Is the Atlantic Alliance Doomed???
September 12, 2004
Discussion Threads - Selected Comments on Grand Strategy: 400, 453, 458, 465, 469, 476, 491
[Ref.1] Media Release, "Poll of 35 Countries Finds 30 Prefer Kerry, 3 Bush: Traditional US Allies Strongly Favor Kerry; Bush Preferred in Philippines, Poland and Nigeria; Most Say Bush Foreign Policy Has Made Them Feel Worse Toward US," For release: September 8, 2004 12:30 pm
Professor Gabriel Kolko, an occasional contributor to the blaster, has kindly granted his permission to distribute and post his his most recent analysis on U.S. grand strategy ... or lack thereof. It appeared in the current issue of the French journal Le Monde Diplomatique. Kolko makes a very interesting grand-strategic argument: namely, it is a good thing that the aggressive foreign policy of the United States is destroying the post World War II alliance structure. The alliance structure is outdated now that there is no Soviet Union. Besides, history suggests that formal alliances encourage aggressive behavior by individual countries who depend on the support of their allies. If Germany had no alliance structure (and there was no countervailiang alliance structure opposing Germany), for example, the behavior of the Great Powers might have been less belligerent in the period leading up to World War I. Of course, re-writing history is speculation, but a future world without alliances, Kolko argues, will be a more peaceful world because it will moderate the behaviour of great powers. In this context of formal alliance structures, he decries the aggressive foreign policy of the United States, and he notes that what little difference exists between democrats and republicans is one of style, not substance. But whoever wins the presidential election, he believes the policies of the United States will eventually destroy the Atlantic Alliance, although he thinks it will take longer under the Democrats. And that will a good thing, even if the pathway to that end is not so good.
Long time readers of the blaster might think I am being inconsistent by distributing Kolko's analysis [see blaster thread]. Many earlier blasters criticized our counterproductive grand strategy precisely because it was politically and morally isolating the United States and driving away traditional allies, as well as uncommitted nations. Iraq has been a frequent case in point, but we have also argued that this behavior was evident well before 9-11, the war in Kosovo being a prime example.
But Kolko's point is about the danger posed by formal alliance structures, whereas the criteria shaping our grand strategic outlook (i.e., really that formulated by retired Colonel John Boyd) should be about identifying policies and strategies that induces other nations (both allies and uncommitted) into being empathetic to our nation's success ... and ending conflicts on favorable terms that do not sow the seeds of future conflicts (which is very different from identifying an "exit" strategy from the consequences of aggression, which is a term that implies failure.). Boyd's abstract grand-strategic criteria would been equally at home with nonalignment policies espoused by George Washington in his farewell address or those of Senator Robert Taft as well as with any formal alliance structure, such as Nato. Kolko is making a very different point, I think, and it is one well worth thinking about.
ALLIANCES AND THE AMERICAN ELECTION
"Maniere de Voir,"
Le Monde Diplomatique no. 77,
[Re-printed with permission of the author]
Alliances have been a major cause of wars throughout modern history, removing inhibitions that might otherwise have caused Germany, France, and countless nations to reflect much more cautiously before embarking on death and destruction. The dissolution of all alliances is a crucial precondition of a world without wars.
The United States' strength, to an important extent, has rested on its ability to convince other nations that it was to their vital interests to see America prevail in its global role. With the loss of that ability there will be a fundamental change in the international system whose implications and consequences may ultimately be as far-reaching as the dissolution of the Soviet bloc. The scope of America's world mission is now far more dangerous and ambitious than when Communism existed, but it was fear of the USSR that alone gave NATO its raison d'etre and provided Washington with the justification for its global pretensions. Enemies have disappeared and new ones—many once former allies and congenial states—have taken their places. The United States, to a degree to which it is itself uncertain, needs alliances. But even friendly nations are less likely than ever to be bound into uncritical "coalitions of the willing."
Nothing in President Bush's September 19, 2002, extraordinarily vague doctrine of fighting "preemptive" wars, unilaterally if necessary, was a fundamentally new departure. Regardless of whether the Republicans or Democrats were in office, since the 1890s the U.S. has intervened in countless ways in the Western Hemisphere—from sending Marines to supporting friendly tyrants—to determine the political destinies of innumerable southern nations. The Democratic Administration that established the United Nations explicitly regarded the hemisphere as the U.S.' sphere-of-influence, and they created the IMF and World Bank to police the world economy.
