Wow, our fellow citizens take NATO's article 5 real serious, according to The Harris Poll:
If Russia was to make a similar military move into another Baltic country (Latvia, Lithuania, or Estonia) all of who are NATO members, people are divided as to whether troops from their country should defend these states. Half of Germans (50%) and two in five Spaniards (40%) and Italians (39%) would oppose troops from their country defending the Baltic states while two in five French adults (41%) and just over one-third of Americans (37%) and Britons (35%) would support it.
Apparently "the West" is a really great community of common values and solidarity.
I hope the poll has some methodological shortcoming. If not, then I am glad that we are living in representative democracies rather than direct democracy, i.e. our politicians don't have to make policy based on polls or referendums.
"I hope the poll has some methodological shortcoming."
The major inconsistency I can see is this: "Because the sample is based on those who agreed to participate in the Harris Interactive panel, no estimates of theoretical sampling error can be calculated."
In other words, the poll is only for those who want to talk about the issue. Polls like these tend to overstate the extremes, since they are self-selecting. There is also the factor that the polls are done online.
Still, the numbers are striking. And there were some other figures in the poll that caught my eye. Like the fact that Great Britain, Spain, and Germany feel the United States is the greatest threat to world stability. And that nearly 60% of citizens in France, Italy, Spain, and Germany oppose spending more on defense and less on social welfare.
Leaders may claim X is the national priority, but the citizens often feel much different. How do you reconcile the two in a modern democracy? As you rightfully point out, thankfully not with a referendum.
My reaction to the poll was a bit of a yawn.
Yes it was interesting that half of all Germans would oppose defending the Baltic State - but is this really news? The primary reason for wanting the US out of NATO is that I do not wish to see the US try to shoulder the entire burden for defending Eastern Europe when it's pretty obvious that should Russia attack the Baltic states or Poland that Germany will opt out of it's alliance committments. The German people apparently don't believe that NATO membership requires any committment from Germany at all, and the rest of continental Europe are not far behind. The US cannot take the whole burden and should follow suit by opring out ourselves.
The figures supporting the welfare state versus defense follow from the other poll - reflecting the attitude that the defense of Europe is solely an American obligation so that Europe need make no changes in their welfare state, not even the tiniest acknowledgement that Europe need contribute to it's own defense.
that will not happen
unless someone thinks about setting some missiles in the Baltic
I heard lately that even Poland will not get any, cause the prime minister isn't for it, plus with the global money crisis that is reaching our countries, I doubt that someone will find the credits
Ok, might be that an ol good war will solve the problems...
Joe, I think the shock of it actually happening might chnge some minds, but of course by then it would be too late, with the Baltics, Polands, UK, and the US (If we stay) being left to fight it out by ourselves.
Even if Germany decided to opt in by that late date - it simply would not have the armamanets or the trained combat forces to make much of a difference unless the US were prepared to sacrifice enough of it's citizens for long enough to give Germany and the other allies who choose to do so time to build those forces from scratch.
That implies a lot of American, Polish, Baltic, and British blood would be let before any of the Continental powers got into such a war in numbers sufficient to make a difference.
It's another case like the banks, I fear, with Germany and continental EU 'leveraging' a lot of protection on the base of very little investment. With the US there 'things can't go wrong after all'.
That is why the US should withdraw - the whole system is leveraged on US willingness to be played for a fool and be bled dry for Europe's benefit. Unless that changes, the US should opt out....