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Americans Increasingly See China as an Enemy

Three-quarters of Americans now view China as an enemy amid Russia's ongoing invasion of Ukraine, which nearly the same number fear could expand to involve the United States, a recent survey has found.
This time last year, 65 percent of Americans considered China an enemy. That number has risen to 75 percent, according to the Reagan National Defense Survey published on December 1, a poll of 2,538 U.S. adults conducted between November 9 and 17, and commissioned by the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and Institute.
Among those interviewed, 38 percent said China was a "strong enemy," while a plurality of 43 percent said it posed the "greatest threat" to the U.S., down from 52 percent a year ago. The same view of President Vladimir Putin's Russia as a threat rose from 14 percent in 2021 to 31 percent this year, the data showed.
The sentiment mirrored that of President Joe Biden's administration, which has classified Beijing as its "pacing challenge," while Moscow remains an "acute" near-term threat. However, more than half of those polled—54 percent—said the U.S. lacked a "clear strategy" to manage frayed relations with China.
The American public's concerns about President Xi Jinping's China were varied, but Chinese economic practices, including "technology theft," topped the list at 22 percent, followed by China's military buildup—18 percent—and its human rights record—17 percent. A majority, 54 percent, supported a reduction in U.S.-China trade, according to the numbers.
U.S. views on China have implications for Taiwan, too. Officials in Washington and lawmakers on Capitol Hill have discussed a number of timelines for a potential Chinese invasion of the democratically governed island claimed by Beijing. Analysts have proposed D-Days in 2024, 2027, 2035, and 2049, while many subject-matter experts say China's long-ruling Communist Party itself likely doesn't know when it would make a move.
Seven in 10 respondents told the Reagan Institute survey that Russia's actions this year would inspire "other authoritarian countries to invade their democratic neighbors," with the same number concerned about a Chinese attack on Taiwan in the next five years.
Roughly two-thirds of U.S. adults said they would support an increased U.S. military presence around the island to deter an invasion, while over half would also back more arms sales to Washington-backed Taipei. If an attack were to occur, however, 43 percent said they would support a defense of Taiwan using U.S. troops, up three points from last year.
"After learning that Taiwan is a democracy and the world's largest producer of advanced semiconductors, then [65 percent] say they are open to the idea of committing U.S. forces," the report said. Nearly seven in 10 respondents considered Taiwan an ally, up seven points.
Much of the U.S.'s attention remains on Russia and its aggression against Ukraine, which 76 percent of Americans considered an ally, up from 49 percent in February 2021, the Reagan Institute's findings showed. Unsurprisingly, more respondents also considered Russia an enemy than they did this time last year—up 17 points to 82 percent.
A majority, 57 percent, believed the U.S. should continue to support Ukraine, versus one-third of respondents who said the Biden administration should prioritize domestic issues. Nearly four in 10 felt America was supplying Ukraine with the "right amount" of aid, while roughly one-quarter either said the U.S. was doing too little or too much.
Some 74 percent were concerned that the Russia-Ukraine war could expand to NATO countries in Eastern Europe, triggering U.S. defense commitments, said the report, although support for the North Atlantic Alliance remained high at 60 percent, while 72 percent also backed Article 5.
Just over half of those surveyed—53 percent—felt the U.S. could win a war with a nuclear rival, while 22 percent said the opposite, and 24 were unsure. Among the respondents, 40 percent said America's greatest threats came from within, while 28 percent said the challenges were external.

Newsweek
Dec 6, 2022 14:46
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