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A PROJECT OF THE GERMAN MARSHALL FUND OF THE UNITED STATES AND THE COMPAGNIA DI SAN PAOLO.

SUPPORT FOR THE PORTUGUESE SECTION OF THE SURVEY COMES FROM THE LUSO-AMERICAN FOUNDATION.
GMF Transatlantic Trends 2003 Partners

Methodology: Taylor Nelson Sofres (TNS Sofres) was commissioned to conduct the survey by telephone interviews
(CATI: Computer Assisted Telephone Interviews) in all countries except Poland, where lower telephone penetration
necessitates face-to-face interviews (CAPI: Computer Assisted Personal Interviews). In all countries, 1,000 women and
men, 18 years of age and older, were interviewed using a random digit-dialing technique. For the results based on the
total sample in each of the eight countries, one can say with 95% confidence that the margin of error attributable to sam-
pling and other random effects is either plus or minus 3 percentage points. For results based on the total European sam-
ple, the margin of error is less than plus or minus 1.4 percentage points. All Europe-wide figures are weighted by the size
of the country’s population. Comparative data listed in brackets comes from Worldviews 2002, undertaken by the
German Marshall Fund of the United States and the Chicago Council on Foreign Relations (Portugal was not included
in the Worldviews survey).
KEY FINDINGS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .3

I. FRIENDSHIP UNDER STRAIN . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4

II. PARTNERSHIPS RECONSIDERED . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7

III. WORKING TOGETHER OR GOING IT ALONE? . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12

IV. THE TRANSATLANTIC CHALLENGE OF MIDDLE EAST PEACE . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16

V. CONCLUSIONS . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .19

T R A N S A T L A N T I C T R E N D S 2 0 0 3 | 1
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Key Findings

IN THE THE WAKE OF THE IRAQ WAR, AMERICANS INCREASINGLY DESIRE


A STRONG EUROPEAN PARTNER, WHILE EUROPEANS WANT
TO RELY LESS ON THE UNITED STATES.

he transatlantic split over war in Iraq has under- sure to encourage a withdrawal from the West
T mined America’s standing with Europeans. In con- Bank and Gaza. However, Americans are much
more willing than Europeans to pressure the
trast, Americans voice a growing commitment to coop-
eration with a strong Europe. These findings are part of Palestinians and Arab states to stop suicide bomb-
Transatlantic Trends, a new comprehensive survey of ings and terrorism.
European and American public opinion. This study
• Both Americans and Europeans see U.S. unilateral-
explores how both sides of the Atlantic view the world
ism as a problem.
and their relationship to each other in the wake of the
Iraq war.1 The survey is a project of the German • Both view the United Nations favorably and want
Marshall Fund of the United States and the Compagnia to strengthen it, but Americans are willing to
di San Paolo. Support for the Portuguese section of the bypass the U.N. if required by national interest.
survey comes from the Luso-American Foundation. • Americans and Europeans are more likely to sup-
port military intervention if done under NATO or
Key findings of the survey include: U.N. Security Council auspices — the former con-
veys almost as much legitimacy as the latter.
• Europeans have grown more critical of U.S. global
• The largest percentage of Americans since 1947
leadership, while American support for a strong
wants the United States to play an active role in
European partner has increased.
world affairs.
• Americans and Europeans have similar views of
• Germany, the long-time American ally, now
threats, but different impulses on how to respond
expresses an unambiguous preference for Europe
to them.
over the United States.
• If North Korea and Iran acquire weapons of mass
• Europeans want to see the European Union
destruction, Americans are more likely than
become a superpower like the United States in
Europeans to support the use of force to disarm
order for the EU to cooperate better, rather than
these countries.
compete, with the U.S. However, the EU resists
• Despite different attitudes toward Israel, Europeans increased military spending.
and Americans are equally willing to apply pres-

1 Fieldwork was conducted between June 10-25, 2003 in eight countries (France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, and the
United States).

T R A N S A T L A N T I C T R E N D S 2 0 0 3 | 3
I. Friendship Under Strain

he transatlantic rift over the Iraq war was bitter INCREASED EUROPEAN DISAPPROVAL
T and public. While European governments were FOR BUSH ADMINISTRATION FOREIGN POLICY.
divided over the war, many public opinion surveys
showed that European publics were strongly united in One topic on which disagreement has grown since 2002
their opposition to war.2 One of the fundamental issues is the Bush Administration’s foreign policy; support in
this survey seeks to illuminate is the extent to which the the United States increased, whereas European disap-
disagreement over the Iraq war has soured transatlantic proval grew over last year.4 The one exception was
relations generally and affected public views of one Great Britain, where there was a slight upturn in
another.3 approval (although those registering approval remain a
minority). The similarity of critical responses in France
EACH SIDE PERCEIVES A GAP IN VALUES. and Germany was striking, as were the 20-point increas-
es in Italian and German disapproval. (see Figure 1-1)
In recent years, an intense debate has developed over
whether and to what extent a gap in world views has MAJORITY OF EUROPEANS THINK
developed that divides the two sides of the Atlantic. IRAQ WAR WAS NOT WORTH THE LOSS OF LIFE.
The “gap” thesis seems to be shared by the public at
large. When asked whether Europeans and Americans Transatlantic disagreement also surfaced over the ques-
have different social and cultural values, majorities on tion of whether the war in Iraq was worth the loss of
both sides of the Atlantic overwhelmingly agreed (83% life and other associated costs. While majorities in all
of U.S. and 79% of European respondents). Each side European countries answered “no,” (from 51% in Great
perceives a values gap, although it is not clear what this Britain to 81% in Germany and 84% in France), a major-
perception is rooted in. ity of American respondents (55%) answered “yes.”

