Sunday, July 10, 2005

From the world's largest democracy to the world's second largest democracy 

Mirror, mirror on the wall, who's the most pro-American of them all? The answer, via Powerline:
"Fully 71% in India express a positive opinion of the United States, compared with 54% three years ago," the [Pew Global Attitudes Project] survey says. Favorable opinion of the US in India was higher than any of the countries surveyed, including Canada (where it declined from 72% three years ago to 59%) and the United Kingdom, where it dipped considerably from 75% to 55%. Indians also had the most favorable opinion of the American people - 71% compared to 70% in Britain, 66% in Canada, 65% in Germany, 64% in France, 61% in Russia and 43% in China. The survey was conducted among 17,000 people in the US and 15 other countries from April 20 to May 31.

A healthy majority of Indians view Americans as "inventive" (86%), "hard-working" (81%) and "honest". Fewer than half associate the negative traits "greedy" (43%), "violent" (39%), "immoral" (33%) and "rude" (27%) with Americans.
If you want to find out more, read this excellent recent "Foreign Policy" cover story by Anne Applebaum, "In Search of Pro-Americanism" which looks at who likes the US and why (sneak preview: Filipinos and Poles like America, too). Both India and Philippines have their domestic war on terror problems, which would likely make them more sympathetic to the US, but that's not the whole story. India, which only fifteen years ago was a Soviet-friendly non-aligned statist mess, has a growing economy and growing middle class. As Applebaum argues, countries with large "aspirational" class - i.e. those who want and are getting ahead in the world thanks to globalization and free market - tend to have a more favorable view of America. Writes Applebaum:
They... matter, or should matter, to the United States. These people... are America's natural constituents. They may not be a majority, either in the world or in their own countries. But neither are they insignificant. After all, pro-Americans will vote for pro-American politicians, who sometimes win, even in Europe. They can exert pressure on their governments to support U.S. foreign policy. They will also purchase American products, make deals with American companies, vacation in the United States, and watch American movies.
I wonder what the State Department is doing about all this?


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