AFP: China, North Korea and Iran are seen by American opinion leaders as posing the “greatest danger” to the United States, a survey showed Thursday. WASHINGTON, Nov 17 (AFP) – China, North Korea and Iran are seen by American opinion leaders as posing the “greatest danger” to the United States, a survey showed Thursday.
There was no consensus as to which country represented the biggest danger, marking a change from a poll taken in the summer of 2001, when China was singled out, according to the Pew Research Center’s quadrennial survey of US foreign policy attitudes.
“The Iraq war and continuing threat of terrorism have dramatically affected the way opinion leaders and the public look at potential threats from other countries,” said a report by the independent opinion research group.
Four years ago, prior to the September 11, 2001 terror attacks on the United States, “there was broad concurrence, if not a consensus,” that China represented the greatest danger to the United States, it noted.
“Today, opinion leaders mention China, North Korea and Iran each about as frequently,” said the survey conducted in September and October 2005.
The poll also showed that when assessing specific threats to the United States, opinion leaders and the public expressed a high level of concern over the nuclear programs of North Korea and Iran.
“The general public generally regards both countries’ nuclear programs as worrisome,” it said.
Other possible international threats — including China’s emergence as a world power — triggered less concern, the Pew Center said.
“Influentials are deeply divided over whether China’s growing power represents a major threat to the US,” it said.
Looking into the future, many opinion leaders saw China and India, with their huge populations and rapidly expanding economies, as increasingly important partners for the United States.
“Pluralities in four of the eight opinion leader groups (surveyed) identify China as a country that will be more important to the US in the future, while pluralities in another three groups name India,” it said.
Underscoring the rising importance of Asia generally, foreign affairs specialists and security experts most often name India as a country likely to emerge as a more important US partner.
News media leaders cite China and India equally as often.
The survey also showed that more Americans saw the amount of American debt held by foreign investors as a major threat than a possible China-Taiwan conflict and other long-standing foreign policy concerns.