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    President Donald Trump speaks in the Diplomatic Reception Room of the White House, Wednesday, Dec. 6, 2017, in Washington

    Trump’s Unpredictable Agenda Driving Low Approval Ratings in Chile, Mexico

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    During US President Donald Trump's first year in office, his administration’s moves didn’t receive much approval on the international stage. In Latin America, Trump’s strategy of abrogating former US President Barack Obama’s achievements was especially unpopular with Chileans and Mexicans.

    According to a Gallup opinion survey of 134 countries conducted between March and November last year, the number of countries where a majority of people disapprove of the US leadership more than tripled from 15 countries in 2016 to a record 53 countries in 2017. The highest disapproval rating — 83 percent — was documented in Norway.

    Ironically, Trump recently voiced a desire for Norwegian immigrants to come to the US, instead of Haitian or African ones.

    Africa, however, was found to be Trump's most supportive region, with 11 out of 15 countries that participated in the poll expressing approval of US leadership in 2017.

    Among Latin American countries, Chile and Mexico, which also have the region's largest economies, showed the highest disapproval ratings — 74 and 72 percent, respectively.

    Guillermo Holzmann, Chilean political analyst and professor at the University of Talca, told Sputnik that the low ratings were primarily influenced by Trump's critical remarks on free trade agreements.

    "There are widespread concerns in Chile regarding Trump's unclear decisions on free trade," Holzmann said.

    He added that the US withdrawal from the Paris Climate Accord was fueling "serious concerns in government and civic circles advocating for joining the strategy, aimed to neutralize negative consequences of climate change." That, of course, adds to the growing number of those who disapprove of US policies. Overall, Holzmann said, there are disputes at the domestic level over allied obligations and agreements with the US that have been achieved in the past three decades.

    U.S. President Donald Trump points to a large Merry Christmas card on the stage as he arrives to deliver remarks on tax reform in St. Louis, Missouri, U.S. November 29, 2017
    © REUTERS / Kevin Lamarque/File Photo
    According to the political analyst, Chile immersed itself in the process of globalization and depends heavily on relationships with other countries; the country's work in the United Nations Security Council being the brightest example of that trend. Chile's foreign policy has always been focused on strengthening international ties, and within this framework the country's dealings with the US have always had a positive nature, Holzmann said.

    Meanwhile, Mexican political expert Armando Chaguaceda of the University of Guanajuato told Sputnik in an interview he wasn't surprised by Mexico's high rating of disapproval of the US administration, taking into account strong anti-imperialist sentiment in the country.

    "Mexico was deprived of a part of its territory in the 19th century, so it has a strained relationship with the US, even though it stabilized after the revolution in Mexico [1910-1921]. This, in a sense, explains anti-imperialistic sentiment in the country, but not anti-American," Chaguaceda said.

    According to Chaguaceda, the Trump administration's moves are exacerbating the situation as Trump's policies have a bad reputation due to the instability of his agenda, which directly affects Mexico, and which has earned him a record-low approval rating in the US. Trump's threatening to withdraw from NAFTA, which is strategically important for Mexico, is another factor, the expert said.

    Another important factor influencing the perception of the US in Mexico is Washington's policy on immigration.

    "At the same time, it is important to underline Mexico's admiration of a large part of North American population for its culture and civil society… that strongly manifested itself after Trump took office," the expert pointed out.

    Chaguaceda noted that although the US is a republic, the head of state is not the central figure of the political regime, therefore the civic society, major media outlets and Hollywood are free to criticize the president publicly, particularly on the internet. According to Chaguaceda, the current image of the White House is a combination of Trump's celebrity status, Twitter account, racism, xenophobia and the whole US establishment.

    The views and opinions expressed by Armando Chaguaceda, Guillermo Holzmann are those of the contributors and do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

    The views and opinions expressed in the article do not necessarily reflect those of Sputnik.

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