2 See, for instance, the polls by Gallup International, Jan. 14-29, 2003, in 37 (including 19 European) countries, and by EOS Gallup in all EU countries, Jan.
21-27, 2003, for data before the war, and the poll by Gallup International/TNS Sofres, April 16-May 8, 2003, for post-war data for 45 (including 23
European) countries.
3 A word of caution: When evaluating the data, it is important to remember how sensitive these survey questions are to recent international events.
4 In the accompanying chart, scores for “approve” and “approve very much,” and for “disapprove” and “disapprove very much” were combined. If one
looks at the full breakout, one sees that polarization within the United States on this question has grown, because the number of those “approving very
much” and “disapproving very much” has grown relative to those “approving” and “disapproving.”

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DO YOU APPROVE OR DISAPPROVE OF THE WAY
U.S. PRESIDENT GEORGE BUSH IS HANDLING INTERNATIONAL POLICY?5
70% Great France Germany Netherlands Italy Poland Portugal Europe U.S.
Britain
60% 62% 60%
57% 58%

50% 53%
Approve

40% 40% 41%


37% 38%
35% 36%
30% 30% 30%

No comparative data available for Portugal


28%

20% 21%
15% 16%
10%

10%

20%
26%
30% 30%
34%
Disapprove

37%
40%
44%

50% 51%
57% 57% 56%
60% 62% 61%
64%
66%
70% 70%
74% 2002 Worldviews 2003 Transatlantic Trends
80% 82% 81% Approve Approve
Disapprove Disapprove
90%

Figure 1-1

These results are in line with other surveys conducted survey participants rate their feelings toward various
at roughly the same time on both sides of the Atlantic. countries on a scale of 0 to 100, with 100 meaning very
warm, 50 neutral, and 0 very cold. A considerable
EUROPEANS LIKE THE U.S. LESS, “Iraq” effect — i.e., fallout from the war in Iraq — is
WHILE AMERICANS LIKE THE EU SLIGHTLY MORE. indeed apparent.
Of the six European countries surveyed last year,
Given the disconnect between American and European public opinion in all of them is less favorable to the
publics on foreign policy and the Iraq war, one critical United States this year. The largest drop in warmth was
question is whether that discord has spilled over into recorded among French respondents (from 60 degrees
other aspects of the transatlantic relationship. One indi- in 2002 to 50 degrees in 2003); it is reciprocated by
cator is the so-called “thermometer” question, in which Americans’ similar cool feelings toward France (from 55

5 In Worldviews 2002, the question was: “How do you rate the G.W. Bush administration handling of the following problems? Would you say the
American administration handling of overall foreign policy has been excellent, good, fair or poor?”

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THERMOMETER READINGS –
NATIONS’ FEELINGS TOWARDS THE U.S. AND THE EUROPEAN UNION
100° 100°

90° 90°
2003 2002
80° 80° 80° Italy (84°)
2003 2002 75° Germany (67°)
70° 92° U.S. 70°
74° Portugal
61° Great Britain (68°) 73° France (75°)
61° Italy (68°) 71° EUROPE (70°)
60° 60°
61° Poland (65°) 66° Netherlands (70°)
57° EUROPE (64°) 63° Poland (60°)
neutral 50° neutral 50° 60° U.S. (53°)
56° Germany (63°)
55° Netherlands (59°) 57° Great Britain (59°)
40° 54° Portugal 40°
50° France (60°)
30° 30°

20° 20°

10° 10°

0° 0°

Feelings towards U.S. Feelings towards EU

Figure 1-2

degrees in 2002 to 45 degrees in 2003). Warmth of feel- affairs among European publics (see Figure 2-1, page 8).
ing toward the European Union (EU), in comparison, Less than a majority (45%) of European respondents see
increased somewhat among Americans (from 53 to 60 it as desirable for the United States to exert strong lead-
degrees) and remained relatively constant in Europe, ership in world affairs, down from 64% in 2002. In con-
except for a gain in the case of Germany (where the rat- trast, 80% of Americans, consistent with last year’s 79%,
ing went from 67 degrees up to 75 degrees). Among continue to see strong EU leadership as desirable.
Europeans, Americans feel warmest toward Britons While Europeans have grown more critical of U.S. lead-
(with a thermometer rating of 79 degrees), while ership, Americans continue to show support for strong
Britons, along with Italians and Poles, give the United EU leadership.
States a reading of 61 degrees.6 To sum up, Americans and Europeans are still
friends, but Europeans are more likely to be critical
MANY EUROPEANS SEE STRONG both of Bush Administration foreign policy in general,
U.S. GLOBAL LEADERSHIP AS UNDESIRABLE. and of the Iraq war in particular. The Iraq war appears
to have unleashed a stronger backlash effect on
Another possible consequence of the Iraq war is the European views of the United States than the other
drop in support for strong U.S. leadership in world way around.

