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Majority of Germans in Favor of More Transatlantic Cooperation

The German media is full of NSA and TTIP criticism, but 56% of Germans still want more cooperation with the United States. That’s a surprisingly positive result of the Körber-Foundation poll “Involvement or Restraint” in support of the German Foreign Office’s “Review 2014”-process. And yet, several journalists manage to draw Anti-American conclusions from this poll.

I have explained it in German at Deutschlands Agenda, but including some tweets in English.

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Bullshit on Europe?

Dan Drezner divides Secretary Clinton's major foreign policy speech into "the good, the bad, and the BS portions." (I am wondering if he follows Harry Frankfurt's definition of bullshit) And Clinton's statements on Europe fall into the BS portion:

The whole section on strengthening bilateral and multilateral ties to Europe almost caused me to lose my cornflakes.  I mean, c'mon.  Is forcing the Europeans to cut down their number of seats in the IMF an example of strengthening alliances?  I see the intrinsic merit in occasionally dissing the Europeans, but don't tell me that anything transatlantic has been "strengthened" over the past 18 months.

Good question! What has been strengthened in transatlantic affairs over the last 18 months?

The German Marshall Fund's Transatlantic Trends 2010 survey just made the - cough -- totally surprising - cough -- discovery that Obama's popularity has not lead to converging opinions about how to address several global challenges. Apparently, it takes more than presidential popularity to make the European kids follow the lead of the US godfather? Wow, so perhaps George W. Bush's personality was not the main reason why Europeans opposed the Iraq war. Do you think that maybe - just maybe - Europeans have different national interests and preferences. And the world affairs is not a popularity contest? Oh, I am going on a limp here.

Europeans are full of bullshit as well: According to the same survey 62% of EU respondents ("large majorities") said that "NATO should be prepared to act outside of Europe to defend members from threats to their security," while at the same time 64% of those respondents "thought that their country should either reduce or withdraw troops" from Afghanistan.

I think Europeans (everyone?) expresses more support if a request or question is phrased in broad and very abstract terms and concerns the future (NATO out of area), but when you get more specific and concrete and refer to the presence (Afghanistan), then people withdraw their support. I guess, this holds true to both big politics and personal relations...

What should be on top of the Transatlantic Agenda in 2009

What are the most important areas for transatlantic cooperation this year? What are the main international security and globalization issues that Europe and North America should focus their energies on in 2009? We are running a poll on this question over at Atlantic-community.org and you are invited to vote as well.

The results shall be used to determine our focus topics at Atlantic-community.org and will be taken into consideration at Atlantic Review as well. You can choose up to three policy areas from these options and you can suggest alternatives in the comment section:

Strengthen counter-proliferation efforts.
End Iran's nuclear program.
Modernize the international trade order.
Reduce carbon-emissions.
Turn Russia into a strategic partner.
Define NATO's security role for the 21st century.
Improve "burden-sharing" in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Integrate China into the international order.

The Publics Commitment to NATO is Shaky

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.

Support for the Transatlantic Partnership on the Rise

The German Marshall Fund released its 2008 transatlantic trends poll yesterday, which shows a thaw in transatlantic relations. From the press release:

“Based on common values and shared interests, the survey shows that Americans and Europeans want closer relations,” said Craig Kennedy, president of the German Marshall Fund of the United States. “Whether it’s the result of world events, a new U.S. administration on the horizon, or insecurity on several fronts, a new American president will have the opportunity to not only improve the United States’ standing in the world, but perhaps also to ask more of European leaders.”

However, despite perceived common values and a general interest in the same topics, Europeans generally feel that Europe should act more independently, although the number of Europeans who want closer relations with the US is increasing. Interestingly, though, few Europeans think that Europe should take a 'go it alone' course, with the majority favouring partnership with the US in addressing threats. This could be taken to mean that Europeans want Europe to be more assertive in such a partnership, or simply that the general population hasn't thought this through and exhibits a well-known but surprisingly extreme differential response to differently phrased questions (31% want closer relations, 67% want to address international threats in partnership).

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