Thursday, September 07, 2006


Atlantic Review points to a new survey by Transatlantic Trends conducted in selected European countries and the U.S.

Transatlantic Trends 2006 is a project of the German Marshall Fund of the United States and the Compagnia di San Paolo in Turin, Italy, with additional support from the Fundação Luso-Americana (Portugal), the Fundación BBVA (Spain), and the Tipping Point Foundation (Bulgaria).

To grab just one finding from the press release:

China threatening: When asked to rate their feelings of warmth toward China on a 100-point "thermometer" scale, Americans and Europeans rate China virtually identically (46 degrees to 45 degrees). But 38% of Americans, compared with 27% of Europeans, feel that the rise of China is an "extremely important threat" in the next ten years. In the United States, the largest percentage of respondents is more concerned by the threat posed by growing Chinese military power (35%), while in Europe, the largest percentage of respondents is more concerned by the threat posed by the growing Chinese economy (37%). Among Europeans, the highest perception of the threat of the Chinese economy is in France (53%), Portugal (52%), and Italy (51%). Within the United States, Democrats are more concerned about the economic (37%) than military threat (28%), and Republicans are more concerned about the military (42%) than economic threat (21%).

Considering the fact, that the U.S. has much stronger military ties than Europe with South Korea, Japan and Taiwan, the different perception of China does not come as a surprise. Apart from that, I don't like phone-conducted surveys.


Don said...

This was interesting but far from surprising, Marian. Speaking personally I don't see China as a military threat to the US.

Possibly a potential threat sometime in the nebulous future but an awful lot would have to happen for such potential to become real.

I read an analysis comparing the Cina-US relationship to that between Germany and Russia circa 1895. It's invalid in my view because the strategic situation the US faces is so much different than what Germany did, sharing land borders with a deeply hostile France and a superpower in the making (Russia). The US has interests in Asia but there is no credible direct threat to the US mainland from China.

The most serious direct threat to the US right now is a possible civil war or revolution in Mexico a la Pancho Villa. Either war or revolution seem unlikely but much more likly than a year ago. I'd rate the probability at no more than 10%. We might have to absorb a flood of refugees and defend ourselves from an incursion but the latter is nothing to worry much about.

Could China play on that? Perhaps - but I fail to see any profit in it for them. Unlike the Cold War the US and China are not automatic enemies. What is good for us is not necessarily bad for them, and conversely.

Europeans see China as more of an economic threat. I can understand the reasoning; it comes from globalisation. But I believe the 'threat' (such as it is) comes from low wages in Poland and the rest of the eastern EU countries far more than from China.

Mad Minerva said...

Very interesting. Thanks for linking so the rest of us can see too!