6 Other public opinion research, notably the Pew Global Attitudes Project, suggests that the low point of European opinion toward the United States was
the Spring of 2003. For instance, according to Pew, in March 2003, 48% of Britons and 31% of French had a favorable view of the United States; by June
2003, when the fieldwork for this survey was conducted, those numbers had risen to 70% and 45% respectively. Another poll (Gallup International/TNS
Sofres, Dec. 2001, Jan. 15-16, 2003, and April 16-May 8, 2003) conducted in many European countries and the U.S. showed similar results. In all coun-
tries surveyed, including the U.S., a strong increase, roughly a doubling between Dec. 2001 and Jan. 2003, took place in the numbers of those who
thought that U.S. foreign policy had negative consequences. By Jan. 2003, this had become the view of majorities in France, Denmark, Germany,
Macedonia, the Netherlands, Russia, Serbia, Spain, and Switzerland, as well as pluralities in Finland and Great Britain. Striking, however, was that this
negative assessment declined in most countries when the question was asked again in April 2003; nonetheless, it still remained the view of at least a
plurality in all European countries surveyed.

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II. Partnership Reconsidered

he question of whether Americans and Europeans very desirable — up from 31% in 2002 — and 37% as
T are friends is distinct from that of whether both somewhat desirable — down from 48%. Thus the total
publics still see each other as partners. Can both sides is stable, but the intensity of U.S. feeling has grown).
acknowledge their differences and still work together?
Or has the current disaffection noticeably weakened AMERICANS INCREASINGLY
prospects for transatlantic partnership and cooperation? SEE A STRONGER EU AS DESIRABLE.
To answer these questions, it is helpful to tell the U.S.
story and the European story of partnership separately, When asked whether the United States should remain
before arriving at a transatlantic assessment. the only superpower, 42% said yes (down from 52% in
2002), with only a slightly smaller percentage (37%, up
AMERICANS SUPPORT BOTH ACTIVE U.S. GLOBAL from 33% in 2002) opting for the European Union to
ENGAGEMENT AND STRONG EU LEADERSHIP. become a superpower like the U.S. When those respon-
dents, who answered the U.S. should remain the only
For Americans, there are several notable findings. superpower, were asked if they would still oppose the
Among the most important is that U.S. public willing- EU as superpower if it meant the EU would share the
ness to be engaged in the world is at a 50-year high. costs and risks of global problems, notably, 50% said
When asked whether it is best for the future of the “no.” Thus, a majority of Americans wants to see the
United States to take an active part in world affairs or European Union become a superpower capable of shar-
stay out, 77% chose to take an active part. This is the ing global responsibilities with the U.S. When the 37%
highest level of support since Americans were first who favored the EU as superpower were asked if this
asked the question in 1947; the 15% saying “stay out” would still be the case if the EU sometimes opposed US
represents the lowest level ever.7 This support for an policies, 83% of them said “yes,” suggesting the view is
active U.S. role in the world is matched by equally strongly held and unconditional. Therefore, Americans
strong support among Americans for the European increasingly see a stronger EU as desirable. By these
Union to exert strong leadership in world affairs, with measures, Americans, on the whole, are neither isola-
an increasing percentage viewing such EU leadership as tionists nor unilateralists.
very, rather than somewhat, desirable (43% saw this as
7 Trend data from 1947 through 1973 come from the following national surveys conducted by the National Opinion Research Center at the University of
Chicago: Study T-49, 151, 156, 169, 295, 332, 348, 355, 370, 399 and the 1973 General Social Survey. The 1974 survey was conducted by Louis Harris and
Associates, Inc.

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HOW DESIRABLE IS IT THAT THE UNITED STATES
EXERT STRONG LEADERSHIP IN WORLD AFFAIRS?
90% Great France Germany Netherlands Italy Poland Portugal Europe
Britain
80%
75%
70% 72%
68%
64% 64%
60% 63%
57%
55%
Desirable

50% 53%
48%
45% 46% 45%
40% 43%

30%

No comparative data available for Portugal


27%

20%

10%

10%

20% 23% 22%


Undesirable

25%
27%
30% 31%
33% 34%
38%
40% 41%
44%
48% 49%
50% 50%
50%
2002 Worldviews 2003 Transatlantic Trends
60% Approve Approve
Disapprove Disapprove
70% 70%

