New Year’s Eve 2019 Forecast (What is this?)
Most of the world bases its opinion on the US as to whether it acts, collectively, more as an ally as a threat. Administrations serve as a proxy for this understanding both by their action and signaling of action. Trump is the biggest signaling President to ever signify his Twitter-signals, and all of those signals flash red to other countries except those having their own populist moments (e.g. his support is increasing in the United Kingdom.)
If we take that metric: who views us as the best ally or the top threat, we reached a limit to growth peak during the first Bush term around the Iraq War in those who view as a top ally, and we’ve been declining ever since. Despite President Obama being personally popular, he was still largely nativist and retrenching the US to focus on local issues other than climate change. This is understandable, everyone was looking inward after the Great Recession. But the trend of more countries viewing the US as a threat continued through his administration and then really accelerated under President Trump, who didn’t share President Obama’s high foreign approval and exacerbated already strained relations both by policy and personal style.
Impeachment, in this regard, won’t move the needle on this trend. It’d be like the Republicans holding a national investigation committee on other Republicans, important to Republicans but to non-Republicans not too interesting unless it resulted in significant change. Given his propensity to aggravate countries and break norms, and the possibility of a war with Iran or North Korea, I don’t see many hopeful trends of reversing these top ally/top threat designation trends in 2020. Bottom line – I anticipate more countries will view us unfavorably at this time next year.
Contingencies to this is that everyone loves the person who’s going to protect them from the bad actor. If Russia, Iran, Turkey, China or other regional hegemons make bold moves and the US counters, that could improve global standing, especially with those most directly affected. But right now, only China is in the sphere of threatening areas of US interest, while Russia, Iran and Turkey seem to be combing over areas the US has, or would like, to forget: Middle East, Northern Africa, Ukraine etc.