Saturday, December 18, 2004

Europeans On The USA

This post finishes the poll analysis in the previous post (and touched on one post before) - with the last two poll questions of interest in the latest Eurobarometer poll (pdf).

Where are the weak and strong Euroatlanticists?

The question on what role the USA plays in the fight against terrorism had some (to me at least) surprising results. I wasn't surprised that the "positive" percentages fell significantly in most countries; nor that in many countries "positive" had only a relative majority over "negative" and "neither" (Denmark, Finland, Sweden, Estonia, Latvia, Slovakia, Hungary, Malta; and among candidates Bulgaria). Nor was I surprised about the strong "negative" majorities in Greece and Cyprus (the most anti-American countries outside the Middle East), and "positive" absolute majorities in the usual suspects Britain (55%), The Netherlands (51%, after 59% last time), Poland (55%, after 63% last time); and candidate country Romania where I know neoconservativism found an European foothold, and that in all major cliques of the elite (66%, after 74% last time).

But the Czech Republic and Lithuania stand out as the lands of real War On Terra enthusiasts: the percentage of those who think the USA plays a positive role in the fight against terrorism rose from 61 to 67% resp. 56 to 61% in six months. I am baffled - I apparently haven't followed some major events in those countries.

On the other hand, asked what role the USA plays regarding peace in the world, "negative" opinions dominate, with the above three exceptions: in Romania "positive" beats "negative" 53:25 (tho' after a crushing 61:15), in the Czech Republic only 47:30, in Lithuania 43:25. But as for the usual suspects: in Poland, now the ratio is 30:40 (after 40:34), in the UK 32:44 (after 40:37), in The Netherlands, 31:50 (strong shift from 45:34).

While not the "negative" dominance, but its strength was a surprise for me in the case of Slovenia: "positive" beaten 22:61 on the WoT issue, 13:70 on the peace issue. (In my opinion Slovenia was the most West-European-like among the candidate countries, but I saw poll after West European poll which showed low or least willingness to admit it into the EU - apparently, polled people knew almost nothing about it, and could only erroneously link it to "Balkan Wars".)

8 Comments:

At 7:50 PM, Blogger Meaders said...

The great advantage with the "war on terror", or - as Eurobarometer puts it - the "fight against terrorism", is that it contains so many assumptions. Ask UK citizens about the US's effects on "world peace", and they say it is "negative"; turn the question around, and suddenly the US has a "positive" influence in "fighting terror". As long as that trick can be performed, the "war on terror" will maintain its role as an ideological cosh in the West.

 
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