Figure 2-1

ONLY 45% OF EUROPEANS strong U.S. leadership is undesirable. Overall, only 45%
DESIRE STRONG U.S. LEADERSHIP. of Europeans, a large drop-off compared to 64% in 2002,
see strong U.S. leadership as desirable. The sharp
On the European side, one also sees general public sup- change in opinion is striking and, if it persists and is
port for strengthening Europe as a partner of the reflected in government policy, may have important
United States, as opposed to relying on the U.S. While implications for transatlantic cooperation. This decline
the British, Dutch, and Polish still see strong U.S. lead- in the European view that U.S. leadership is desirable is
ership as desirable (if less so than last year), the French, one of the starkest results of the survey.8
Germans, Italians, and Portuguese do not. Majorities in
France (70%), Germany (50%), and Italy (50%) believe

8 Put in historical perspective, however, such changes are not a new phenomenon. Earlier crises also led to fluctuations in how U.S. leadership was eval-
uated.

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IN THINKING ABOUT INTERNATIONAL AFFAIRS, WHICH STATEMENT COMES CLOSER
TO YOUR POSITION ABOUT THE UNITED STATES AND THE EUROPEAN UNION

60% Great France Germany Netherlands Italy Poland Portugal Europe U.S.
Britain
U.S. remain only superpower

50% 52%

40% 42%

30%

20% 22% 22%


20%
14%
10% 11% 12% 10% 10%
8% 9%
7% 7%
5% 5%
3%
0

No comparative data available for Portugal


10%

20%
EU become superpower

30% 33%
37%
40%
48%
50% 52%
56%
59%
60% 63% 63%
65% 65%

70% 70% 71%


76%
80% 80% 80%

89% 2002 Worldviews


90% 91%
2003 Transatlantic Trends
100%

Figure 2-2

EUROPEANS CONTINUE TO SEE THE EU AS LARGE MAJORITY OF EUROPEANS WANT THE EU


MORE IMPORTANT TO THEIR VITAL INTERESTS TO BECOME A SUPERPOWER LIKE THE U.S., BUT
THAN THE U.S. SUPPORT DROPS DRAMATICALLY IF GREATER
MILITARY SPENDING IS REQUIRED.
When European respondents were asked whether the
European Union or the United States was more impor- The European desire to build a stronger EU was clearly
tant to the vital interests of their country, majorities in expressed in responses to a question about whether the
all countries chose the EU (as was true last year). The EU should become a superpower.
one eye-catching change was in the German numbers, It is important to probe what respondents had in
with 81% (as compared to 55% in 2002) now opting for mind when asked about their preferences concerning a
the EU and 9% (as compared to 20% in 2002) for the “superpower” role for Europe. Despite the general sup-
U.S. port shown by Europeans for a superpower role for the
EU, follow-on questions indicated that that support

T R A N S A T L A N T I C T R E N D S 2 0 0 3 | 9
may be soft or conditional. For those Europeans who MAJORITIES ON BOTH SIDES SEE
wanted the U.S. to remain the only superpower, 52% U.S. UNILATERALISM AS POSSIBLE THREAT.
said that they opposed superpower status for the EU
because they thought it would require increased mili- More surprising was the finding that not only
tary expenditure. The large majority favoring an EU Europeans, but also Americans, share apprehension of
superpower role were asked if they would be willing the way in which the U.S. is exercising its power. When
for the EU to be a superpower even if this implied asked whether U.S. unilateralism is a possible interna-
greater military expenditure; only 51% answered “yes,” tional threat in the next 10 years, 78% of Europeans and
meaning that support for the EU superpower role 67% of Americans listed it as an extremely important or
would drop to roughly 36% if greater military spending important threat.
were required.
GERMANY CHOOSES EUROPE
BOTH SIDES OF THE ATLANTIC WANT AN EU OVER THE UNITED STATES.
SUPERPOWER TO SERVE AS A PARTNER TO THE U.S.
Within Europe, each country has an interesting national
Those Europeans and Americans who expressed sup- story. Germany provides the most striking example.
port for the EU as a superpower were asked a follow- Whereas in the 2002 Worldviews survey, Germany
on question which gauged whether they thought the seemed uncertain about its global role, and about
EU should become a superpower in order to better whether Europe or the United States was its natural
compete with the U.S. or, rather, to cooperate effectively partner, that ambiguity has now disappeared, with
with the U.S. in dealing with international problems.9 Germany choosing Europe.
The results were almost exactly the same as last year,
with 85% of Europeans choosing cooperation over com- • When asked whether it would be best for the
petition (10%). Thus, one could conclude that the major- future of Germany to take an active part in world
ity of Europeans who want the EU to be a superpower affairs or stay out, 82% of Germans chose an active
envision an Atlanticist EU, serving as a partner to the part (as compared to 65% in 2002) and 13%, rather
U.S., rather than a Gaullist EU, seeking to serve as a than 23%, opted for staying out.
counterweight to U.S. power.
• Whereas a majority of Germans last year (68%)
thought a strong leadership role for the U.S. in
EU’S NON-MILITARY POWER IS INFLUENTIAL,
world affairs was desirable, this year only 45%
SAY AMERICANS AND EUROPEANS.
gave this response. In 2003, 50% of Germans (as
compared to 27% in 2002) felt strong U.S. leader-
Both Americans and Europeans were asked whether
ship was undesirable.
they agreed with the statement that the EU may not be
as powerful militarily as the United States, but can still • In 2003, 70% of Germans, as compared to 48% in
have influence to solve world problems through diplo- 2002, said that the EU should become a superpow-
macy, trade, or development aid. Large majorities of er, like the United States, with only 8% (as com-
88% on both sides of the Atlantic expressed agreement, pared to 22% last year) opting for the U.S. to
underscoring a similarity of view in assessing the EU’s remain the only superpower.
“soft” power. • When asked whether the EU or the U.S. was more

