What the hell, international community? Here we go, using the politically-saleable term “offshore balancing” to propose an alternative to invading and occupying Middle East countries, where we do things like protect Persian Gulf shipping lanes with our Navy — you know, the sealanes from which Gulf oil is exported? The ones that are like the economic carotid artery of the planet? And now you don’t appreciate that, either.
Via Abu Aardvark, WorldPublicOpinion.org commissioned a poll on international attitudes toward U.S. bases in the Persian Gulf and found remarkable levels of global opposition. Energy-sucking Hong Kong is 59 percent against it. Taiwan, of all places, is 45 percent against it. The frigging Ukraine, which sometimes acts as if it wants to be the 51st state, is 56 percent against it. From their press release:
Majorities opposing US naval bases in the Gulf are highest in the Middle East: Egypt (91%) the Palestinian Territories (90%), Turkey (77%), Jordan (76%) and Azerbaijan (66%). The only countries where majorities say US naval bases in the Gulf are a good idea are the United States (70%), Nigeria (60%—including 54% of Nigerian Muslims), and Kenya (53%).
Interestingly, the question wasn’t polled in any Persian Gulf country besides Iran. So I asked the poll’s research director, Clay Ramsay, why that was, and he explained that his firm seeks partner polling-firms in each country that it would like to pose questions in, and for the current round of questioning — which are not given to the poll firms ahead of time — it wasn’t able to partner with polling firms in any Gulf Cooperation Council countries.
What about Iran? You may notice, if you click through the links, that you don’t actually get an Iranian breakdown on the question. That’s because the question wasn’t really asked the same way in Iran. Ramsay emailed me an April 2008 survey his partners conducted — it’s a PDF, viewable here — that shows 65 percent of Iranians wanting the U.S. out of the Persian Gulf. Not exactly the same thing but fairly similar. And unsurprising.
Still, this is pretty surprising overall. The U.S. naval presence in the Persian Gulf isn’t welcome to most people. Well, who’s stepping up to take over protection of the shipping lanes, hmm? Who wants to be globocop?
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