The world speaks: ISIS and climate change are the leading security threats
August 3, 2017
• Concern about cyberattacks, world economy also widespread
• Americans fear cyberattacks more than climate change, survey finds
It’s one thing to read the polls about what Americans think, but now the opinions of much of humanity have been sorted by the nonpartisan Pew Research Center in a massive worldwide survey.
People worldwide identify ISIS and climate change as the leading threats to national security, according to the new Pew Research Center survey.
That is not quite true for the U.S., where ISIS is the number one fear followed by cyberattacks from other countries. Global clime change ranks as third among Americans.
The survey asked about eight possible threats. While the level and focus of concern varies by region and country, ISIS and climate change clearly emerge as the most frequently cited security risks across the 38 countries polled, Pew says in its report Thursday.
ISIS is named as the top threat in a total of 18 countries surveyed – mostly concentrated in Europe, the Middle East, Asia and the United States. A substantial number of these countries have endured deadly terrorist attacks claimed by the Islamic militant group.
In 13 countries, mostly in Latin America and Africa, publics identify global climate change as the topmost threat. It is the second-ranked concern in many other countries polled.
Cyberattacks from other countries and the condition of the global economy are named as major threats by global medians of 51 percent each. Cyberattacks are the top concern in Japan and second-highest concern in places such as the U.S., Germany and the UK, where there have been a number of high-profile attacks of this type in recent months, Pew says.
People in Greece and Venezuela view the health of the international economy as the leading threat to their countries, perhaps reflecting these nations’ economic struggles in recent years.
Many countries surveyed in the Middle East and Latin America name economic turmoil as their second-greatest concern.
The influx of refugees, which was of particular concern in Europe in 2016, is seen as a major threat by a median of 39 percent across the 38 countries. It is the top threat in only one country, however: Hungary.
Globally, a median of about one-third view the power and influence of the U.S., Russia or China as a major threat. America’s influence is a top concern in Turkey. And in South Korea and Vietnam, eight-in-ten or more name China’s power and influence as a major threat. Meanwhile, among the countries surveyed, fears of Russia are most acute in Poland.
Results for the survey are based on telephone and face-to-face interviews conducted under the direction of D3 Systems Inc., ORB International, Princeton Survey Research Associates International, Kantar Public UK and Voices! Research & Consultancy. The results are based on national samples, unless otherwise noted.