9 This question was formulated as an experimental question and the wording read either “to better compete with the U.S.” or “to counterbalance the U.S.”
The other choice was either “to cooperate effectively with the U.S.” or “to cooperate effectively with the U.S. in dealing with international problems.”
While the wording changes did alter the results somewhat (for instance, “counterbalance” garnered more support than “compete”), strong majorities
across all questions opted for cooperation, regardless of the exact wording.

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important to Germany’s vital interests, 81% of transatlantic relationship. Americans are more support-
German respondents (up from 55% in 2002) said ive than last year of having a strong European partner,
the EU; 9%, down from 20%, said the U.S.; and 8% while Europeans are less willing to rely on the United
(down from 22%) volunteered the answer that both States on the foreign policy front. The experience of the
are equally important. past year, with the war in Iraq most likely the dominant
event, appears to have had a generally negative impact
To see such clear swings in public opinion from one on European views of the United States. In contrast, and
year to the next is unusual. The German public’s shift unexpectedly, Americans seem more positively disposed
of support from the United States toward the European to the European Union. This lack of symmetry, with
Union is a key factor in explaining the overall shift of Europeans feeling worse about the U.S. and Americans
opinion among the European countries surveyed in feeling better about the EU, is surprising and potentially
favor of the EU. In the wake of the U.S. military victory significant for policymakers on both sides of the
in Iraq, the press reported that the Bush Administration Atlantic. On the one hand, Europeans starkly question
planned to “ignore” Germany due to its opposition to U.S. global leadership and endorse the EU’s aspiration
the war. The data here suggests that ignoring Germany to a global role. On the other hand, Europeans clearly
could have a long-term cost. envision a collaboration with the United States in global
The survey documents important changes in the affairs, rather than a competition.

T R A N S A T L A N T I C T R E N D S 2 0 0 3 | 11
III. Working Together or Going it Alone?

hether Americans and Europeans can, in fact, how governments should respond to such threats.
W work together will depend on a number of fac-
tors. Among them are both their perceptions of threats AMERICANS AND EUROPEANS SEE
and the extent to which they share the same approaches INTERNATIONAL TERRORISM AS TOP THREAT.
to meeting those threats. To explore these issues, a
series of questions was asked to gauge threat percep- In spite of the deep differences across the Atlantic over
tions on both sides of the Atlantic, as well as views on Iraq, Americans and Europeans have remarkably simi-

THE FIVE MOST IMPORTANT INTERNATIONAL THREATS


ACCORDING TO RESPONDENTS FROM EUROPE AND THE U.S. Important Extremely Important

0 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%

26% 70% EUROPE


International
Terrorism
26% 70% U.S.

35% 49% EUROPE


North Korea
WMD
33% 60% U.S.

36% 46% EUROPE


Iran
WMD
28% 57% U.S.

38% 47% EUROPE


Islamic
Fundamentalism
39% 44% U.S.

41% 46% EUROPE


Arab-Israeli
Conflict
43% 39% U.S.

Figure 3-1

12 | T R A N S A T L A N T I C T R E N D S 2 0 0 3
lar assessments of the threats they face.10 When asked AMERICANS MORE WILLING TO USE FORCE
about possible international threats to Europe (“to the AGAINST A NORTH KOREA OR IRAN WITH WMD.
U.S.,” in the United States) in the next 10 years, respon-
dents ranked the five threats illustrated in Figure 3-1 as If one looks at overall support for military action
the most important. against Iran versus North Korea, 44% of Europeans
While there is some difference in the intensity with support military action in the case of Iran, as opposed
which Americans and Europeans perceive these threats, to 37% in the case of North Korea. For Americans, 73%
the similarity of their assessments is more striking than support military action in the case of Iran and 63% in
the divergence. Further, if one looks at the feelings ther- the case of North Korea. Thus, in these cases,
mometer (a scale of 0-100 from cold to warm), Americans are more willing to use force than
Americans and Europeans feel roughly the same level Europeans and both are more willing to engage in mili-
of coolness toward unfriendly countries, such as Iran tary action against Iran (as compared to North Korea).11
(US/31; EU/34), North Korea (US/27; EU/33), and
Syria (US/34; EU/38). GIVEN THE CHOICE, BOTH SIDES PREFER ECONOMIC
SANCTIONS TO THE USE OF MILITARY FORCE.
NATO SEEN AS PROVIDING ALMOST AS
MUCH LEGITIMACY AS THE U.N. SECURITY COUNCIL. When presented with eight different scenarios about a
country either harboring dangerous international ter-
To attempt to gauge how these assessments and feel- rorists or threatening a neighboring country with
ings translate into policy in specific cases, sur-
vey respondents were given an experimental
SUPPORT FOR TAKING PART IN
question, in which 1/8th of the sample size was MILITARY ACTION IN KOREA AND IRAN
asked about a different scenario involving either 90%
U.S. U.S. and NATO UNSC Total
a North Korea or an Iran armed with weapons Alone Allies
80%
of mass destruction (WMD). They were then
asked if they would support military action if it 70% 73% 74%

