Canada and the United States share one of the longest borders in the world and the longest peaceful, undefended border. With so much talk about the Middle East whenever people discuss gas prices, not many Americans realize that Canada is actually our single largest foreign supplier of oil. Canada and the United States have the biggest trading relationship on the planet, and we are their number one tourist destination. Friendship aside, national pride eventually rears its head and comparisons ensue about which country is best. In sheer economic powerhouse terms, the U.S. takes the top spot with our massive economy, but in at least one way, Canada has been ranked number one in the world above all other countries; national reputation.
The Reputation Institute has come out with their annual list of nations around the world that are the most highly regarded in general by people of other nations and Canada has come out on top. This organization solicited opinions from nearly 50,000 people living in the world’s 55 wealthiest nations and found that Canada was the most admired nation followed by Norway, Sweden, Switzerland and Australia rounding out the top five. One interesting aspect of their survey is that they also looked at where a nation’s residents ranked their own country and compared this with where the rest of the world put them. People in the United States seem to think of ourselves as the sixth best country in terms of reputation while we finished 22nd according to others around the world.
It is not surprising that the U.S. is not close to the top on such a list. Our good name around the world has certainly taken a beating from the Snowden revelations about how much we spy on other nations, even allies, and some of our conservative hawk politicians vocal musings about who to attack or bomb next. Given what might be called our overly healthy ego in this country, the most surprising thing is that Americans in general do not consider ourselves number one on such a list. One result that is not surprising is the huge gap between perception of national reputation internally as opposed to externally in less free and more jingoistic countries. Russia leads the pack in terms of the divide between self-image and worldwide image where their residents say they are third but they are 52nd on the list according to the accumulated opinions of other nationalities.