Americans View China as the United States’ Biggest Foe

For three consecutive years, Americans view China as the United States’ greatest foe on the world stage. When asked about who is the US’s greatest foe, 50% of Americans indicate that China occupies this role. In addition, 32% mentioned Russia as the greatest threat. North Korea fell at a distant third, hovering around 7%.

These results came from Gallup’s Feb. 1-23 World Affairs survey.  China’s position on this list stands out in how it is the longest consecutive period of time where large numbers of Americans have deemed a country as the US’s greatest foe. 

The Gallup poll noted that North Korea achieved the “highest level of consensus” on what country is the US’s biggest threat back in 2018, with 51% of Americans labeling it as such. 

In 2023, Russia came in second place on the greatest enemy list. The Russo-Ukrainian conflict has helped maintain Russia’s prominent place as a perceived threat among the American populace. The 32% of Americans viewing Russia as America’s #1 threat in 2023 is the same as the 2022 figure. 

As far as partisan breakdowns are concerned, Democrats are more likely to label Russia as the US’s greatest foe, with 53% labeling it as such. Democrats have viewed Russia as the country’s greatest threat in each of the past five years. A combination of the reports of alleged Russian interference in the 2016 elections and the present Russo-Ukrainian conflict have largely motivated Democrats to view Russia as the US’s primary foe. 

By contrast, the overwhelming majority of Republicans, 76%, see China as the nation’s biggest foe. In each of the past three years, China has been viewed as the number #1 enemy for America among Republicans. 

As for Independents, the majority are likely to label China, at 46%, with 32% labeling Russia, as America’s greatest adversary.

While China is a pernicious actor on the world stage, as witnessed by its trade practices and use of immigration as a political weapon, it does not merit a military conflict against it. Instead, Americans should get behind an America First agenda of immigration restriction and trade decoupling to contain China on a rational basis. 

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