The Trump administration has repeatedly claimed that the US is “leading the world” with its response to the pandemic, but it does not seem to be going in any direction the world wants to follow.
Across Europe, Asia, Africa and Latin America, views of the US handling of the coronavirus crisis are uniformly negative and range from horror through derision to sympathy. Donald Trump’s musings from the White House briefing room, particularly his thoughts on injecting disinfectant, have drawn the attention of the planet.
“Over more than two centuries, the United States has stirred a very wide range of feelings in the rest of the world: love and hatred, fear and hope, envy and contempt, awe and anger,” the columnist Fintan O’Toole wrote in the Irish Times. “But there is one emotion that has never been directed towards the US until now: pity.”
In the past couple months I have personally been greeted with sympathy by Turkish and Kurdish restaurant owners when they learned I was from the US. It is definitely a sobering experience to receive sympathy for one’s land from someone who is without a country.