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Getting tough with the dragon? The comparative correlates of foreign policy attitudes toward China in the United States and UK

Scotto, Thomas J. and Reifler, Jason (2017) Getting tough with the dragon? The comparative correlates of foreign policy attitudes toward China in the United States and UK. International Relations of the Asia-Pacific, 17 (2). pp. 265-299. ISSN 1470-4838

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    A large body of research suggests mass publics are capable of thinking coherently about international relations. We extend this body of research to show that domain relevant postures - in our case, more abstract beliefs about foreign policy - are related to how tough of a line representative samples of US and UK respondents want their governments to take toward China. More specifically, we utilize a unique comparative survey of American and British foreign policy attitudes to show broad support for toughness toward China. Beliefs about the use of the military and attitudes regarding globalization help explain preferences for tough economic and military policies toward China. In the two countries, the relationship between general foreign policy outlooks and the positions citizens take is robust to the addition of a general mediator that controls for the general affect those surveyed have toward China. Finally, the strength of the relationship between these abstract postures and specific preferences for a China policy are different across the countries.