30 Countries Where They Really Dislike Americans
In each of the 30 countries on this list, many citizens have poor opinions of Americans and American culture. Of course, that doesn’t always mean it’s not safe to visit. In most cases, they talk trash about Americans in the abstract but are perfectly polite when face-to-face with the real thing. Remember to use your best judgment when traveling and check with local embassies for safety advisories before hopping on a plane to anywhere.
Many countries in South America have harbored anti-American sentiments for decades, and Argentina is one where those feelings run particularly deep — not without reason. Even Barack Obama received a mixed reception when he visited Buenos Aires in 2016, although his willingness to acknowledge America’s role in Argentina’s political and economic troubles over the latter half of the 20th century won over many critics.
According to an international Pew Research Center survey, 44% of Argentines regard Americans unfavorably, but on discussion forums, locals assure hesitant American citizens that “as long as you are polite, the average Argentine is more than willing to talk and say hello.”
Do they really hate Americans in Australia? The data seems a little confusing. A 2017 Pew Research Center survey showed that 48% of Australians expressed an unfavorable view of the United States, but another 48% held a more favorable perspective.
One on one, the tone certainly seems friendly: “I’ve never (personally) known an American I haven’t gotten along with,” said one Reddit commenter. Most Australians do think the American preoccupation with gun ownership is a bit much, as noted by another commenter: “In Australia, even owning a revolver for home defense would make people think you’re a bit of a psychopath.”
In a recent Gallup poll, 52% of those surveyed in Bosnia and Herzegovina expressed a poor opinion of American leadership. That should come as no surprise, of course. One of the fastest-growing political movements in the country, Republika Srpska, is backed by Vladimir Putin and makes a point of thumbing its nose at the United States.
A recent study by the Center for Research, Transparency and Accountability suggests that part of the problem comes from the proliferation of “fake news” throughout Bosnia and other Balkan nations. Media reports are often unsourced and carry overt pro-Russian messages with anti-American undertones.
Although the occasional barbed comment drops from Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s lips, he still makes nice when necessary. However, back home, above the 49th parallel, the Canadian people are evenly split down the middle, with only a slim majority fostering an unfavorable attitude toward their southern neighbors.
A recent survey of American expatriates in Canada revealed that many of their coworkers had no compunctions about making anti-American comments in the workplace. In fact, the expats often felt pressured to be critical of American politics and culture, just to fit in and get along with their coworkers.
Chile is another South American nation with some good reasons to be hostile toward the United States. This is particularly true since the 1970s, when the American government worked behind the scenes to overthrow the democratically elected president, Salvador Allende, and stood by as military leader Augusto Pinochet seized power and started a 17-year reign of terror.
Although formal relations between the two nations are strong now, some of the old tensions remain. For example, the U.S. attempted to block former Chilean president Michelle Bachelet from receiving a human rights commission from the United Nations in 2018. In her first major public address, Bachelet was highly critical of America’s policy to separate parents and children seeking asylum in the United States from one another.
Approximately 56% of Costa Ricans disapprove of the political leadership in the United States, according to Gallup. It’s hard to determine whether that distrust extends to average American citizens, but it’s fair to say that American tourists are becoming more frequent targets for robbery, according to a recent warning issued by the American Embassy in the country.
A few years ago, one survey suggested that Costa Ricans resented the “inflated egos” of American visitors and accused them of “[thinking] the world revolves around them.” At the same time, however, respondents expressed admiration for other aspects of the American personality, calling them “very hard working,” “friendly,” and “sociable.”
Croatia is one of many nations where the people are highly critical of the current leadership in the United States, with more than half of the respondents in a recent Gallup poll expressing their disapproval of the U.S. The bitterness sometimes extends toward U.S. citizens as well: “The tourists that come here are just plain obnoxious and ignorant,” said one online commenter. (Some non-white Americans have also noticed a distinct strain of racism throughout the region.)
Although the State Department is no longer actively warning American tourists about particular threats to their safety in Croatia, travel experts recommend exercising the usual precautions, especially in nightclubs, where being “roofied” and then robbed is a common occurrence for both men and women.
According to a Gallup survey, up to 65% of respondents from Denmark disapproved of the leadership in the United States. But does that mean the Danish people are anti-American?
In 2018, several American colleges began warning students headed to Denmark to expect lots of questions from the locals about American politics. However, recent tourists who faced such interrogations swore they weren’t hostile — Danish people simply wanted to know what Americans really thought about their leadership, and they weren’t afraid to just come right out and ask.
Given the history between the United States and El Salvador, it’s not surprising that many Salvadorans hold a dark opinion of American leadership — 63%, according to a recent Gallup poll.
El Salvador’s recently elected president, Nayib Bukele, says he wants to restore good relations with the U.S. “It is an imperative for us,” he said in an interview following his meeting with the American ambassador.
Despite a long history of political alliance, France has long been known for a certain anti-Americanism. Just visualize the stereotypical snooty Parisian, looking down his nose at an American tourist’s bumbling attempt to speak French before responding in condescendingly perfect English. In recent years, however, the mood has become even more hostile.
