Voice

Who's the proudest country of them all?

The University of Chicago's National Opinion Research Center just released a cross-national survey to find who had the greatest degree of pride in their countries. Guess who did well? The results may partially surprise you:
Among 33 nations surveyed, the United States was the nation with the leading score in pride over specific accomplishments and Venezuela was the leading nation in the general national pride portion of the survey.... The researchers asked a series of questions related to general national pride that asked people to what extent they agreed with such statements as, ?I would rather be a citizen of my country than any other country in the world,? and ?Generally speaking, my country is a better country than most countries.? A second set of questions about national pride in specific areas, such as the nation?s achievements in science and technology, the arts, sports and political influence in the world. On the general pride measure, people in Venezuela had a score of 18.4 (out of a possible 25), while people in the United States had a score of 17.7. Other top leaders in that category were Australia (17.5), Austria (17.4), South Africa (17), Canada (17), Chile (17.1), New Zealand (16.6) and Israel (16.2). In the domain-specific category, the United States led with a score of 4 followed by Venezuela (3.6), Australia (2.9), Austria (2.4), South Africa (2.7), Canada (2.4), Chile (2.6), the Philippines (2.3) and Israel (2.3). The countries at the bottom of the list are generally established nations in Europe. ?It could be that those nations are experiencing a response to globalism, particularly among young people. Many identify as much as being Europeans as they do as being citizens of their own country. In some European nations, the concept of strong patriotism also has negative connotations,? Smith said. The bottom 10 nations in the survey, beginning with the last, were the eastern portion of Germany, Latvia, Sweden, Slovakia, Poland, the western portion of Germany, Taiwan, France, Switzerland, and the Czech Republic.
Click here to see the full paper. The paper distinguishes between the general pride and domain-specific measures as follows:
The domain-specific measure assesses positive feelings towards national accomplishments in specific areas, but is not overtly nationalistic, imperialistic, nor chauvinistic. The general national pride measure has a much harder edge to it..... [put] another way, the domain-specific, national pride scale is nationally affirming without being necessarily hegemonic, but the general, agree-disagree, national-pride scale places one's nation above other countries.
For a variety of reasons, I'm not surprised about the U.S. results -- they're pretty consistent with both the 1995/96 results and the "American exceptionalism" thesis underlying those responses. Venezuelan pride does surprise me a bit. General Social Survey director Tom Smith observed that the top two countries "formed their national identities through conflicts that bound their people together and created a national story that resonates with citizens." That could be it. Supporters of Hugo Chavez no doubt would credit his policies. Based on no scientific evidence whatsoever, I would posit that a key source of Venezuelan pride can be found here, here, and here -- though this factor appears to annoy UNESCO no end.

Daniel W. Drezner

More on CPA recruitment

In my TNR Online piece yesterday, I briefly referenced the fact that ideological litmus tests were used to screen out otherwise first-rate applicants to the Coalition Provisional Authority. I've heard this from multiple sources, including those who were eventually hired, but many were reluctant say anything for the record. The Washington Post story confirmed some of this. For a first-hand account, the following is reprinted from an e-mail I received from a former CPA employee who wishes to remain anonymous:

The staffing plan worked out by Reuben [Jeffery III, "a conservative but pragmatic former Goldman Sachs partner who had was a prominent contributor to the Republican party] and Jerry Bremer was to have these two [high level employees of Korn/Ferry International, an executive search firm] head up an HR staff seconded from the Army personnel office that would seek out high level civilians, without ideological bias, to assist in the rebuilding of Iraq. They were brought on with the knowledge of DoD/OSD but not the White House. The first week they arrived, Office of the White House Liaison (OWHL), headed by a man named Jim O'Beirne, found out about CPA's staffing plans. A turf war ensued. At one point, OWHL personnel told the two Korn/Ferry employees that they had to clear their desks and be escorted out of the building. Of course, Reuben intervened and nothing that dramatic happened. What did happen is that recruitment was reassigned from CPA to OWHL by OSD. The Korn/Ferry people were only to help interview and process candidates already screened by OWHL. I sat in the same room of cubes for several weeks watching this unfold, talking daily with the Korn/Ferry people, and observing the first interviews run by OWHL. OWHL hired retired military personnel, most of whom had run for public office as Republicans and been defeated in the 2002 electoral cycle, to staff its CPA recruiting arm. I observed one such individual, a retired Navy CMDR who lost a Virginia legislature race in 2002, question one applicant as to their stance on Roe v. Wade. I watched resumes of immensely talented individuals who had sought out CPA to help the country thrown in the trash because their adherence to "the president's vision for Iraq" (a frequently heard phrase at CPA) was "uncertain." I saw senior civil servants from agencies like Treasury, Energy, FERC, and Commerce denied advisory positions in Baghdad that were instead handed to prominent RNC contributors.

Now, let me be the first to say that a shared ideology should play a role in hiring decisions at some level. If an applicant was asked why s/he wanted to go to Iraq, and that person answered, "I want to expose the role of evil multinational oil companies in the exploitation of Iraqi resources," well, that person wouldn't make a terribly good CPA employee. Let me also say, as Kevin Drum pointed out previously, that the people who were hired to be CPA personnel have the best of intentions and appear to have spared no effort to rebuild Iraqi society. That said, how does a person's opinion towards Roe v. Wade possibly affect their ability to function in Iraq? This is a story crying out for further investigation. In the meantime, CPA employees who believe that this is an exaggerated picture of the hiring process should feel free to e-mail. I'll be happy to reprint what's relevant to the topic.

UPDATE: A claifying missive from my anonymous source:

I want to make clear that I never perceived that a pro-life stance was a necessary litmus test to work for CPA. That exchange was just an example of the type of ideological concerns I observed within CPA.... I want to reiterate how impressed I was in general at the level of commitment and skill in all the CPA personnel I met. I'm just disturbed that ideological reasons seem to have drastically narrowed the pool of committed Americans eligible to participate on this important endeavor.

Me too.