That Pew poll on NATO, Germany, ...

By Katie Simmons, Bruce Stokes and Jacob Poushter

I'll just assume that this poll is a quite accurate representation of public opinions. It's difficult to tell whether it is, and I have read expressions of doubts already.

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The poll held two surprises for me, maybe because I don't remember its predecessors' results:

I didn't know I'm this close to German public opinion in several aspects. Maybe that's because the published opinion is considerably more "pro-Atlantisch".
There were plenty indications for a growing divide between public and published opinion on a wide range of topics, though.

The other surprise was how few of the answers indicate the kind of seemingly self-evident support for meeting collective security obligations - in all countries.
Italy, sure.*
U.S. maybe - faithfulness to international treaties isn't exactly a cornerstone of their culture.
Yet 34-58 % across NATO is far above the percentage you get for any kind of nonsense (such as 'lizard people rule the world') in polls. It's substantial.
I wouldn't have guessed more than 10-20%, though the exact choice of words in the different languages may have made a huge difference.

I was planning to write a bit more about NATO anyway, particularly about how irrational membership in it appears to be for some members (Canada, Spain or Belgium for example) given the current situation. Now I'm a bit more motivated.

Maybe I should ponder some more about the role of nuclear deterrence in Europe post-1990 as well. There may be a stronger 'Small conflicts are not worth the slightest risk of WW3!' component in it than I believed. I did note some hysterical-sounding newspaper online comments and other hints along those lines since 2014 anyway.

2008-04 Alliances and guarantee of independence


*: Italians cannot complain about this cheap shot - Germans are entitled to it, period.

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