It was the Democratic Party that created most of the pillars of postwar American foreign policy, from the Truman Doctrine in 1947 and NATO through the institutionalization of the arms race and the illusion that weapons and firepower are a solution to many of the world's political problems. The Democrats share, in the name of a truly "bipartisan" consensus, equal responsibility for both the character and dilemmas of America's foreign strategy at the present moment. President Jimmy Carter initiated the Afghanistan adventure in July 1979, hoping to bog down the Soviets there as the Americans had been in Vietnam. And it was Carter who first encouraged Saddam Hussein to confront Iranian fundamentalism, a policy President Reagan continued.
Joseph E. Stiglitz, chairman of the President's Council of Economic Advisers from 1993 to 1997, argues that the Clinton Administration intensified the "hegemonic legacy" in the world economy, and Bush is just continuing it. The 1990s was "A decade of unparalleled American influence over the global economy" that Democratic financiers and fiscal conservatives in key posts defined, "in which one economic crisis seemed to follow another." The U.S. created trade barriers and gave large subsidies to its own agribusiness but countries in financial straits were advised and often compelled to cut spending and "adopt policies that were markedly different from those that we ourselves had adopted." (1) The scale of domestic and global peculation by the Clinton and Bush administrations can be debated but they were enormous in both cases.
In foreign and military affairs, both the Clinton and Bush administrations have suffered from the same procurement fetish, believing that expensive weapons are superior to realistic political strategies. The same illusions produced the Vietnam War—and disaster. Elegant strategies promising technological routes to victory have been with us since the late 1940s, but they are essentially public relations exercises intended to encourage more orders for arms manufacturers and justifications for bigger budgets for the rival military services. During the Clinton years the Pentagon continued to concoct grandiose strategies and it demanded—and got—new weapons to implement them. There are many ways to measure defense expenditures over time but—minor annual fluctuations notwithstanding—the consensus between the two parties on the Pentagon's budgets has persisted since 1945. In January 2000 Clinton added $115 billion to the Pentagon's 5-year plan, far more than the Republicans were calling for. When Clinton left office the Pentagon had over a half trillion dollars in the major weapons procurement pipeline, not counting the ballistic missile defense systems—which is a pure boondoggle that cost over $71 billion by 1999. The dilemma, as both CIA and senior Clinton officials correctly warned, was that terrorists were more likely to strike the American homeland than some nation against whom the military could retaliate. This fundamental disparity between hardware and reality has always existed and September 11, 2001 showed how vulnerable and weak the U.S. has become. (2)
The war in Yugoslavia in the spring of 1999 brought the future of NATO and the alliance, and especially Washington's deepening anxiety regarding Germany's possible independent role in Europe, to a head. Well before Bush took office, the Clinton Administration resolved never to allow its allies to inhibit or define its strategy again. Bush's policies, notwithstanding the brutal way in which they have been expressed or implemented, follows logically from this crucial decision. NATO's failure in Afghanistan, and its members' refusal to contribute the soldiers and equipment essential to end warlordism and allow fair elections to be held (it sent five times as many troops to Kosovo in 1999), is the logic of America's bipartisan disdain for the alliance.
But the world today is increasingly dangerous for the U. S. and Communism's demise has called into fundamental question the core premises of the post-1945 alliance system. More nations have nuclear weapons and means of delivering them, destructive small arms (thanks to burgeoning American arms exports which grew from 32 percent of the world trade in 1987 to 43 percent in 1997) are much more abundant, there are more local and civil wars than ever, especially in regions like Eastern Europe which had not experienced any for nearly a half-century, and there is terrorism—the poor and weak man's ultimate weapon—on a scale that has never existed. The political, economic, and cultural causes of instability and conflict are growing, and expensive weapons are irrelevant—save for the balance sheets of those who make them.
So long as the future is to a large degree—to paraphrase Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld—"unknowable," it is not to the national interest of its traditional allies to perpetuate the relationships created from 1945 to 1990. The Bush Administration, through ineptness and a vague ideology of American power that acknowledges no limits on its global ambitions, and a preference for unilateralist initiatives and adventurism which discounts consultations with its friends much less the United Nations, has seriously eroded the alliance system upon which U. S. foreign policy from 1947 onwards was based. With the proliferation of all sorts of destructive weaponry and growing political instability, the world is becoming increasingly dangerous—and so is membership in alliances.
