We’re really #1!

American exceptionalists are always claiming that the US is the greatest nation in the world and the best at practically anything that matters. Unfortunately, the rest of the world does not see it in the same way and marvel at how deficient we are in areas like health care, social and economic mobility, infrastructure, public services, and other quality of life measures.

But there is one measure where the US is seen by the rest of the world as clearly #1. It is in answer to the question: Which nation is seen as the greatest threat to world peace? If you only consumed US media, the chances are you would think that the winner of this title would be North Korea or Iran or Russia or Venezuela or Syria but you would be wrong.

In their annual End of Year poll, researchers for WIN and Gallup International surveyed more than 66,000 people across 65 nations and found that 24 percent of all respondents answered that the United States “is the greatest threat to peace in the world today.” Pakistan and China fell significantly behind the United States on the poll, with 8 and 6 percent, respectively. Afghanistan, Iran, Israel and North Korea all tied for fourth place with 4 percent.

So there we are, the global leader in something.


  1. Brian E says

    I believe the US is global leader in military spending too! And then incarceration of population is a strong suit, not sure if you’re numero uno. Just pointing out that the US is world leader, or a leader in many fields. Many strings to your bow.

  2. says

    The US leads the rest of the world in military spending -- we spend as much as all of them combined. Note, I didn’t hew to the national lie that it’s “defense” spending. In today’s military environment, there is no “defense” — it’s all offense. The US military is entirely about “force projection.” That’s Versailles On The Potomac’s code for “offensive warfare” (something our leaders declare democracies never do. How telling!)

    What gave me a clue about this was a few years ago I was invited to a friendly pistol-shooting match with some Swiss friends of a friend. All well and good. Over beer afterward we got to talking about “defense” and one of the Swiss, who was a Colonel in the defense forces, said something that changed my entire world-view. Basically it was: “you can tell what an army is for by how its logistics are set up.”
    Me: “What do you mean?”
    He: “For example, if our leaders told me tomorrow, to attack France, I’d ask them, ‘how am I supposed to get there? Lufthansa via Frankfurt?”
    I am rarely speechless but that was one of the times. If you look at the US military it is entirely oriented toward getting killing power into someone else’s space and delivering death elsewhere. If you look at Swiss military, they have all the mountain road-passes mined with deeply buried collapsing charges and tele-guided remote-controlled anti-tank and anti-air missiles. They have fixed defenses that are designed to cost an attacker an appalling butcher’s bill, but they don’t have tank transporters (their tanks are already where they need to be) and aircraft refuelling for long-range bombing strikes (they only need to bomb the survivors of whatever tried to come through the mountain pass) They don’t have the gear to construct and secure airports in faraway places but they have all of the runways of their airports mined with deep wire-controlled cratering charges… In case, you know, the Americans try to land on them without proper clearance and carrying weapons.

    The rest of the conversation was kind of a replay of the Mitchell and Webb sketch, “are we the baddies?”

  3. Brian E says

    Marcus, how would a country like mine, the vassal state of Ozstralia, be able to have a defense force without the capability to fly troops/tanks/logistics at least 3000km? We have bases in or near Darwin and Cairns, which makes sense. But if you’ve seen a map, you’ll note that those cities are far apart and….wait, I’ve got it. It would require, assuming we had no intelligence and the US pacific fleet were disinterested, planes to fly miliary to the Kimberly or even Nullabor. But that isn’t to disagree with your point, so much. Australia, is spending money that is needed in infrastructure like hospitals and universities to by planes that don’t fly from the US so we are fully integrated into the US futures preemptive defensive military strikes. And we’re gonna buy shitloads of Japanese subs because trans-Pacific-(non)-free-trade agreement means we’re integrated with the Japanese when they drop the defense only posture an we all go yee-ha against china and hello hell. It’s a beautiful thing the military-industrial-neo-liberal thingy we’re part of, wait, they call it democracy, spreading peace and globalization.


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