There has been some pretty hot and scary geo-politics in recent times, particularly the focus on the relationship between the United States and North Korea.
Alan Parkinson (aka @GeoBlogs) alerted me to a recent survey conducted by the New York Times that gathered views from citizens concerning military strategy, sanctions and the like.
One of the questions asked citizens to identify the position of North Korea on a world map – and the responses were (to me, at least) quite frightening.
1,746 people were asked to place North Korea on a map, and only 36% managed to get it right. Interestingly, males managed a 45% success rate, against females who achieved 27%. The most accurate age group was the over 65s, with a 48% success rate.
However, the main thrust of the survey revealed some interesting results connected to citizens’ spatial awareness. It showed that respondents who could correctly identify North Korea tended to view diplomatic and non-military strategies more favorably than those who could not.
They also viewed direct military engagement – in particular, sending ground troops – much less favorably than those who failed to locate North Korea.
The largest difference between the groups was the simplest: Those who could find North Korea were much more likely to disagree with the proposition that the United States should do nothing about North Korea.
Americans’ inability to identify countries is not new. A Roper survey in 2006 found that, in the midst of the Iraq War, 6 out of 10 young adults could not locate Iraq on a map of the Middle East. Also, about 75% could not identify Iran or Israel, and only half could identify New York State.
How would UK citizens shape up with a similar test?
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