Sorting Some Nations As Friends Or Enemies

One needn’t venture far into the Great White North to discover that Canadians have soured on the U.S. in the past few years. And it turns out that the feeling is mutual. A Harris Poll asked Americans to categorize 25 countries in one of four ways: a close ally of the U.S., friendly but not a close ally, not friendly but not an enemy, or unfriendly and an enemy of the U.S. The “close ally” vote for Canada was regularly above 60 percent (and sometimes above 70 percent) during the 1990s and early 2000s. In the new poll, though, it has fallen to 48 percent, down a shade from last year’s 51 percent. Canada now ranks just slightly above Australia (44 percent) and far behind Britain (74 percent). Elsewhere in the poll, India’s “close ally” vote has been rising steadily, from 8 percent as recently as 2001 to 20 percent this year. Japan’s lackluster economic performance during the past decade seems to have restored it to some Americans’ good graces, as its “close ally” vote now stands at 30 percent, vs. 13 percent in 1993. France’s “close ally” tally gained a bit (to 17 percent this year from 15 percent last year), but is less than half what it was in the pre-Iraq-war days of 2000 (38 percent). It’s noteworthy that anti-French sentiment has remained durable even as American opinion has swung increasingly against the war in Iraq. The number of respondents viewing France as either unfriendly or an outright enemy stands at 41 percent. Only China and Pakistan fare worse by that measure, with an unfriendly-or-an-enemy vote of 53 percent each. The chart here gives the top of the class in the enemy-pure-and-simple category. We can speculate that South Korea is an innocent victim of respondents’ confusion about which Korea has been burnishing its axis-of-evil credentials of late. We’re happy to report that the Netherlands (home of Adweek’s parent company) is classified as an enemy by a mere 2 percent of the respondents, though another 13 percent regard it as unfriendly.