Wednesday, September 7, 2005

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So how's the transatlantic divide going?

The German Marshall Fund of the United States -- in concert with Italy's Compagnia di San Paolo -- has just released the results of their latest transatlantic survey over at

Some of the more interesting results highlighted in the press release:

  • Interestingly, the nexus of President Bush’s foreign policy agenda — democracy promotion — is widely supported among both Europeans and Americans, but receives much higher marks from Europeans (74% EU9 vs. 51% U.S.). As to how to actually promote democracy, Europeans and Americans both strongly prefer soft-power options — only 39% of Americans and 32% of Europeans (EU9) support the use of military force.

  • Regarding what most worries Americans and Europeans, both Americans and Europeans’ cite economic downturn as the threat most likely to personally affect them. More Americans cite international terrorism as a likely personal threat than do Europeans (71% vs. 53%). Europeans see themselves as more likely to be personally affected by global warming (73% to 64% Americans). Across the board, Americans are more afraid of every threat asked, except global warming.

  • While 54% of Americans believe the partnership between the U.S. and EU should become closer (down 6 points from 2004), 55% of Europeans (EU9) believe the EU should take a more independent approach to security and diplomatic affairs (up 5 points).

  • Europeans differ on what being a superpower means: 26% of those that want the EU to become a superpower believe that the EU should concentrate on economic power and do not favor increased military spending, 35% value both military and economic power and are willing to pay for increased military spending.

  • “We found that, despite major efforts to repair relations, there is still a rift in how we view each other and the world," said Craig Kennedy, President of the German Marshall Fund. “Leaders on both sides of the Atlantic need to build upon areas where Americans and Europeans do agree, like democracy promotion, to pave the way forward for transatlantic relations."
  • Click here to view all of the topline results. One interesting finding that should temper concerns about a European desire for superpower status: when asked whether "a more powerful European Union should compete or cooperate with the US," 80% of Europeans in the big seven countries say "cooperate" -- and those numbers are higher in France and Germany. [Yeah, but don't forget to mention that only a bare plurality of Americians believe that a European superpower actually would cooperate--ed.]

    posted by Dan on 09.07.05 at 11:12 AM


    Cooperation is a good thing. The US pays for the military and does the bulk of the fighting and dying - the Germans man the war crime tribunals and incarcerates the Yankee war criminals afterward.

    Sounds good to me!

    posted by: Don on 09.07.05 at 11:12 AM [permalink]

    You mean like in the liberation of Kuwait when others reembursed the US for virtually all of the US costs of the war?

    Or do you mean like in Afghanistan where the Europeans are playing a major role and absorbing much of the expense?

    posted by: spencer on 09.07.05 at 11:12 AM [permalink]

    There is no question that we provided a military umbrella for Western Europe during the Cold War, guaranteeing their security and essentially subsidizing their economies because they could pursue lower military expenditures than would have been needed had the Western European nations had to face the Soviets alone. But, this arrangement was greatly to our advantage and proved to be one of the best investments ever made by the USA. In addition, during the last couple of decades of the Cold War, we had professional armed forces and many of the European nations continued to have mass conscription, which from a moral perspective is a much larger commitment than just spending more money.

    posted by: Roger Albin on 09.07.05 at 11:12 AM [permalink]

    This poll may be seriouly compromised in the aftermath of the hurricane crisis response.

    posted by: Robert M on 09.07.05 at 11:12 AM [permalink]

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