According to a survey by the New York Times, only just over a third of Americans actually know where North Korea is, despite it being constantly in the news and its ongoing hostilities toward the US.
The Times, with Morning Consult, found that of 1,746 American adults who were asked to identify North Korea is on a world map, 64% could not pinpoint it, with some placing it in Australia, Russia, China and India.
Here’s the map, with the blue dots highlighting the wrong locations picked by Americans. The more intense blue areas indicate more people believed that to be where North Korea is.
The findings recall a study in 2006 at the height of the Iraq war, when six in 10 young adults were unable to locate Iraq on a map of the Middle East. Furthermore, the same study by Roper found that some 75 percent failed to identify Iran or Israel, and only 50 percent could identify New York state.
So most Americans are ignorant of the world outside their country (and within it)… not a massive revelation. But the survey also found that those who did correctly identify the Communist dictatorship, tended also to regard nonmilitary strategies more favorably than those who could not find the country on the map.
In other words, those Americans who are ignorant of where another country is, don’t tend to care about having peaceful relations with that nation.
By contrast, those who were able to pinpoint North Korea, on the whole, believe that economic sanctions, pressuring China to exert more influence, and utilizing cyberattacks are better solutions than direct military action.
The Times notes:
Geographic knowledge itself may contribute to an increased appreciation of the complexity of geopolitical events. This finding is consistent with – though not identical to – a similar experiment Mr. Dropp, Joshua D. Kertzer and Thomas Zeitzoff conducted in 2014. They asked Americans to identify Ukraine on a map and asked them whether they supported military intervention. The farther a respondent’s guess was from Ukraine, the researchers found, the more likely he or she was to favor military intervention.
In addition, the survey found that those who know where North Korea firmly believe that the provocations of its government cannot be ignored.
A further particularly interesting finding was that on average, Republicans, particularly men, were more likely to correctly locate North Korea than Democratic men.
Furthermore, Republicans were found to be more likely in favor of practically all of the diplomatic avenues proposed by the researchers.
‘Progressive’ Democrats, on the other hand were more likely to think military options are favorable.