WASHINGTON — As NATO faces a resurgent Russian military, a substantial number of Europeans do not believe that their own countries should rush to defend an ally against attack, according to a comprehensive survey to be made public on Wednesday.
NATO’s charter states that an attack against one member should be considered an attack against all, but the survey points to the challenges the alliance faces in trying to maintain its cohesion in the face of an increasingly aggressive Russia.
“At least half of Germans, French and Italians say their country should not use military force to defend a NATO ally if attacked by Russia,” the Pew Research Center said it found in its survey, which is based on interviews in 10 nations.
“Our data shows that Germans, French and Italians have little inclination to come to a NATO ally’s defense,” said Bruce Stokes, the director for global economic attitudes at the Pew Research Center, “and if the next military conflict in the region is hybrid warfare, and there is some debate who these Russian-speaking fighters are, such attitudes will only further inhibit NATO’s response.”
The Pew report is based on 11,116 telephone and face-to-face interviews in eight NATO countries as well as Russia and Ukraine. The interviews were conducted from early April to mid-May, and the results have a margin of error of roughly plus or minus three to four percentage points, the center said.
Residents of most NATO countries apparently don't understand how an alliance works.
Not all of the data in the Pew report is bad news for NATO. According to the study, residents of most NATO countries still believe that the United States would come to their defense. Americans and Canadians also largely say that their countries should act militarily to defend a NATO ally, and nearly half of the British, Polish and Spanish respondents say the same.
Yeah, why would the invader be responsible for the violence? It's probably the Ukrainians who scandalously try to defend their country from invasion. Or maybe Ukraine is to blame because they think they can just decide things for themselves?
But the study highlights sharp differences within the alliance’s ranks. Of all those surveyed, Poles were most alarmed by Moscow’s muscle flexing, with 70 percent saying that Russia was a major military threat.
Germany, a critical American ally in the effort to forge a Ukraine peace settlement, was at the other end of the spectrum. Only 38 percent of Germans said that Russia was a danger to neighboring countries aside from Ukraine, and only 29 percent blamed Russia for the violence in Ukraine.
Consequently, 58 percent of Germans do not believe that their country should use force to defend another NATO ally. Just 19 percent of Germans say NATO weapons should be sent to the Ukrainian government to help it better contend with Russian and separatist attacks.
Support for the NATO alliance in Germany was tallied at 55 percent, down from 73 percent in 2009. Those results are influenced by Germans in the eastern part of the country, who are more than twice as likely as western Germans to have confidence in President Vladimir V. Putin of Russia.
www.nytimes.com/2015/06/10/wor…I have to wonder, if an ally being invaded is not a legitimate reason to use your military for many Europeans, then what the fuck is?
In the United States, the study notes, support for NATO remains fairly strong. Americans and Canadians, it says, were the only nationalities surveyed in which more than half of those polled believed that their country should take military action if Russia attacked a NATO ally. Forty-six percent of Americans believe that the United States should provide arms to the Ukrainian government, though Republicans are more likely than Democrats to support such a move.