If Bush is reelected then the international order may be very different in 2008 than it is today, much less in 1999, but there is no reason to believe that objective assessments of the costs and consequences of its actions will significantly alter America's foreign policy priorities over the next four years. If the Democrats win they will attempt in the name of "progressive internationalism" to reconstruct the alliance system as it existed before the Yugoslav war of 1999, when the Clinton Administration turned against the veto powers built into the NATO system. There is important bipartisan support for resurrecting the Atlanticism that Bush is in the process of smashing, and it was best reflected in the Council on Foreign Relations' vague and banal March 2004 report on the "transatlantic alliance," which Henry Kissinger helped direct and which both influential Republicans and Wall Street leaders endorsed. Traditional elites are desperate to see NATO and the Atlantic system restored to their old glory. Their vision, premised on the expansionist assumptions that have guided American foreign policy since 1945, was best articulated the same month in a new book by Zbigniew Brzezinski, who was Carter's National Security adviser. Brzezinski is far more subtle, rejecting the Bush Administration's counterproductive rhetoric that so alienates former and potential future allies. But he regards American power as central to peace in every part of world and his global vision no less ambitious than the Bush Administration's. He is for the U.S. maintaining "a comprehensive technological edge over all potential rivals." It is a call to "transform America's prevailing power into a co-optive hegemony—one in which leadership is exercised more through shared conviction with enduring allies than by assertive domination." And because it is much more salable to past and potential allies, this traditional Democratic vision is far more dangerous than that of the inept, eccentric melange now guiding American foreign policy. (3)
But Vice-president Richard Cheney, Donald Rumsfeld, and the neoconservatives and eclectic hawks in Bush's administration are oblivious to the consequences of their recommendations or the way they shock America's overseas friends. Many of the President's key advisers possess aggressive, essentially academic geopolitical visions that assume overwhelming, decisive American military and economic power. But personalized interpretations of the Bible's allegedly missionary appeals inspire yet others, including Bush himself, and most utilize an amorphous nationalist and Messianic rhetoric that makes it impossible to predict exactly how Bush will mediate between very diverse, often quirky influences. But although he has so far favored the advocates of the United States unilaterally employing its might virtually wantonly throughout the world, no one close to the President acknowledges the limits of its power—limits that are political and, as Korea and Vietnam proved, military also.
Kerry voted for many of Bush's key foreign and domestic measures and he is, at best, a very indifferent candidate. His statements and interviews over the past months dealing with foreign affairs have mostly been both vague and incoherent, though he is explicitly and ardently pro-Israel and explicitly for regime-change in Venezuela. His policies on the Middle East are identical to Bush's and this alone will prevent the alliance with Europe from being reconstructed. On Iraq, even as violence there escalated and Kerry finally had a crucial issue with which to win the election, his position has remained indistinguishable from the President's. "Until" an Iraqi armed force can replace it, Kerry wrote in the April 13 Washington Post, the American military has to stay in Iraq—"preferably helped by NATO." "No matter who is elected president in November, we will persevere in that mission" to build a stable, pluralistic Iraq—which, I must add, has never existed and is unlikely to emerge in the foreseeable future. "It is a matter of national honor and trust." He has promised to leave American troops in Iraq for his entire first term if necessary, but he is vague about their subsequent departure. Not even the scandal over the treatment of Iraqi prisoners evoked Kerry's criticism despite the fact it has profoundly alienated a politically decisive segment of the American public.
His statements on domestic policy in favor of fiscal restraint and lower deficits, much less tax breaks for large corporations, utterly lack voter appeal. Kerry is packaging himself as an economic conservative who is also strong on defense spending—a Clinton clone—because that is precisely how he feels. His advisers are the same investment bankers who helped Clinton get the nomination in 1992 and then raised the funds to help him get elected and then defined his economic policy. The most important of them is Robert Rubin, who became Treasury secretary, and he and his cronies are running the Kerry campaign and will also dictate his economic agenda should he win. These are same men whom Stiglitz attacks as advocates of the rich and powerful.
