Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Threat Assessment- According to the Public

           Accordingto a recent poll, an alarming number of Americans believe that Russia poses a long-term military threat to the United States.  More specifically, this poll revealed that 60 percent of Americans think Russia and their military is a long-term threat, while 14 percent see Russia as an immediate security threat to the United States.  This is a drastic change from just ten years ago when more than half of those living in the U.S. claimed that Russia posed no significant threat at all to the United States and its citizens. 
            Surprisingly However, when Americans were asked about the conflict in Syria, more than half said that the situation was not a threat to the United States, but maybe will be in the future.  Additionally, the survey said more (23 percent), thought the situation poses a more immediate threat, and a bit less (16 percent) claims that Syria poses no threat at all.
            So why are more American's concerned with Russia rather than Syria?  Some say that Russia's tensions with the United States have worried American citizens because of the Russian airstrikes in Syria that were partly seen as Vladimir Putin's attempt to support Bashar-al-Assad instead of weakening ISIS.
            Keeping this in mind, the fear of ISIS and the uncertainty as to which side Russia is on has sparked a fear of Russia that has been lingering since the days of the Cold War.  It can also be speculated that the extra worry by Americans regarding Russia is because of the Cold War mind-set that forever altered the way the United States has dealt with foreign policy and national security.  Although a bit far-fetched, it would be interesting to do another poll with a set of questions asking about the Cold War and to the extent to which the person's knowledge about that time period may have affected their answers from the first poll.  Regardless, the American perspective over the U.S. situations with Syria and Russia are important because policy-makers tend to cater towards public desire even if their knowledge on the situation may be mediocre at best.

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