were proposed by the United States, the U.S. 68%


64%
60% 63%
and its allies, NATO, or the United Nations
Security Council (UNSC). The combined results
50%
(i.e., the weighted averages for all of Europe
46%
and the average for both cases) follow: 40% 43%
39% 41%
On the issue of the legitimacy of using mili- 34%
30%
tary force, there appears to be a clear hierarchy
on both sides of the Atlantic, with support for 20%
military action growing in all countries as the
10%
support of allies, then NATO, and finally the
UNSC are invoked. It is notable that NATO sup- 0
port for military action provides almost the
Europe U.S.
same bump in support as does the U.N.
Security Council.
Figure 3-2

10 Worldviews 2002 included questions about threat perceptions, but the wording of the question on the U.S. side differed from that used this year in
Transatlantic Trends. Thus, while the comparative numbers are listed in the topline data for your information, it is problematic to compare directly
responses, as it is unclear whether the wording change or other factors affected U.S. responses in 2003.
11 Survey research experts caution that general conclusions about the proclivity to use force should not be drawn from single questions, because question
wording has a particularly strong impact on outcomes in this area of inquiry.

T R A N S A T L A N T I C T R E N D S 2 0 0 3 | 13
nuclear weapons, solid majorities of both Americans problems, while others say this would only create big-
and Europeans opt for imposing economic sanctions, ger, unwieldy bureaucracies; for the United Nations,
rather than using military force. The percentage of please tell me it if needs to be strengthened or not.”
Americans willing to use force in these cases, while a European opinion proved stable with 74% saying the
clear minority, is larger than that for Europeans (rang- UN needs to be strengthened, as compared to 75% in
ing from 19% to 35% on the U.S. side and from 14% to 2002. On the American side, 70%, as compared to 77%
26% on the European side). The large gap that emerged in 2002, opted for strengthening. One might have
across the Atlantic on support for military action in the expected a much steeper decline on the U.S. side, given
cases of a North Korea or Iran armed with WMD the controversial role of the UN in the run-up to the
appears to be much narrower when a more general Iraq war.
question is asked offering alternatives other than the
use of force. LARGE MAJORITY OF AMERICANS BELIEVE
IN JUST WAR, CREATING GULF WITH EUROPE.
STRONG SUPPORT ON BOTH SIDES
OF THE ATLANTIC FOR THE UNITED NATIONS. Two additional questions round out the picture of how
both sides of the Atlantic view the role of the United
To explore further transatlantic views of the United Nations as provider of international legitimacy. First,
Nations, one question stated: “Some say, because of the the survey asked whether war can be just.
increasing interaction between countries, we need to The gap across the Atlantic on this question is huge.
strengthen international institutions to deal with shared While Great Britain rests somewhere mid-Atlantic on

UNDER SOME CONDITIONS, WAR IS NECESSARY TO OBTAIN JUSTICE


0 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%

Great Britain 39% 35%

France 27% 12%

Germany 27% 12%

Netherlands 38% 22%

Italy 28% 15%

Poland 28% 18%

Portugal 29% 16%

Europe 30% 18%

U.S. 29% 55%

Agree Somewhat Agree Strongly

Figure 3-3

14 | T R A N S A T L A N T I C T R E N D S 2 0 0 3
COMPARING WILLINGNESS TO STRENGTHEN THE UNITED NATIONS OR BYPASS IT:
A CROSS-TABULATION
Do not strengthen
Do not strengthen and do not bypass
and do not bypass U.N.
U.N.

5%
10%

12% 35% 26%


Do not strengthen Strengthen and Do not strengthen
48% and bypass U.N. do not bypass and bypass U.N.
Strengthen and U.N.
do not bypass
U.N.

31%
Strengthen and 34%
bypass U.N.
Strengthen and
bypass U.N.

