• By The Financial District

Americans Lose Trust In Military As China Strengthens: Poll

Majority of Americans view China as the biggest national security threat to the US even as trust in their own military declines, the Reagan Institute’s annual National Defense Survey showed, Andrew Eversden reported for Breaking Defense.


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The poll found that 52% of Americans see China as a top threat, up from just under 40% in February this year (the 2020 survey was delayed due to Covid-19.) Just 14% of respondents said Russia was the biggest threat.


Fears about the Chinese military come amid alarms from top US government officials about the rising power’s investment in emerging technologies like artificial intelligence, ongoing threats to Taiwanese sovereignty, and a test of a fractional orbital bombardment system (FOBS) that deployed a hypersonic glide vehicle.



“So there we see kind of an alignment of sorts between where the American people see threats challenges … and where national security policy experts, of course, for a number of years now have identified China as a pacing threat,” said Roger Zakheim, director of the Reagan Institute.


The survey interviewed 2,523 people across the country between Oct. 25 and Nov. 7 and has a margin of error of 2%, according to the institute.


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The poll shows that just 40% of Americans place a “great deal” of trust in the US military, down from 70% in November 2018 and dropping 11% since February. Asked for the first time about the reason for their declining trust, the survey found that “seems to be more about a general negative sense than a predominant or precise reason,” though 13% cited faulted political leadership.


Overall, the poll shows an American public questioning the US’ role in the world. Forty-two percent said the US should be “more engaged and take the lead,” down from 51% in February, while 30% said it should be “less engaged” up from 27% in February. Meanwhile, about one-fifth said US engagement should depend on the scenario, up slightly from earlier this year.


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Interestingly, 41% of respondents said they believed the greatest threats to the US are internal, with just 25% arguing that the biggest threats are external — down 10 points since February. While the public questions US involvement in the world, the 62% of respondents said they support the military’s overseas bases.



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