Some foreign affairs experts have likened Ukraine to Taiwan. Others argue they are completely different. Given the current crisis with Russia, such comparisons are inevitable. But geopolitics and policy aside, public opinion in the United States may be just as important to gauge American willingness to deploy troops in the event of a hot war over Taiwan. A new poll by YouGov, an international data and analytics group, finds that a majority of Americans (55 per cent) think sending US troops to defend Ukraine is a bad idea, and especially so among Republicans (62 per cent). Only 13 per cent say it is a good idea. Opinion is split on sending troops to Ukraine to help, but not to fight: 33 per cent of Americans favour the idea, while 34 per cent oppose. Other policy options to help Ukraine are more amenable. This includes deploying more troops to allied eastern European countries, with 52 per cent supporting and 15 per cent opposing. Meanwhile, one in two Americans support imposing sanctions against Russia. US forces Moscow and Beijing into marriage of convenience By contrast, a similar survey released last August by the Chicago Council on Global Affairs finds that a slight majority of Americans (52 per cent) favour sending US troops to defend the self-governing island of Taiwan if China invades. This is the highest level ever recorded in the council’s surveys dating back to 1982. Interestingly, Republicans (60 per cent) are more likely to support US troop deployments to Taiwan’s defence than Democrats (50 per cent) and independent voters (49 per cent). This is a clear reversal of Democrats and Republicans towards Ukraine. If these polls are anything to go by, average Americans know and care more about Taiwan than Ukraine. In the YouGov survey, one in four Americans cannot say whether Ukraine is an US ally or enemy. China wins by making fewer fatal mistakes than US Americans also have a better understanding of policy options towards Taiwan. Sixty-five per cent support the island’s inclusion in international organisations while 53 per cent favour a formal US alliance with Taiwan. On the all-important question, 69 per cent support US recognition of Taiwan as an independent country. That’s a scary thought for Beijing. Comparing polls is always problematic, but they may still be indicative: Ukraine is not Taiwan so long as the average American is concerned. Whatever action and reaction Russia and the US end up realising over Ukraine will not be a good guide to how Washington will act or react over Taiwan.