Kerry is, to his core, an ambitious patrician educated in elite schools and anything but a populist. He is neither articulate nor impressive as a candidate or as someone who is able to formulate an alternative to Bush's foreign and defense policies, which themselves still have far more in common with Clinton's than they have differences. To be critical of Bush is scarcely justification for wishful thinking about Kerry, though every presidential election produces such illusions. Although the foreign and military policy goals of the Democrats and Republicans since 1947 have been essentially consensual, both in terms of objectives and varied means—from covert to overt warfare— of attaining them, there have been significant differences in the way they were expressed. This was far less the case with Republican presidents and presidential candidates for most of the twentieth century, and men like Taft, Hoover, Eisenhower, or Nixon were very sedate by comparison to Reagan or the present rulers in Washington. But style can be important and inadvertently the Bush Administration's falsehoods, rudeness, and preemptory demands have begun to destroy an alliance system that for the world's peace should have been abolished long ago. In this context, it is far more likely that the nations allied with the U.S. in the past will be compelled to stress their own interests and go their own ways. The Democrats are far less likely to continue that exceedingly desirable process, a process ultimately much more conducive to peace in the world. They will perpetuate the same adventurism and opportunism that began generations ago and that Bush has merely built upon, the same dependence on military means to solve political crises, the same interference with every corner of the globe as if America has a Divinely ordained mission to muck around with all the world's problems. The Democrats' greater finesse in justifying these policies is therefore more dangerous because they will be made to seem more credible and keep alive alliances that only reinforce the U.S.' refusal to acknowledge the limits of its power. In the longer run, Kerry's pursuit of these aggressive goals will lead eventually to a renewal of the dissolution of alliances, but in the short-run he will attempt to rebuild them and European leaders will find it considerably more difficult to refuse his demands than if Bush stays in power—and that is to be deplored.
The Stakes for the World
Critics of American foreign policy will not rule Washington after this election regardless of who wins. As dangerous as he is, Bush's reelection is much more likely to produce the continued destruction of the alliance system that is so crucial to American power in the long-run. Facts in no way imply moral judgments if we merely identify them. One does not have to believe that the worse the better but we have to consider candidly the foreign policy consequences of a renewal of Bush's mandate, not the least because it is likely.
Bush's policies have managed to alienate, to varying degrees, innumerable nations, and even its firmest allies—such as Britain, Australia, and Canada—are being required to ask if giving Washington a blank check is to their national interest or if it undermines the tenure of parties in power. Foreign affairs, as the terrorism in Madrid dramatically showed in March, are too important to uncritically endorse American policies. Politicians who support them have been highly vulnerable to criticism from the opposition and dissidents within their own ranks. But not only the parties in power can pay dearly for it, as in Spain, where the people were always overwhelmingly opposed to entering the war and the ruling party snatched defeat from the jaws of victory; more important are the innumerable victims among the people. The nations that have supported the Iraq war enthusiastically, particularly Great Britain, Italy, the Netherlands, and Australia, have made their populations especially vulnerable to terrorism. They now have the expensive responsibility of protecting them—if they can.
The Washington-based Pew Research Center reports on public opinion released on March 16, 2003 and subsequently showed that a rapidly increasing, large majority of the French, Germans, and even the British want an independent European foreign policy, reaching 75 percent in France in March 2004 compared to 60 percent two years earlier. The U.S. "favorability rating" plunged to 38 percent in France and Germany. Even in Britain it fell from 75 to 58 percent and the proportion of the population supporting the decision to go to war in Iraq dropped from 61 percent in May 2003 to 43 percent in March 2004.
In the year and a half since the first Pew polls were released the American war in Iraq has become increasingly bloody and there is no end of it in sight. No weapons of mass destruction have been found and it is perfectly evident that an immense lie was used to justify the hopeless conflict. Under the circumstances, world opinion has become even more critical of the U.S. and on September 8, 2004 Globescan released a comprehensive poll taken on all continents showing that in 30 countries a majority of the population feels "worse" about the U.S., and 53 percent of the respondents gave American foreign policy as the reason for their alienation. In Germany, 83 percent said that U.S. foreign policy had become worse, in France it was 81 percent, in Italy it was 66 percent and 64 percent in the UK. In all, 76 percent of the Europeans disapprove of American foreign policy, an increase of 20 percentage points in two years.
