Frågor och svar till Craig Kennedy

Av: Anna Tornberg

2011-09-14 |

För tionde året i rad har German Marshall Fund genomfört en omfattande opinionsmätning i USA, EU och Turkiet kring viktiga globala frågor som rör säkerhet, ekonomi, demokrati och militära interventioner. Av de 12 EU-länder som ingår i mätningen deltar Sverige för första gången i år. Craig Kennedy, President, German Marshall Fund of the United States  svarar här på några frågor om årets undersökning och vad som förvånade honom mest med de svenska siffrorna.

1. What do you personally think was the most interesting, or surprising, news when you look at the results of Transatlantic Trends 2011?
First, the shift in U.S. attitudes toward Asia. This year’s survey captured  a siesmic shift in American attitudes. In 2004, 54% of Americans saw Europe as more vital to U.S. interests. This year, 51 % of Americans saw the countries of Asia as more important. In addition, there is a clear generational divide in the United States, with a strong majority of those in the 18-to-44 range seeing Asia as more important and those 45 and older seeing Europe as being more important to U.S. interests.

American and European attitudes are converging on Afghanistan. In both the EU and the United States, 66% of respondents felt troop levels in Afghanistan should be reduced or withdrawn completely. While Europeans have consistently held a pessimistic view on the prospects of stabilizing Afghanistan, for the first year a majority of U.S. respondents (56%)  were pessimistic about Afghanistan.

Despite the continuing economic crisis, Europeans remain commited to the European Union. A majority of Europeans (53%) feel that the Euro was or would be bad for the national economy. By contrast, two in three Europeans (67%) see European Union membership as being or would be positive for the national economy.

2. How would you say that the transatlantic relations has changed over the past ten years?
Over the past ten years, Transatlatic Trends followed European opinion about the desirability of U.S. leadership in world affairs from its highest after 9/11 (64% in 2002) to its lowest (36% in 2004) following the invasion of Iraq. Since the election of Barack Obama in 2008, a majority of Europeans have consistently viewed U.S. leadership as desirable.

3. What impact would you say that Sweden’s participation in the Transatlantic Trends survey has had on this years results?
Sweden provided a new perspective as the first Nordic Country and first non-NATO country. In  many ways, Sweden provided great context for the other countries we poll and served as a ”good example” in the sense that the Swedish government received positive ratings from its own people on a number of issues.  For example, Swedish respondents had the highest approval rating for the way the government handled the economy (68%) and international affairs in general (74%), were the least affected by the economic crisis (31%), were not only the most likely to support intervention in Libya (69%) but also the most optimistic about stabilizing the situation in Libya (59%), and were the most supportive for maintaining troop levels in Afghanistan (48%)

4. Was there anything in the survey that surprised you about Sweden? 
As I mentioned before, as a non-member of NATO, it was surprising that Sweden showed the highest support for international intervention in Libya, and that probably reflects the fact that it was approved by the UN and was met with broad consensus in the Swedish government. 

5. Ten years from now, what do you think will be the big focus in the transatlantic relations?
With 82% of Americans and 60% of Europeans being personally affected by the economic crisis, economic questions are likely to dominate transatlantic relations. This may indicate a shifting away from the transatlantic relationship as economic opportunities arise. Already, Americans seeing Asia (51%) as increasingly more important to U.S. interests  than Europe (38%). 

However, the foundation is there for transatlantic cooperation to remain strong. Majorities in the United States (71%) and Europe (64%) still believe there are enough common values to cooperate on international problems.  And the 62% of Americans and 58% of Europeans that view NATO as still essential to national security reflect a shared commitment to the transatlantic relationship.

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