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Views on the United States and China
The Pew Research Center recently conducted one of its vast surveys, this one with over 37,000 respondents in 39 countries from March 2 to May 1, 2013. The other day they published their findings on global attitudes and it’s as much about trade and business as politics.
“Publics around the world believe the global balance of power is shifting. China’s economic power is on the rise, and many think it will eventually supplant the United States as the world’s dominant superpower.
“However, China’s increasing power has not led to more positive ratings for the People’s Republic. Overall, the U.S. enjoys a stronger global image than China. Across the nations surveyed, a median of 63% express a favorable opinion of the U.S., compared with 50% for China.
“Globally, people are more likely to consider the U.S. a partner to their country than to see China in this way, although relatively few think of either nation as an enemy. America is also seen as somewhat more willing than China to consider other countries’ interests. Still, both of these world powers are widely viewed as acting unilaterally in international affairs.
“And the military power of both nations worries many. China’s growing military strength is viewed with trepidation in neighboring Japan, South Korea, Australia and the Philippines. Meanwhile, the Obama administration’s use of drone strikes faces broad opposition – half or more in 31 of 39 countries disapprove of U.S. drone attacks against extremist groups.”
“Chinese investment in Latin America and sub-Saharan Africa has increased significantly over the past decade, and views toward China are largely positive in both regions....
“America enjoys a soft power advantage over China among Latin Americans and Africans. American scientific and technological achievements, ways of doing business and popular culture are embraced by many....
“Since the 2008 financial crisis, perceptions about the economic balance of power in the world have been shifting. Looking at the 20 nations surveyed in both 2008 and 2013, the median percentage naming the U.S. as the world’s leading economic power has declined from 47% to 41%, while the median percentage placing China in the top spot has risen from 20% to 34%.
“This trend has been especially apparent among some of America’s closest allies in Western Europe. Today, for example, 53% in Britain say China is the leading economy; just 33% name the U.S. Roughly six-in-ten Germans (59%) say China occupies the top position, while only 19% think the U.S. is the global economic leader (14% say it is the EU).
“Many believe China’s economic might is growing, but the U.S. is still generally seen as the world’s leading economy in Latin America, Africa and in much of China’s own backyard. More than six-in-ten in Japan (67%), the Philippines (67%), and South Korea (61%) name the U.S. as the leading economic power....
“Two-thirds of the Chinese believe their country either already has or someday will supplant the U.S. Americans are divided: 47% say China has or will replace the U.S., and 47% say this will never happen. American opinion has shifted significantly since 2008, when only 36% said China would become the top global power and 54% believed it would never replace the U.S.”
Wall Street History returns in two weeks.