In the summer of 2019, the French government created a new tax to collect 3% of revenues earned by companies who provide digital services within French borders. The move is expected to hit American firms like Apple and Amazon especially hard.
In late 2018, Der Spiegel was forced to admit that one of its correspondents, Claas Relotius, had fabricated parts of several stories, including one feature that purportedly described U.S. citizens in a town in rural Minnesota as gun nuts and bigots. The U.S. ambassador to Germany accused the magazine of being anti-American.
It might seem silly, but our formal relationship with Germany is particularly strained these days. Even the nation’s chancellor, Angela Merkel, took a thinly veiled jab at the U.S. in a commencement address at Harvard, urging graduating students to “tear down walls of ignorance and narrow-mindedness.”
Anti-American sentiment in Greece has remained strong since the late 1940s, when the U.S. government involved itself in the civil war between the Greek military and communist revolutionary forces. The rift has never fully healed, as demonstrated by Greece’s radical left party, Syriza, rising to power by promising to kick American troops out of the country.
In early 2019, Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras went against his party, and American troops began conducting joint military exercises alongside the Greek military. That didn’t sit well with voters, who turned against the Syriza party in early July and forced Tsipras to resign.
Guatemalans have long distrusted the United States — ever since the CIA’s involvement in a military coup against a democratically elected government in the 1950s. More recently, 54% of Guatemalans who took part in a Gallup poll say they disapprove of America’s political leadership.
The crisis may be coming to a head, as U.S. leadership appears to align itself with the notoriously corrupt president of Guatemala, Jimmy Morales. Recently, Morales was able to throw out an international commission that was investigating corruption throughout the country, including his campaign financing methods.
Italians have a sharply critical view of the U.S., with nearly three-fifths of those participating in a recent Gallup poll giving the nation’s leadership poor marks. However, as is often the case in Western European nations, the public’s attitude toward American citizens is usually more generous.
There are exceptions to that goodwill when it comes to tourists from the U.S., although it’s really not fair to single out Americans for running around with selfie sticks, not watching where they’re going and impeding traffic on entire streets. The sights in Italy are amazing, and every tourist gawks at the wonder of it all. Additionally, one observer notes how often Americans mispronounce “grazie” — the “one Italian word they’ve bothered to learn.” Ouch.
As in several nations in the Middle East, anti-American sentiment among Jordanians has a lot to do with U.S. support for Israel. So, naturally, it wasn’t surprising when protestors took to the streets in Jordan to shout, “America is the head of the snake,” after the U.S. announced it would move the Israeli embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem in 2017.
Protestors came out again in the summer of 2019 on the eve of a multinational economic conference organized by the United States. The conference was intended to establish a path toward peaceful relations between Israel and its Arab neighbors.
The relationship between the people of Lebanon and the United States has long been strained, with the terrorist organization Hezbollah at the heart of the conflict. In early 2018, during his brief stint as Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson claimed it was necessary to accept Hezbollah as part of the political reality in Lebanon, only to backpedal when his remarks were sharply criticized.
Two months later, his successor, Mike Pompeo, warned the Lebanese minister for foreign affairs that it was time “to stand up to Hezbollah’s criminality, terror and threats.” The implication that the U.S. expects Lebanon to clean up its own mess was clear, and many experts worried that the small percentage of Lebanese people who weren’t already hostile toward America would feel abandoned.
In the spring of 2019, Khalifa Haftar, the head of the Libyan National Army, was in the midst of his attempt to take control of that nation’s government when he received a diplomatic call from the U.S. Many believed that U.S. leadership was endorsing Haftar as his forces closed in on the capital city of Tripoli.
If someone hoped to gain the trust of ordinary Libyan citizens, backing Haftar would have been the worst possible choice. Haftar was viewed with deep suspicion due to the years he spent working with the CIA to overthrow Muammar Gaddafi.
Luxembourg is a small, landlocked country that plays a large role in European politics. Its capital, also called Luxembourg, is one of the four headquarters for the European Union, as well as the seat of the European Court of Justice. So when a prominent Luxembourger speaks out against the United States, it’s worth noting.
In May 2018, Jean-Claude Juncker, the former prime minister of Luxembourg and current president of the multi-national European commission, lashed out at the U.S. for its handling of the Iran crisis. Things had gotten so bad between America and its allies, he claimed, “we have to replace the United States, which as an international actor, has lost vigor, and because of it, in the long term, influence.”
It’s hard to say much about the attitude toward the United States in Malta beyond the recent Gallup poll, which showed that up to 59% of Maltese respondents viewed American leadership unfavorably. It’s a small country — just 475,000 people — that doesn’t make many headlines, so if they are broadly anti-American, they are certainly discreet about it.
Just five years ago, Malta made a big push for American tourist dollars. “American travelers spend more per day, and they don’t just come for a beach,” said a trade representative. “They’re interested in who we are.” One of the biggest obstacles to overcome, however, was the lack of a direct flight between the U.S. and the Mediterranean island.
Mexicans have particular reason to hate the U.S., considering that they have been portrayed as drug dealers and rapists by candidates on the campaign trail. Some observers feel an even broader wave of anti-Americanism may be on the rise, ready to undermine the progress made between the two nations in recent decades.
