9.16.2005

friends and neighbours

Here's something ALPF brought to my attention. (Just like old times, eh?) In an annual Harris poll, Americans were asked how they feel about a list of countries. The scale ranges from "close ally" at one end to "unfriendly and is an enemy" at the other.
In this year's survey, Great Britain, Canada and Australia continue to lead the list as the countries perceived to be our closest allies, followed by Israel and Japan. . . .

Great Britain still holds a very special place among U.S. adults as almost three-quarters (74%) think of them as a close ally. Canada (48%), Australia (44%) and Israel (41%) receive high marks but they are quite distant from those received by Great Britain.
In 1997, 73% of Americans surveyed felt Canada was a close ally. This year that number was down to 48%. I can only think this is the result of war propaganda.

I remember when we had our fingerprints taken for the FBI check for our Permanent Resident application. We went to a local police precinct. When we said we needed the fingerprints for emigration to Canada, the officer helping us said, "Canada? They didn't help us in the war, you know." He said it in a cautionary tone, like, are you sure you want to go there...?
Germany and France, countries that for many years had been among the United States' closest allies have now slipped in the eyes of U.S. adults. France, the country which was most outspoken in its opposition to the Iraq war, slipped from eighth place in 2002 to 17th place last year and has improved slightly to 16th place this year. Fully 41 percent of U.S. adults think of France as less than friendly.

Germany, which was almost as strong in its criticism of the United States and the war in Iraq, fell from sixth in 2002 but has returned to a more respectable 10th place this year though a quarter (24%) of U.S. adults still think of it as less than friendly.

The countries which the largest number of people see as "not friendly" or worse are China (53%), Pakistan (53%), France (41%) and Colombia (41%).
The Coalition of the Bribed and Stupid would also explain the jump in favorable opinion of the UK, and of course, the drop in Americans' opinion of France.

I think what the survey shows is the way in which the mainstream media is presenting images of these countries - the relative favorable or unfavorable light they're portrayed in. Most Americans don't know anything substantial about any of these places.

Survey results here.

18 comments:

James said...

"Canada? They didn't help us in the war, you know." He said it in a cautionary tone, like, are you sure you want to go there...?

We did help with the attempt to get Osama bin Laden "dead or alive", and it got us four of our soldiers shot by a US pilot, and no OBL to show for it.

Come to us with a war worth helping with, and we'll help, just like we always have.

RobfromAlberta said...

Come to us with a war worth helping with, and we'll help, just like we always have.

But only if the UN says it's okay.

Lone Primate said...

But only if the UN says it's okay.

Hopefully it won't ever be an issue!

RobfromAlberta said...

Great Britain still holds a very special place among U.S. adults as almost three-quarters (74%) think of them as a close ally. Canada (48%), Australia (44%) and Israel (41%) receive high marks but they are quite distant from those received by Great Britain.

I think it's interesting that good old dependable Australia, a country that slavishly follows America into every war it can (even Vietnam) still ranks lower than Canada. I think the key is not only that you have to support the war effort, but you have to provide a lot of support. Those few hundred Aussies that fought in Iraq just didn't register in the American consciousness.

L-girl said...

Those few hundred Aussies that fought in Iraq just didn't register in the American consciousness.

Right. And (I'm assuming) no one ever mentions them on CNN or Fox. Which means most Americans don't know about them.

Lone Primate said...

Those few hundred Aussies that fought in Iraq just didn't register in the American consciousness.

Yeah, remember all those people who, at the start of the war, told us for that Canada not to go was going to hurt our image with the US? So an FBI agent posed a pointed question at one of our immigrants, no Canadian soldiers have died for nothing in Iraq, and we're still generating a huge trade surplus. Boy, I think we made the right call.

James said...

But only if the UN says it's okay.

That's one of the ways we determine if it's a war worth helping with.

RobfromAlberta said...

That's one of the ways we determine if it's a war worth helping with.

All it takes is one veto. China, Russia, France, Britain and the US all have one.

Lone Primate said...

All it takes is one veto. China, Russia, France, Britain and the US all have one.

...Hey, great! We'll never have to go to war again!

Nobel Peace Prize for Rob! :)

RobfromAlberta said...

Yay for me!

The really interesting scenario comes up if one the permanent members of the UNSC ever invades Canada and then vetoes any resolution allowing us to shoot back.:D

L-girl said...

Scary!

RobfromAlberta said...

Indeed. Good thing we have the Yanks.

Anonymous said...

"Most Americans don't know anything substantial about these places."??? Well, most of these places, including Canada, don't know anything substantial about the US, getting their views from Hollywood or their own slanted medias.

L-girl said...

Well, most of these places, including Canada, don't know anything substantial about the US, getting their views from Hollywood or their own slanted medias.

That's not really so. The average Canadian, like the average European, knows a lot more about the US than the average American does about Canada or European countries. A quick look at the media in each respective country - at the amount of international news, unrelated to the country of origin - shows that.

In general, the Canadian media is much less slanted and much more objective than its US counterparts.

In any case, saying "they don't know anything about us either" isn't a striking affirmation of Americans' knowledge. Your rebuttal amounts to "nyah nyah".

Anonymous said...

My rebuttal is a "stiking affirmation" of the truth based on personal experience. I've been to Canada and Europe and seen their news and yes I'm afraid it is biased. Also, many Canadian and European views of the US that I ran across were ridiculously laughable ie. a jumbled mixture of their news medias, Hollywood and MTV ie. we're either obese or look like Pamela Anderson Lee, we live in a mansion or a trailer, we all carry 20 guns in our SUV's and pickups, we only eat at McDonald's and when we're not looking for blacks to lynch we spend our spare time praying to Jesus. Sorry, but many don't know much about the US, but as a matter of fact, unless a person, regardless of nationality lives for awhile in a country, they don't really know it.

L-girl said...

Ah well, your personal experience is quite different than mine.

Including hanging around blogs waiting to argue anonymously.

Anonymous said...

You are hanging around the blog you created argueing, well disagreeing and just because you and I disagree doesn't mean argueing. I'm just killing a little time here reading these blogs, that's all. Anyway, what I wrote above about non-American perceptions of the US, while exaggerated, do contain truth and a LOT of Americans, not just me found similar views. Well, au revoir.

L-girl said...

My point was that you are doing it anonymously. That strikes me as cowardly.

Comments are emailed to me. I don't have to hang around to read them. You, however, have to stick around to see if there is a response.

Your first comment did seem argumentative. Perhaps you didn't intend it that way.