The Current Discussion:A new poll finds widespread mistrust of world leaders. Are trustworthy national leaders a thing of the past? If not, who's an exception?
Mistrust in national leaders may be a healthy thing. One possibility is that the media is doing its job – examining and questioning the state of affairs. In a world reeling from the Iraq war, genocide in Sudan, skyrocketing oil prices, acute food shortage and a global economic downturn, it’s not surprising that a new international poll finds people mistrust today’s leaders. These leaders have failed to resolve these problems.
In the poll, Russia’s Vladimir Putin and China’s Hu Jintao fair better than many of their counterparts. Both of them are bosses of authoritarian states where the media is under their control. Their images are carefully honed. Criticism of their leadership can lead to arrest. Foreign correspondents are kept at bay, unable to get a close up look at the inner workings of their leadership. Their citizens voiced strong support for them but when combined with overseas’ responses, only 32 percent expressed confidence in Putin and 28 percent in Hu. That’s better than the 23 percent who say they believe in Bush - but not by much.