Tuesday 14 Aug 2018 | 09:01 | SYDNEY
Tuesday 14 Aug 2018 | 09:01 | SYDNEY

Americans and the world


Fergus Hanson


17 June 2009 11:35

I'm currently working on preparations for this year's Lowy Institute poll and in reading up on other surveys came across some interesting results. One of which would seem to apply to Anthony's observation yesterday that the dodgy Iranian election will mean 'there will be a lot more ammunition for critics of Obama’s desire to reach out to the Iranian leadership diplomatically.' 

A poll from the Washington Post last year found there is a fair amount of public support Obama can draw down on when it comes to engaging with distasteful regimes. Seventy-seven per cent of Americans polled said the President 'should be willing to meet with leaders of foreign countries that are hostile toward the United States because talking can improve relations and avoid confrontation.'

Another result I thought was intriguing given some of the stereotypes of Americans came from a PIPA survey back in 2004 (notably a bad period in the Iraq war). Asked to choose whether 'the US should use its power to make the world be the way that best serves US interests and values' or 'the US should coordinate its power together with other countries according to shared ideas of what is best for the world as a whole', 83% of Americans chose the latter option.

In a Pew poll around the same time, 49 per cent of Americans said US foreign policy should 'strongly take into account the interests of its allies' and only 37 per cent that  it should be based 'on the national interest of the US' (statistically identical results to a 2001 poll) . I wonder how many countries would be as generous?