Thursday, June 15, 2006

Popular Autocracies

Two data points: First, it seems that in some countries lots of people are positive to the idea of Iran having a bomb. Matthew Yglesias:
One interesting result of the latest Pew Global Attitudes survey (PDF) is the high level of Muslim support for the Iranian nuclear weapons program. Pluralities in Egypt and Jordan and a majority in Pakistan say they want to see Iran get the Bomb. That's not opposition to American military intervention in Iran, that's people actually favoring Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons on the merits. Thirty percent of Indonesians and 23 percent of Turks are also on board.
Secondly, the Chinese people are wild about their government:
Out of 15 nations, only three were happy with current conditions, and two of those just barely -- Egypt (55 percent) and Jordan (53 percent). Then there was China, where a whopping 81 percent of the 2180 people polled professed themselves "satisified." That was a marked improvement over a year ago, when 72 percent said they were satisfied, and nearly double the response (48 percent) from 2002.
Of course, that turns out largely to have meant "urban, wealthy China". Ooops.

Still, it points to an interesting fact. Even though Jordan, Egypt, and Pakistan all have good reasons to not want Iran to have the bomb, given regional rivalries, the idea of Muslims rebalancing the technological divide with the Americans - and more generally, the west - is nonetheless extremely popular.

And the popularity of the Communists among the Chinese wealthy class - the same people who are supposed to be pushing for democracy and freedom, according to the plan - also shows that the liberal theories of politics still need some major tinkering.


Westacular said...

Of course, Iran does not officially have a nuclear weapons programs.

ChinaLawBlog said...

The survey on China is, as you note, severely flawed. I see it as the equivalent of surveying home owners in a wealthy American suburb and extrapolating from that.

Westacular said...

Given China's size and regional diversity, and the relative inaccessibility of the rural interior (particularly when it is in the government's interest to obstruct it), I wonder just how difficult it would be to do a proper random sampling in China.