Blair's domestic credibility, after the Labour Party placed third in the June 10 local and European elections, is at its nadir. (4) Right after the political debacle in Spain the president of Poland, where a growing majority of the people has always been opposed to sending troops to Iraq or keeping them there, complained that Washington had "misled" him on Iraq's weapons of mass destruction and hinted that Poland might withdraw its 2,400 troops from Iraq earlier than previously scheduled. In Italy, by last May 71 percent of the people favored withdrawing the 2,700 Italian troops in Iraq no later than June 30, and leaders of the main opposition have already declared they will withdraw them if they win the spring 2006 elections - a promise they and other antiwar parties in Britain and Spain used in the mid-June European Parliament elections to increase significantly their power. The issue now is whether nations like Poland, Italy, or The Netherlands can afford to isolate themselves from the major European powers and their own public opinion to remain a part of the increasingly quixotic and unilateralist American-led "coalition of the willing". The political liabilities of remaining close to Washington are obvious, the advantages non-existent. All the polls indicate that alliances with the U.S. are political folly for ambitious politicians and a good way to lose elections.
What has happened in Spain is a harbinger of the future, further isolating the American government in its adventures. Four more nations of the 30-some members of the "coalition of the willing" have already withdrawn their troops, and the Ukraine—with its 1,600 soldiers—will soon follow suit. The Bush Administration sought to unite nations behind the Iraq War with a gargantuan lie—that Hussein had WMD—and failed spectacularly. Meanwhile, terrorism is stronger than ever and its arguments have far more credibility in the Muslim world. The Iraq War energized Al Qaeda and extremism and has tied down America, dividing its alliances as never before. Conflict in Iraq may escalate, as it has since March, creating a protracted armed conflict with Shiites and Sunnis that could last many months, even years. Will the nations that have sent troops to Iraq keep them there indefinitely, as Washington is increasingly likely to ask them to do? Can political leaders in the "coalition of the willing" afford conceding to insatiable American demands?
Elsewhere, Washington opposes the major European nations on Iran, in part because the neoconservatives and realists within its own ranks are deeply divided, and the same is true of its relations with Japan, South Korea, and China on how to deal with North Korea. America's effort to assert its moral and ideological superiority, crucial elements in its postwar hegemony, is failing—badly.
The way the war in Iraq was justified compelled France and Germany to become far more independent on foreign policy, far earlier, than they had intended or were prepared to do. NATO's future role is now questioned in a way that was inconceivable two years ago. Europe's future defense arrangements are today unresolved but there will be some sort of European military force independent of NATO and American control. Germany and France strongly oppose the Bush doctrine of preemption. Tony Blair, however much he intends acting as a proxy for the U.S. on military questions, must return Britain to the European project, and his willingness since late 2003 to emphasize his nation's role in Europe reflects political necessities. To do otherwise is to alienate his increasingly powerful neighbors and risk losing elections.
Even more dangerous, the Bush Administration has managed to turn what was in the mid-1990s a blossoming cordial friendship with the former Soviet Union into an increasingly tense relationship. Despite a 1997 non-binding American pledge not to station substantial numbers of combat troops in the territories of new members, NATO last March incorporated seven East European nations and is now on Russia's very borders and Washington is in the process of establishing an undetermined but significant number of bases in the Caucasus and Central Asia. Russia has stated repeatedly that the U.S. encircling it requires that it remain a military superpower and modernizing its delivery systems so that it will be more than a match for the increasingly expensive and ambitious missile defense system and space weapons the Pentagon is now building. It has 5,286 nuclear warheads and 2,922 intercontinental missiles. There is a dangerous and costly renewal of the arms race now occurring.
In February of this year Russia threatened to pull out of the crucial Conventional Forces in Europe treaty, which has yet to enter into force, because it regards America's ambitions in the former Soviet bloc as provocation. "I would like to remind the representatives of [NATO]," Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov told a security conference in Munich last February, "that with its expansion they are beginning to operate in the zone of vitally important interests of our countryŠ." And by increasingly acting unilaterally without United Nations authority, where Russia's seat on the Security Council gives it a veto power that—in Ivanov's words—is one of the "major factors for ensuring global stability," the U.S. has made international relations "very dangerous." (5) The question Washington's allies will ask themselves is whether their traditional alliances have far more risks than benefits—and if they are now necessary.
In the case of China, Bush's key advisers publicly assigned the highest priority to confronting its burgeoning military and geopolitical power the moment they came to office. But China's military budget is growing rapidly—12 percent this coming year—and the European Union wants to lift its 15-year old arms embargo and get a share of the enticingly large market. The Bush Administration, of course, is strongly resisting any relaxation of the export ban. Establishing bases on China's western borders is the logic of its ambitions.
