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Assessing American Power: Defence and Security Survey 2012

Commentary, 24 October 2012
Americas, Europe, Pacific, Middle East and North Africa
RUSI's third annual survey of its defence and security community assesses the role and place in the United States in the world. Published during the US presidential election campaign, the survey takes stock of the Obama presidency and the proespects for US foreign policy.

American flag smallIn early October 2012, 1,456 individuals from the defence and security community were asked by YouGov-Cambridge a series of questions about the United States, its position in the world and related security questions ahead of the US presidential election.

This survey was conducted to offer an international perspective on United States foreign policy from members of a British think tank. While Americans will attentively listen to how the two presidential candidates will manage China and deal with Iran, the rest of the world may well assess incumbent Barack Obama's promise to improve the United States global reputation. 

The findings have been compiled into the RUSI Defence and Security Survey 2012.

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Highlights

American Power: Still on Top

  • 84% think the US will be the world's leading power in 2016

Barack Obama: Rhetoric and Reality

  • 54% consider President Obama's relations with Russia have not changed since 2009
  • 28% believe that President Obama has improved relations with the Middle East and North Africa, versus 34% who say he has worsened relations and 32% who say he has made little or no difference to relations with the region

 Obama Scorecard

China

  • 85% believe that China will become more important to the US over the next four years, compared to 27% for Russia or 19% for the European Union
  • 69% believe that China's economic growth model is unsustainable

 Who is Important to the USA?

Iran: Options and Caveats

  • 77% support use of cyber-warfare to undermine Iran
  • 80% are in favour of increased economic sanctions on Iran
  • 59% oppose bombing enrichment and other facilities thought to be related to an Iranian nuclear-weapons programme

Al-Qa'ida

  • 69% believe that Al-Qa'ida has grown weaker since 2009
  • 46% feel that the threat to the US from terrorist attacks is unchanged since the beginning of the Obama Presidency

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