EUROPE U.S.
Figure 3-4

this issue (and the Netherlands perhaps just off the con- one table (i.e., the results are cross-tabulated), the distri-
tinent), there remains a sizeable difference from the bution of answers within Europe and the United States
United States. is revealing.
While majorities in both the United States and
MOST AMERICANS, UNLIKE EUROPEANS, Europe want to strengthen the United Nations, a major-
BELIEVE BYPASSING THE UN IS JUSTIFIED. ity in the U.S. is willing to bypass the United Nations
when vital interests are at stake. The group that both
When asked if it is justified to bypass the UN when wants to strengthen the UN and bypass the world body
vital interests of your country are involved, 36% of is slightly larger in the U.S. than in Europe (34% vs.
Americans and 16% of Europeans agreed strongly, and 31%), and the group that does not want to strengthen
21% of Americans and 24% of Europeans agreed some- the UN and is willing to bypass it is, in the United
what. Whereas 57% of Americans agreed, 53% of States, double that in Europe (26% vs. 12%). When one
Europeans disagreed. This helps explain why the Bush combines these two groups in the U.S. case, one sees
Administration was able to build majority support for the coalition that the Bush Administration relied upon
war in Iraq, even in the absence of a second U.N. when it sought support for the Iraq war. These group-
Security Council resolution. ings suggest that there may be cross-national typolo-
When the answers to the questions about strength- gies, which might be helpful in understanding foreign
ening the UN and bypassing the UN are combined in policy differences across the Atlantic.12

12 For a deeper analysis of this, please see the Transatlantic Trends website (www.gmfus.org/transtatlantictrends) for an interpretative essay by Dr. Ronald
D. Asmus, Dr. Philip P. Everts, and Dr. Pierangelo Isernia.

T R A N S A T L A N T I C T R E N D S 2 0 0 3 | 15
IV. The Transatlantic Challenge of Middle East Peace

he challenge both sides of the Atlantic face in AMERICANS FEEL WARMER TOWARD
T devising a common strategy to foster Middle East ISRAEL THAN DO EUROPEANS.
peace is not new. Traditionally, there have been deep
differences across the Atlantic on this issue. However, To gauge the similarity or divergence of public views
with the seeming renewed commitment of the Bush on both sides of the Atlantic toward Israel and the
Administration, following the Iraq war, to tackle a chal- Palestinians, the thermometer rating of warmth is
lenge many view as central to stability in the region, the helpful.
survey sought to explore the potential for transatlantic Clearly, the degree of warmth felt toward Israel is
cooperation. greater in the U.S. than in Europe. On the European
side, the one significant change was the
THERMOMETER READINGS – growth of warm feelings in Germany
NATIONS’ FEELINGS TOWARDS ISRAEL AND THE PALESTINIANS
with regard to Israel. Relatively cool
100° 100°
feelings toward the Palestinians do not
90° 90° appear to differ in any substantial way
across the Atlantic. Unlike Americans,
80° 80°
Europeans do not feel differently toward
2003 2002
70° 60° U.S. 70° Israel and the Palestinians, with both
48° Netherlands (48°)
46° Great Britain (43°)
2003 rating 43. Transatlantic views of Saudi
60° 60° 47° Great Britain
43° EUROPE (38°)
46° Italy
Arabia, Syria, and Iran are broadly
43° France (43°)
neutral 50°
43° Germany (32°)
neutral 50° 45° France similar.
43° EUROPE
43° Italy (42°)
40° 40° 43° Portugal
40° Portugal
33° Poland (29°)
41° Netherlands U.S. SUPPORT FOR ISRAEL LINKED TO
40° Germany
30° 30°
39° U.S. ITS STATUS AS THE ONLY DEMOCRACY
35° Poland IN THE ARAB WORLD.
20° 20°

10° 10° To probe views of Israel more deeply, a


question was asked as to whether Israel
0° 0°
deserves support because it is the only
Feelings towards Israel Feelings towards the Palestinians democracy in the Arab world. In the

Figure 4-1

16 | T R A N S A T L A N T I C T R E N D S 2 0 0 3
ARAB-ISRAELI CONFLICT: POLICY OPTIONS
The U.S. and Europeans should increase political pressure on Israel to withdraw from Palestinian territory. 13
0 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%
34% 41% EUROPE

27% 40% U.S.

The U.S. and Europeans should impose economic sanctions on Israel in order for it to withdraw from Palestinian territory.
0 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%
36% 29% EUROPE

30% 22% U.S.

The U.S. and Europeans should stop economic aid to the Palestinians to end their suicide attacks against Israeli civilians.
0 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%
26% 26% EUROPE

22% 50% U.S.

The U.S. and Europeans should increase pressure on the Arab states to stop their support of Palestinian terrorism.
0 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%
34% 45% EUROPE

19% 70% U.S.

The U.S. and Europeans should send a peace-keeping force to separate the parties.
0 10% 20% 30% 40% 50% 60% 70% 80% 90% 100%
34% 33% EUROPE

29% 26% U.S.