The United States is not so much engaged in "power projection" against an amorphously defined terrorism by installing bases in small or weak Eastern European and Central Asian nations as once more confronting Russia and China in an open-ended context which may have profoundly serious and protracted consequences neither America's allies nor its own people have any interest or inclination to support. Even some Pentagon analysts have warned against this strategy because any American attempt to save failed states in the Caucasus or Central Asia, implicit in its new obligations, will risk exhausting what are ultimately its finite military resources. (6) The political crisis now wracking Uzbekistan makes this fear very real.
There is no way to predict what emergencies will arise or what these commitments entail, either for the U. S. or its allies, not the least because—as Iraq proved last year and Vietnam long before it—America's intelligence on the capabilities and intentions of possible enemies against which it is ready to preempt is so completely faulty. Without accurate information a state can believe and do anything, and this is the predicament the Bush Administration's allies are in. It is simply not to their national interest, much less to the political interests of those now in power or the security of their people, to pursue foreign policies based on a blind, uncritical acceptance of fictions or flamboyant adventurism premised on false premises and information. It is far too open-ended both in terms of potential time and political costs involved. If Bush is reelected, America's allies and friends will have to confront such stark choices, a painful process that will redefine and probably shatter existing alliances. Many nations, including the larger, powerful ones, will embark on independent, realistic foreign policies, and the dramatic events in Spain have reinforced this likelihood.
But the United States will be more prudent, and the world will be far safer, only if it is constrained by a lack of allies and isolated. And that is happening.
1. Joseph E. Stiglitz, The Roaring Nineties: A New History of the World's Most Prosperous Decade, New York, 2003, passim.
2. Gabriel Kolko, Another Century of War?, New York, 2004, passim.
3. Zbigniew Brzezinski, The Choice: Global Domination or Global Leadership, New York, 2004, passim.
4. Pew Research Center, "A Year After the Iraq War," March 16, 2004.
5. Wade Boese, "Russia, NATO at Loggerheads Over Military Bases," Arms Control Today, March 2004; Los Angeles Times, March 26, 2004.
6. Dr. Stephen J. Blank, "Toward a New U.S. Strategy in Asia," U.S. Army Strategic Studies Institute, February 24, 2004.
"A popular government without popular information, or the means of acquiring it, is but a prologue to a farce or a tragedy, or perhaps both. Knowledge will forever govern ignorance, and a people who mean to be their own governors must arm themselves with the power which knowledge gives." - James Madison, from a letter to W.T. Barry, August 4, 1822.
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Poll of 35 Countries Finds 30 Prefer Kerry, 3 Bush
Traditional US Allies Strongly Favor Kerry
Bush Preferred in Philippines, Poland and Nigeria
Most Say Bush Foreign Policy Has Made Them Feel Worse Toward US
For release: September 8, 2004 12:30 pm
Steven Kull 202-232-7500
Lloyd Hetherington 416-969-3085
Washington DC: In 30 out of 35 countries polled, from all regions of the world, a majority or plurality would prefer to see John Kerry win the US presidential election-especially traditional US allies. The only countries where President Bush was preferred were the Philippines, Nigeria, and Poland. India and Thailand were divided. On average, Kerry was favored by more than a two-to-one margin-46% to 20% (weighted for variations in population, the ratio was not significantly different). Overall, one-third did not give an answer.
The poll of 34,330 people was conducted mainly during July and August 2004 by GlobeScan and its worldwide network of research institutes, in conjunction with the Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) of the University of Maryland. Due to the difficulties of polling in developing countries, in eleven countries, polling was limited to metropolitan areas. The margin of error ranged from +/- 2.3-5%. [Reference 1 is the press release announcing this report]
Steven Kull, director of PIPA, comments, "Only one in five want to see Bush reelected. Though he is not as well known, Kerry would win handily if the people of the world were to elect the US president." Support for Kerry was greater among those with higher education and income levels. Asked how the foreign policy of President Bush has affected their feelings toward the US, in 30 countries a majority or plurality said it made them feel "worse" about America, while in 3 countries, more of the respondents said that it had made them feel "better" towards America. On average, 53% of respondents said Bush's foreign policy made them feel worse about the US, while 19% said it made them feel better.
