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Friday, November 18, 2005

Contradictory Surveys?

The FT reports this morning on the latest survey from the Pew Research Centre to the effect that:

"Some 42 per cent of Americans say the country should 'mind its own business internationally and let other countries get along the best they can on their own'"

"As the Iraq war has shaken the global outlook of American influentials, it has led to a revival of isolationist sentiment among the general public"

On the other hand Brad Setser points us to an Economist article which highlights the fact that:

"In America, China looms enormous in the public's fear of globalisation. According to a recent Harris Poll, four in ten Americans believe that China will be stronger than America within a decade, and most reckon the Asian giant will have a negative effect on the future of America's economy."

Perhaps I am alowing myself to be influenced by the fact that Brad's prime target in his post was how the 'China menace' perception might fuel an Asian interventionist policy from the Pentagon (itself financed by dollars lent by the Chinese themselves), but it does seem to me that the Harris poll would lead you to expect more not less intervention in the future.

Perhaps the way to square the apparent anomaly would be to imagine that it is perceptions of globalisation, and its advantages and disadvantages, which may be changing inside the US.