring countries at a time when Russia has been actively trying to pry countries in the region from US sway. Enhancing its standing in such regions is thus a significant concern for the US in its broader strategy of resisting Russian influence. The states we choose also feature useful variation in longstanding attitudes toward the US that help us identify potential geopolitical interaction effects: One historically with pro-US majority sentiment (Albania), another with strong recent anti-US sentiment (Serbia), and one split between the two ethnic groups dominant in these two countries (Kosovo). Confirming fears of his opponents in the US, we find that Trump’s election significantly damaged American standing in Albania, not only depressing US favorability there but also leading Albanians to be more likely to back the EU over the US in the event of a disagreement between these two entities. American standing was actually enhanced in Serbia, however. Effects in Kosovo break down similarly along its Albanian-Serbian ethnic divide. The deleterious effect in Albania would seem to outweigh the positive effect in Serbia, which is a substantively small improvement in favorability that does not extend to preferring the US over the EU if forced to choose.

Proceedings Editor

Edmond Hajrizi

ISBN

978-9951-550-47-5

Location

UBT Kampus, Lipjan

Start Date

30-10-2021 12:00 AM

End Date

30-10-2021 12:00 AM

DOI

10.33107/ubt-ic.2021.257

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Oct 30th, 12:00 AM Oct 30th, 12:00 AM

The Trump Effect on US Public Diplomacy: Results from Survey Experiments in Three “Swing” Countries between the EU and Russia

UBT Kampus, Lipjan

Can the election of new national leaders significantly impact a country’s image abroad? This is frequently assumed but rarely actually tested, leaving us with little knowledge about the nature of any such effects. We address this question by investigating the possible impact of Donald Trump’s election as president in the United States, widely interpreted as a popular rejection of traditional US foreign policy, on attitudes toward the US abroad. We do so through two novel experiments, each conducted in three EU-aspiring countries at a time when Russia has been actively trying to pry countries in the region from US sway. Enhancing its standing in such regions is thus a significant concern for the US in its broader strategy of resisting Russian influence. The states we choose also feature useful variation in longstanding attitudes toward the US that help us identify potential geopolitical interaction effects: One historically with pro-US majority sentiment (Albania), another with strong recent anti-US sentiment (Serbia), and one split between the two ethnic groups dominant in these two countries (Kosovo). Confirming fears of his opponents in the US, we find that Trump’s election significantly damaged American standing in Albania, not only depressing US favorability there but also leading Albanians to be more likely to back the EU over the US in the event of a disagreement between these two entities. American standing was actually enhanced in Serbia, however. Effects in Kosovo break down similarly along its Albanian-Serbian ethnic divide. The deleterious effect in Albania would seem to outweigh the positive effect in Serbia, which is a substantively small improvement in favorability that does not extend to preferring the US over the EU if forced to choose.