GlobeScan President Doug Miller says, "Perhaps most sobering for Americans is the strength of the view that US foreign policy is on the wrong track, even in countries contributing troops in Iraq."
Kerry was strongly preferred among all of America's traditional allies. These included Norway (74% for Kerry to 7% for Bush), Germany (74% to 10%), France (64% to 5%), the Netherlands (63% to 6%), Italy (58% to 14%), and Spain (45% to 7%). Even in the UK, Kerry was preferred by more than 30 percentage points (47% to 16%).
Among Canadians, Kerry was preferred by 61% to 16% and among the Japanese by 43% to 23%. The exception for Bush in Europe was a new ally, Poland, where he was preferred by a narrow plurality of 31% against 26% for Kerry. Another new ally, however, the Czech Republic, went for Kerry (42% to 18%), as did Sweden (58% to 10%),
Asia was the most mixed region, though Kerry still did better. He was preferred by clear majorities in China (52% to 12%) and Indonesia (57% to 34%), as well as by a large margin in Japan (43% to 23%). But publics were divided in India (Kerry 34%, Bush 33%) and Thailand (Kerry 30%, Bush 33%).
Asia was also the sole region in which Bush garnered more than 50 percent support from a country, with 57% of Filipinos favoring him (Kerry 32%). Bush's post-9/11 aid to the Filipino government's efforts against the terrorist group Abu Sayyaf may have engendered significant goodwill.
Latin Americans went for Kerry in all nine countries polled. In only two cases did Kerry win a majority-Brazil (57% to 14%) and the Dominican Republic (51% to 38%)-but in most cases the spread was quite wide. These included Venezuela (48% to 22%), Colombia (47% to 26%), Argentina (43% to 6%), Mexico (38% to 18%), Uruguay (37% to 5%), Peru (37% to 26%), and Bolivia (25% to 16%).
Bush was preferred in Nigeria with 33%, as compared to 27% for Kerry. However, Kerry was preferred in the five other African states polled, including Kenya (58% to 25%), Ghana (48% to 24%), Tanzania (44% to 30%), South Africa (43% to 29%), and Zimbabwe (28% to 6%).
In Eurasian states, Kerry led, though a significant number did not express a preference. In Russia, Kerry was preferred 20% to 10%, Turkey 40% to 25%, and in Kazakhstan 40% to 12%. Interestingly, among countries that have contributed troops to the operation in Iraq, most favored Kerry and said that their view of the US has gotten worse with Bush's foreign policy. These include the UK, the Czech Republic, Italy, the Netherlands, the Dominican Republic, Kazakhstan, Japan, Norway, and Spain. Thailand was divided on Kerry and Bush (33% Bush-30% Kerry). But slightly more Thais said their view of the US has gotten better (35% to 30% worse)
However, this group also included the two countries most favorable to Bush-the Philippines and Poland. Among Filipinos, 57% said they prefer Bush over Kerry, and 58% say that their view of US foreign policy has gotten better. But among Poles, though a modest plurality favored Bush (31% to 26%), a plurality of 41% said that their view of US foreign policy has gotten worse, while only 15% say it has gotten better.
Strongest negative views of US foreign policy were held in Germany (83% say "worse"), France (81%), Mexico (78%), China (72%), Canada (71%), Netherlands (71%), Spain (67%), Brazil (66%), Italy (66%), Argentina (65%), and the UK (64%). The only countries in which more said that the Bush foreign policy made them feel better toward the US were: the Philippines, (58% better-27% worse), India (38% better-33% worse) and Thailand (35% better and 30% worse). Nigeria was divided (36% better-34% worse) as was Venezuela (33% better-34% worse).
GlobeScan Incorporated http://www.GlobeScan.com is a global public opinion and stakeholder research firm with offices in Toronto, London and Washington. GlobeScan conducts custom research and annual tracking studies on global issues. With a research network spanning 40+ countries, GlobeScan works with global companies, multilateral agencies, national governments and non-government organizations to deliver research-based insights for successful strategies.
The Program on International Policy Attitudes (PIPA) http://www.pipa.org is a joint program of the Center on Policy Attitudes and the Center for International and Security Studies at the University of Maryland. PIPA undertakes research on attitudes in both the public and in the policymaking community toward a variety of international and foreign policy issues. It seeks to disseminate its findings to members of government, the press, and the public as well as academia.