Thursday, September 15, 2005

America's Friends and Enemies - The Latest Poll Results

As I noted previously, a recent poll showed that many Europeans had a more favorable view of China than the United States, a somewhat surprising (and disturbing) result. A recent poll of the U.S. public shows no such friendliness toward China - quite the opposite. As the WSJ reports:

Nearly three-quarters of Americans now view Britain as an ally -- far more than for any other country -- down from the 80% who considered Britain a close ally in 2001, after the Sept. 11 attacks, but higher than Britain's ranking throughout the 1990s.

At 48%, Canada is seen as the next closest ally, though perceptions of Canada as an ally have been slipping in recent years from a high of 73% in 2001.

France, which for many years was among the U.S.'s closest allies, has been sharply lower in the ally rankings since 2001, when 41% saw the nation as an ally; this year it ranks 16th on the list, with only 17% seeing it as an ally. And while Germany, another long-time ally ranks 10th this year, nearly a quarter of Americans still think of Germany as less than friendly.

The article doesn't note some weird results at the other end of the spectrum. China is the country least likely to be seen as a close ally, but it is Pakistan that tops the list with 18% viewing that country as "unfriendly or an enemy". China comes in second with 15% viewing China as an "enemy" but this is indistinguishable from South Korea's 14%. Thus, the two out of the top three "unfriendly/enemy" countries in this list are, formally, close allies. Indeed, the U.S. even has a mutual defense treaty with South Korea and 50,000 troops stationed there. Very odd, indeed.

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