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A Special Series: What the World Thinks of US

NBC News speaks with citizens from around the globe, asking the question, 'What Does America Mean to You?'

What does the rest of the world think of the United States?  

More than three and a half years since President Barack Obama’s election as the first African-American president and over 10 years since the 9/11 attacks – how do people perceive the United States and its role on the world stage?

Msnbc.com teamed up with our NBC News colleagues in over 10 countries around the world – from China, Thailand, Pakistan, Afghanistan, South Africa, Israel, the Palestinian territories, Egypt, Iran, and Germany, to the U.K. – to check the pulse on current perceptions of America’s global stature ahead of our annual Independence Day. 

Not surprisingly, views were mixed. 


In Pakistan, the United States has become synonymous with drone attacks; in China, American innovation is praised, but the idea of the U.S. as the “world police” is slammed. 

Similar to recent findings by the Pew Research Center in their Global Attitudes Project, long-held perceptions about the U.S. being the world’s economic powerhouse are being challenged by China.  

For instance in South Africa, many of the people our NBC News team spoke with in Johannesburg’s Soweto neighborhood noted China’s growing economic influence in South Africa and the region, but the United States was still seen as a model of racial harmony and praised as the “land of the free.” 

As you get ready to fire up the barbecue and celebrate the 4th of July, see stories all this week from NBC’s News international reporting team including Chief Foreign Correspondent Richard Engel, Ali Arouzi in Iran, Ayman Mohyeldin in Egypt, Amna Nawaz in Pakistan and many more. 

Share your thoughts about our series on Twitter using #AmericaMeans 

Stories in the series: 

How I see America, from a former Gitmo prisoner

Bye, bye, GI: Deep impact for many Germans as US troops downsize

Post-revolution Egypt to US: Stay out 

Iran's dentist to the stars offers views on US

For many Pakistanis, 'USA' means 'drones' 

One man's mission: Promote Chinese patriotism in the face of Western onslaught

In South Africa: 'My head says China is number one, my heart says America'

Not all Thais are Gaga about America

Family moves from the Bronx to Jerusalem, but US remains land of 'liberty and freedom'

Palestinian: US supports 'an apartheid system that is suffocating us

Afghans are 'no different from any American