Agree Somewhat Agree Strongly

Figure 4-2

U.S., 28% of respondents agreed strongly with this AMERICANS MUCH MORE WILLING TO EXERT PRES-
argument and 35% agreed somewhat (totaling 63%); in SURE ON THE PALESTINIANS AND THE ARAB STATES.
Europe, 12% agreed strongly and 33% agreed some-
what (totaling 45%). The resonance of this issue — look- While Americans feel greater warmth toward Israel, as
ing both at the number who agree strongly and the well as support its status as a democracy, American and
overall number who agree — is far greater in the European publics have surprisingly similar views when
United States than in Europe. it comes to their willingness to put pressure on Israel to
resolve the Arab-Israeli conflict. Survey participants
were given a list of proposals aimed at helping to end

13 Half of the sample was asked about “the U.S. and Europeans” and half about “the U.S.” The wording change resulted in no statistically significant
difference and thus the answers to the two questions were combined

T R A N S A T L A N T I C T R E N D S 2 0 0 3 | 17
the conflict.14 The five policy options are listed on the Palestinians to end their suicide attacks against Israeli
prior page. While there was majority support on both civilians, Americans are unequivocal in their strong
sides of the Atlantic to pursue these options, important support for such a policy (50% in strong agreement, as
differences were also apparent. compared to 26% in Europe), whereas in Europe there
Based on responses to these questions, Americans is, overall, only a small majority in favor (72% for the
and Europeans appear almost equally willing to exert US and 52% for Europe). In the case of increasing pres-
pressure on Israel, while Americans are much more sure on Arab states to stop their support of Palestinian
willing to exert pressure on the Palestinians and the terrorism, overall support is high in the United States
Arab states. On the questions regarding increasing (89%) and Europe (79%), but the intensity of feeling
political pressure or imposing economic sanctions on among Americans, with 70% agreeing strongly with the
Israel to withdraw from Palestinian territory, Europeans proposal, is far greater than the 45% offering strong
are slightly more willing to increase political pressure agreement in Europe. One area of unexpected consen-
(75% for Europe versus 67% for Americans) and clearly sus was majority support on both sides of the Atlantic
more willing to impose economic sanctions (65% versus for sending a peace-keeping force to separate the
52%). When asked about stopping economic aid to the parties.15

14 Half of the sample was asked about the “Arab-Israeli conflict” and the other half about the “Israeli-Palestinian conflict.” The wording change resulted
in no statistically significant difference and thus the two sub-samples were combined.
15 On the question of a peacekeeping force, previous surveys have shown a deeply divided or negative U.S. public. In April 2002, a CBS News Poll showed
49% in favor and 43% in opposition to the United States sending in troops as part of a peacekeeping force in order to try and end the fighting between
Israel and the Palestinians. In March 2002, a Princeton Survey Research Associates/Newsweek Poll recorded 32% of American respondents favoring
and 62% opposing sending U.S. troops to Israel as part of an international force with monitoring and peace-keeping responsibilities.

18 | T R A N S A T L A N T I C T R E N D S 2 0 0 3
V. Conclusions

key message of the survey seems to be that allies Americans and Europeans have roughly similar
A can simultaneously feel estranged and share for- views of threats, but different impulses on how to
eign policy interests that lead them to work together. respond. On questions regarding North Korea and Iran
Compared to 2002, Europeans like the United States acquiring weapons of mass destruction, as well as sce-
less and are less willing to rely on U.S. global leader- narios involving a country harboring dangerous terror-
ship. Increased European support for a stronger ists or threatening a neighbor with nuclear weapons,
European Union results, in no small measure, from Americans are more likely than Europeans to support
clear majorities in Germany opting in this survey for the use of military force. When given the choice, how-
Europe over the United States. The Germany that ever, both sides of the Atlantic express a preference for
sought never to choose between Europe and the United imposing economic sanctions, rather than turning to the
States has now expressed an unambiguous preference military.
for Europe. It remains to be seen whether this trend will On questions regarding international organizations,
endure. both Americans and Europeans opt for strengthening
For the United States, the largest percentage of the United Nations, but a majority of Americans sup-
Americans since 1947 acknowledges the need for the port bypassing the world body if vital interests are at
United States to take an active part in world affairs. stake. On both sides of the Atlantic, NATO offers
Americans are both supportive of the Bush almost the same amount of legitimacy for military inter-
Administration’s foreign policy and of a stronger role vention as does the U.N. Security Council.
for the European Union. Europeans and Americans, On the Middle East peace process, Americans are
who want to see the EU become a superpower like the much more willing to exert pressure on the Palestinians
United States, supported this development in order for and the Arab states than are Europeans. Despite these
the EU to cooperate effectively with the U.S., rather differences, transatlantic majorities exist for applying
than to compete better. A majority of Europeans appear political and economic pressure on all sides, as well as
to want an Atlanticist EU, serving as a partner to the for sending a peace-keeping force.
U.S. Americans remain multilateralists and fear the con-
sequences of unilateralist policies. Furthermore, there is
an overwhelming consensus across the Atlantic that the
EU’s soft (non-military) power has a role to play.

T R A N S A T L A N T I C T R E N D S 2 0 0 3 | 19