The fighting between the Islamic State and the Iraqi government is seen as the greatest threat to world peace out of current international crises, though Democrats narrowly see Ukraine as the greater threat
2014 has been a year when long-running problems flare up into crisis. This summer's headlines have been dominated by clashes in Gaza that have killed thousands, the annexation of Crimea by Russia and the potential for war with Ukraine and the onslaught by the Islamic State (formerly known as ISIS) against the Iraqi government and prompted another round of US military intervention in Iraq. Each of these crises pose particular challenges to the United States and the world, a century on from the last time that a regional crisis threw the entire globe into four years of bloody conflict.
The latest research from YouGov shows that the current fighting in Iraq is viewed by the American public as the greatest threat to world peace. When asked the rank the three ongoing major international crises, 40% of Americans said that the fighting between the Iraqi government and the Islamic State is the greatest threat to world peace. 31% said that the fighting in Gaza is the greatest threat, while 29% said the same about Ukraine.
Asked what they care most about, 40% again put the fighting in Iraq at the top. While 31% say that the fighting in Gaza is the greatest threat to world peace, 38% of Americans say that they care most about Gaza. Only 23% of Americans say that they care the most about what is going on in Ukraine.
Which crisis you view as the greatest threat to world peace is affected by your party affiliation. Republicans (45%) and independents (44%) tend to identify the expansion of the Islamic State as the greatest threat. Democrats narrowly identify the crisis in Ukraine (35%) as the greatest threat, something only 17% of Republicans agree with.
Interestingly, while the Gaza conflict was the second most likely crisis to be seen as the greatest threat to world peace, it was also the crisis most likely to be seen as the smallest threat to world peace. 38% of Americans said that it was the smallest threat, compared to 35% who said the same about Ukraine and 26% who said the same about Iraq.