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Australians Fear USA

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    Our new nightmare: the United States of America By Tom Allard and Louise Williams http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article8398.htm 03/29/05 SMH - -
    Message 1 of 1 , Apr 5 12:55 PM
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      Our new nightmare: the United States of America
      By Tom Allard and Louise Williams
      http://www.informationclearinghouse.info/article8398.htm


      03/29/05 "SMH" - - Australians are as just as concerned about United
      States foreign policy as Islamic extremism and regard the US as more
      dangerous than a rising China, according to a new poll.

      The Australians Speak: 2005 survey, commissioned by the Lowy
      Institute for International Policy, found 57 per cent of Australians
      were "very worried" or "fairly worried" about the external threat
      posed by both US foreign policy and Islamic extremism.

      "We asked about a series of threats from the outside," said the
      institute's executive director, Allan Gyngell. "Most startling of
      all was the precise equivalence of Islamic fundamentalism and US
      foreign policy as a source of concern.

      "The question is whether this is a response to a particular
      administration or a broader cultural drifting apart."

      More than two-thirds - 68 per cent - said Australia took too much
      notice of the US in its foreign policy deliberations.

      The findings would not be welcomed by the Howard Government, which
      has railed against perceived anti-Americanism and emphasised the
      importance of the alliance as the US takes a more unilateralist and
      activist posture in world affairs.

      The Lowy Institute found that 72 per cent regarded the US alliance
      as very important or fairly important. But in another finding, the
      survey of 1000 people found respondents were strongly opposed to
      siding with the US over Taiwan should conflict flare between Taipei
      and Beijing.

      Mr Gyngell said he was also very surprised that China rated so
      positively. Only 35 per cent of respondents had concerns about
      China's growing power.

      "It's not that I thought Australians had a particularly bellicose
      view on China, but people see opportunities in China, both
      economically and strategically."

      Taiwan is an issue of acute sensitivity at the moment, with tensions
      escalating with the mainland after China's parliament rubber-stamped
      a decree warning the province of dire consequences if it declares
      independence. Asked if they had positive or negative feelings about
      a list of 15 different countries, institutions and regions,
      respondents rated the US only 11th, six percentage points ahead of
      Indonesia, which has traditionally been viewed as a threat by many
      Australians.

      Fifty-eight per cent of those surveyed viewed the US positively,
      compared with 94 per cent for New Zealand, 86 per cent for Britain,
      84 per cent for Japan, and 69 per cent for China.

      Fifty-one per cent thought a free-trade agreement with China was a
      good idea, compared with only 34 per cent for the US deal.

      Unfriendly nations acquiring nuclear weapons and global warming were
      considered more worrying than international terrorism.

      Asked about Australian foreign policy goals, most support came
      for "improving the global environment", with 75 per cent judging it
      to be "very important".

      Protecting jobs and strengthening the economy rated as high,
      followed by combating terrorism and preventing nuclear
      proliferation. Promoting democracy rated bottom.

      The poll had a margin of error of 3.1 per cent.

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