Americans who know least about Ukraine, most want U.S. to use military force

Can you locate the country of Ukraine in the world map below?

Click map to enlargeworld map

Here’s a hint:

The southernmost part of Ukraine is the Crimea peninsula (that recently was annexed by Russia). The peninsula juts out into the Black Sea.

If you correctly located Ukraine where the red star is in the map below, you are among a very select minority of Americans — 16% or one out of every six Americans.

world map Ukraine

That was the finding of three political scientists: Kyle Dropp of Dartmouth College, Joshua D. Kertzer of Harvard University, and Thomas Zeitzoff of Princeton University.

As they reported in The Washington Post of April 7, 2014, the trio conducted a national survey on March 28-31 on what action Americans wanted the U.S. to take in Ukraine. The respondents were also asked to locate Ukraine by clicking on a high-resolution world map (see below).

Where's Ukraine

As you can see from the above map, there are Americans so ignorant that they actually think Ukraine, a former republic of the Soviet Union, is in Africa or Australia or South America or, worst of all, in the United States of America!

Here are the survey’s findings:

  • About one in six (16%) Americans correctly located Ukraine, clicking somewhere within its borders.
  • Most thought that Ukraine was located somewhere in Europe or Asia.
  • The median respondent was about 1,800 miles off — roughly the distance from Chicago to Los Angeles — locating Ukraine somewhere in an area bordered by Portugal on the west, Sudan on the south, Kazakhstan on the east, and Finland on the north.
  • In general, younger Americans tended to provide more accurate responses than their older counterparts: 27% of 18-24 year olds correctly identified Ukraine, compared with 14% of 65+ year-olds.
  • Men tended to do better than women, with 20% of men correctly identifying Ukraine and 13% of women.
  • Interestingly, members of military households were no more likely to correctly locate Ukraine (16.1% correct) than members of non-military households (16% correct).
  • Self-identified Independents (29% correct) outperformed both Democrats (14% correct) and Republicans (15% correct)
  • College graduates (21% correct) were more likely to know where Ukraine was than non-college graduates (13% correct), but even 77% of college graduates failed to correctly place Ukraine on a map.

Most disturbing of all is this finding:

Ignorance about Ukraine is correlated with aggressiveness toward Ukraine.

The less people know about where Ukraine is located on a map, the more they want the U.S. to intervene militarily.

As Dropp, Kertzer, and Zeitzoff put it: “the further our respondents thought that Ukraine was from its actual location, the more they wanted the U.S. to intervene militarily. Even controlling for a series of demographic characteristics and participants’ general foreign policy attitudes, we found that the less accurate our participants were, the more they wanted the U.S. to use force, the greater the threat they saw Russia as posing to U.S. interests, and the more they thought that using force would advance U.S. national security interests.”

This clearly is not a situation where ignorance is bliss. Rather, when the citizens of a democratic republic are willingly ignorant, they become prey to demagogues. As Thomas Jefferson wrote in his 1787 letter to Edward Carrington:

“If once they [the people] become inattentive to the public affairs, you and I, and Congress, and Assemblies, Judges, and Governors, shall all become wolves.”

~StMA

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14 responses to “Americans who know least about Ukraine, most want U.S. to use military force

  1. Reblogged this on Fellowship of the Minds and commented:
    God help and protect us from the willfully ignorant.

    Like

  2. On coming home from work tonight I happened across a CBC program discussing US education standards, and how much HS especially has slipped behind other nations. The main areas were geography, history, and Political Science.

    The commentator had just published an analytical book that demonstrated the feral gubbmint pushed for high tech education as long as it contributed to the US space effort, but once the flag was planted on the moon, the emphasis was dropped in favour of couch potato type laid-back, no-brainer crapola, so we got a nation of dumbed down people, hamburger flippers who don’t question what the MSM feeds them.

    And here we are, and so it goes…. It’s your judgement call now.

    Like

  3. When I was in school, we studied Geography as a separate subject. Now, it’s lumped together with Everything in Social Studies. It’s not like it used to be. It’s sad and tragic. It’s no wonder we have so many college educated adults who know nothing and they’re supposed to be our future leaders. Scary!!!

    Like

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  6. Why or how can we help Ukraine when we (USA) can’t even protect itself from the enemy within?
    Do you know your enemy?
    4gfc.wordpress.com may have a ragtag few but at least we know who the enemy is!

    Like

  7. I recall, some 60 years ago, my father was standing in line at the Post Office. The guy ahead of him was trying to mail a package to Switzerland. The clerk told him, “You can’t mail anything to Switzerland; Switzerland doesn’t exist any more. Some other country took it over – Sweden, I think.”

    Then during the start of the first Gulf War, I was trying to explain the difference between Arabs (Iraq)and Farsi (Iran). . My boss, an Air Force officer, said, “Hey, they’re all ragheads.” I think his head would have exploded if I had mentioned the Kurds.

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  8. Proof that ignorance is bliss and the situation could become very bloody indeed. if the fools had their way. Sadly, you cannot fix stupid.

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  9. O.K., class, now that you know where Ukraine is (and it is not your fault that your educational system did not teach you), do you know what the US is doing there? And why? It’s not your fault that our MSM and government did not tell you. Congratulations for you’r enow following a reliable source of information.

    Like

  10. Thank you StMA for this interesting post. I had an idea where Ukraine was, but I had to look it up.

    Like

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