Ukrainians have lately been subjected to a barrage of propaganda and speechifying, especially from Americans. From John McCain’s end of the American political spectrum (“the destiny you seek lies in Europe”) to Victoria Nuland’s (“the United States stands with the people of Ukraine”), they have appeared in Kiev to encourage Ukrainians to sign up for the EU association. Obviously these two believe that Ukrainians agree that Moscow is a hostile troublemaker and not the destiny they seek and that the USA is their friend and standing with them. Or something like that.
We have an poll that sheds a little light on how the world really regards Russia and the USA. For some years WIN/Gallop International, an association of some of the biggest opinion polling companies in the world, has conducted an End of Year survey. For 2013, surveys were run in 65 countries with a total sample of about 66,000. The country-by-country results may be found here. The eighth question asked in each country was: “Which country do you think is the greatest threat to peace in the world today?”
The results are quite interesting. Overall 24% of the world’s population named the USA as the greatest threat, well ahead of second-place Pakistan at 8%. Russia was so far back in the running, it wasn’t mentioned in the summary reports.
54% of Russians named the USA as the greatest threat to peace. The anti-Russia mob will of course spin this as ineluctable proof of Russia’s eternal hostility (number-one geopolitical foe and all that) but one consideration alone should hold them: Putin did, after all, prevent an American military operation in Syria that, based on the Libyan time line of 226 days, would still be bombing away right now; Russians have heard a great deal about that diplomatic achievement. So it shouldn’t be surprising that after that (and Libya and Iraq, NATO expansion, missile defence and all the rest) Russians might feel that way. By the way 3% of Russians named Russia itself, in fifth place behind China, Iraq and Syria.