One way Americans could feel some pushback is on the economic front, as Mexico actively seeks out trade agreements with other countries around the world. “We need to turn our eyes to other markets and not depend so disproportionately on trade with the U.S.,” warns one government official.
The Netherlands is another one of those nations where they really don’t like the U.S. But why? After all, U.S. citizens have been visiting tourist destinations in the Netherlands for decades.
Recently, the citizens of Amsterdam have become fed up with tourists. Admittedly, the tourist problem isn’t exclusively a problem with Americans, but the city’s attempts to reduce the number of people who visit to see the tulips, wander through the red-light districts and sample the local cannabis will inevitably mean less outreach to the United States.
The Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus is a splinter state on the island of Cyprus. Only recognized diplomatically by neighboring Turkey, the “country” is subject to an international trade embargo, in which the United States takes part.
That’s probably one reason 61% of the Turkish Cypriot respondents spoke unfavorably of American leadership in a Gallup poll released in early 2019. The American government’s support for Kurdish rebels in Syria undoubtedly exacerbates those ill feelings as well.
If you take the word of the Overseas Security Advisory Council, “there is little anti-American sentiment in Peru,” except possibly among cocaine suppliers. Gallup pollsters, however, uncovered a slightly different story, as 54% of Peruvians surveyed expressed a critical opinion of the American government.
Of course, distrust of the government doesn’t necessarily imply a resentment of ordinary Americans, so you aren’t likely to face any overt hostility when visiting Peru. You should, however, be alert to the abundance of pickpockets and other thieves waiting to take advantage from the moment you get off the plane. American tourists are at significant risk of being robbed at gunpoint or knifepoint, even in broad daylight.
Although state television in Russia regularly mocks the U.S., the Russian people’s feelings towards Americans are much more ambivalent. A 2017 Pew Research Center survey reflected unfavorable feelings toward Americans in 52% of its Russian respondents.
However, numerous tourism-themed websites make a point of declaring that Russians do not, in fact, hate Americans, claiming it’s as much of a stereotype as the idea that Russians are all vodka-swilling alcoholics or that its cities are too dangerous and crime-infested. Scratch beneath the surface on discussion boards, though, and it’s not hard to find comments from Russians claiming Americans are both arrogant and naive.
Much of Eastern Europe has a strong distrust of American leadership. That sentiment runs particularly deep in Serbia, where 59% of respondents in a recent Gallup survey expressed a hostile opinion of the United States.
Russian disinformation campaigns flood the region with explicit anti-American bias. In one case, Congressional testimony made by an American general about the threat of Russian interference in Serbian politics was distorted so heavily that the Serbian defense minister accused the general of calling his nation a threat to Balkan stability.
The people of Slovakia have a negative outlook on American leadership, according to a recent Gallup poll, with more than 55% expressing their disapproval. It’s unclear, though, whether that feeling extends to ordinary American citizens.
Slovakia is certainly trying to make nice with the U.S. on the political level these days. U.S. leadership met with Prime Minister Peter Pellegrini at the White House in May 2019. Speaking to reporters, Pellegrini expressed his admiration for the U.S. and made a commitment to increase his nation’s contributions to NATO’s budget over the next three years.
As with scores of countries in Western Europe, Spain’s problems with the U.S. have spilled over onto all Americans, with 60% of Spaniards who participated in a 2017 Pew Research Center survey admitting to holding an unfavorable view of Americans.
Spanish disdain for the U.S. was exacerbated by what many saw as a callous U.S. response to the terrorist attacks in Barcelona in 2017. After the terrorist attacks, the flames of anti-Islamic rhetoric were fanned in the U.S.
Sweden, you ask? How can they not like Americans in Sweden? But, they’re so nice! Nevertheless, the Pew Research Center discovered that 53% of Swedish respondents had an unfavorable view of Americans when they conducted a global survey in 2017.
Some of that resentment might stem from a Fox News segment in 2017, in which Tucker Carlson and his guest tried to generate anger over Muslim immigration in Sweden. While the segment seemed inflammatory and unnecessary to many viewers, the sentiment caught on with a small population in the U.S.
In 2012, Islamic radicals attacked the American Embassy in Tunis, the capital city of Tunisia, smashing windows and throwing Molotov cocktails at the building. In the years that followed, the Obama administration attempted to strengthen its ties to the newly established democracy.
Lately, U.S. leadership has consistently sought to slash American aid to the Tunisian government. Congress has pushed back against these efforts, but the citizens of Tunisia have noticed. Less than half the respondents in a recent survey said they thought Americans were good people. Many were even willing to support violence against the United States.
The relationship between Turkey and the United States has been on the skids for some time. Erdogan recently authorized his government to buy a missile defense system from Russia — forcing the U.S. to impose economic sanctions.
Erdogan is driving a wave of anti-American sentiment in Turkey, where seven out of 10 people in a recent survey said they felt threatened by the United States. Political analysts worry that the missile deal may be the first step in a further alliance with Russia, as Turks — already conditioned by pop culture and drama to be suspicious of Americans — look for a new ally.