United States and Europe Share Desire to Spread Democracy, Survey Finds
A survey released on September 7th, 2005, by the German Marshall Fund shows democracy promotion is strongly supported by both Americans and Europeans, though European support is stronger.
An overwhelming 76% of Europeans agreed the European Union should play a significant role in helping to establish democracy in other countries, while 51% of Americans agreed the United States should hold such a role. Within the U.S. , Republicans, at 76%, support democracy promotion, as opposed to 43% of Democrats.
When asked about policy options to promote democracy, monitoring elections received the greatest support among Europeans (83%) and Americans (68%), while military intervention received the least support at 32% of Europeans and 68% of Americans; nearly twice as many Republicans (57%) favored military intervention as Democrats (29%). Other policies proposed included supporting independent groups such as trade unions, imposing political or economic sanctions, and supporting dissidents.
“Democracy promotion may offer the greatest potential for transatlantic cooperation,” the survey stated. “Despite criticism among European elites, public support for democracy promotion elicits considerable agreement on both sides of the Atlantic . Recent diplomatic coordination between the United States and Europe surrounding political change in Ukraine and Lebanon highlights the potential for agreement and cooperation. While Europeans may not be likely to send additional troops into Iraq , we might hope that the United States and Europe continue to work together on common challenges in Afghanistan , Iran , the Greater Middle East, and China .”
In its fourth year, the Transatlantic Trends survey was conducted in the United States and ten European countries: France , Germany , Italy , the Netherlands , Poland , Portugal , Slovakia , Spain , Turkey , and the United Kingdom . The survey looks at opinion regarding U.S.-European relations, and this year also asked about the European Union, democracy promotion, human rights in China , and Iran .
Other findings of the study include:
- Despite efforts by the Bush administration, there has been no significant change in European public opinion toward the United States .
- There is, however, no significant increase of anti-Americanism.
- Europeans still feel positively toward the European Union, even though the EU constitution was rejected.
- A majority of Europeans hold no opinion about Turkey becoming a member of the EU.
- While a majority of Europeans want the EU to become a “superpower,” they are divided as to whether the focus should be on economic or military development.
- A majority of Europeans support a single EU seat on the UN Security Council, even if it replaces the existing seats held by France and the UK .
- Both Americans and Europeans feel respect for human rights needs to be considered when dealing with China , even if it limits economic relations.
- There is no consensus between Americans and Europeans on how to handle the possible development of nuclear weapons in Iran , though most do not support military intervention.
- More Americans than Europeans feel they will be personally affected by international terrorism, while more Europeans feel they will be personally affected by global warming.
- There is no broad consensus among Americans regarding the Bush foreign policy, but there is some agreement on the handling of terrorism and the spread of nuclear weapons.
- Democrats favor improved relations with Europe more strongly than Republicans.
For more information on the survey, please visit www.transatlantictrends.org .