An Alliance? Anti-Americanism Korean Society

America: Now 16% Less Hated!

We have some more results for the OFK poll archive on South Korean anti-Americanism.

Koreans’ attitudes toward the U.S. are improving, according to a poll by Britain’s broadcaster BBC late last year. A survey of 17,457 people in 34 countries on U.S. influence in the international community shows that the number of positive respondents outnumbered negativists only in South Korea and Portugal.

Among 1,031 South Korean respondents, 49 percent showed a mainly positive attitude toward the U.S. The number of South Korean respondents expressing a mainly negative attitude fell 16 percentage points from 54 percent in late 2006 to 38 percent in the latest survey.

Among the 34 countries, 11 countries showed improved attitudes toward the U.S. Thirty-five percent of respondents worldwide expressed a positive attitude, up 4 percentage points from 31 percent in 2006. The number with negative perceptions of U.S. influence fell 5 percentage points from 52 percent in the previous survey to 47 percent.

Forty-four percent of overall respondents had negative attitudes toward North Korea while 23 percent were positive. Ninety percent of Japanese respondents and 77 percent of American respondents expressed negative views toward the North. Among South Korean respondents, only 17 percent were positive and 72 percent were negative. [Chosun Ilbo]

I’m still waiting to see a poll on how Americans’ views of our fair-weather allies have changed since it was our country that was attacked, and most (including South Korea) declined to make meaningful military contributions to assist our defense.

The problem with surveys like this is the extreme vulnerability of the Korean Street to being swayed by emotion. Unfortunately, moments of high emotion also tend to be moments of crisis when it’s important to know that your allies, especially their military officers, have your back. That’s why it’s still worrisome today to learn this, even four years after the fact:

Kim Choong-bae, president of the Korea Institute for Defense Analyses, disclosed a past survey of 250 KMA entrants to single out “the country’s main enemy” while serving as the military academy’s superintendent in 2004.

Kim was quoted by a newspaper as saying, “While the majority “• or 34 percent “• picked the U.S., 33 percent said they regarded North Korea as the main enemy.”

He said the result was unbelievable, stressing the respondents were those who were supposed to be military officers. The KMA did not make the result public during the Roh Moo-hyun administration, which ended last February. [Korea Times]

(ht: GI Korea). Roh Moo Hyun’s government, which seldom missed an opportunity to breed hostility toward America, suppressed those results, but I don’t doubt that they made plenty of Roh’s Taliban smile.

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