BRUSSELS: A majority of Europeans and Americans strongly oppose their countries intervening militarily in Syria’s civil war, according to a transatlantic poll published yesterday.
Transatlantic Trends, an annual survey of public opinion in the United States and Europe, also found that China’s image in both continents was deteriorating and most Europeans did not want to see Beijing take strong leadership in world affairs.
The survey, by the German Marshall Fund of the United States, a US think tank that promotes cooperation between North America and Europe, and the Compagnia di San Paolo, an Italy-based private foundation, measured public opinion in 11 European Union countries, Turkey and the United States.
The poll found 62 percent of Americans and 72 percent of Europeans believed their countries should avoid military intervention in Syria’s civil war. Only 30 percent of Americans and 22 percent of Europeans felt their countries should intervene in Syria.
In Turkey, 72 percent said their country should stay out, while 21 percent favoured intervention. In all regions, the survey found a hardening of attitudes against outside intervention, compared with last year.
The US and Russia agreed last Saturday on a proposal to eliminate Syria’s chemical weapons arsenal, averting the possibility of any immediate US military action.
On Iran, Europeans and Americans said economic sanctions were the best way to prevent the acquisition of nuclear weapons. Very few Europeans but 18 percent of Americans backed military action against Iran when presented with a range of options ranging from offering economic incentives to accepting that Iran could acquire nuclear arms.
Russia also had an image problem. Forty-six percent of Americans viewed Russian global leadership as undesirable, as did 65 percent of Europeans and 67 percent of Turks. Fifty-nine percent of Americans, 62 percent of Europeans and 68 percent of Turks had a negative view of Russia.
Countries surveyed were France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Spain, Sweden, Britain, the US and Turkey. About 1,000 people were polled in beach country between June 3 and July 2.