Old Europe Coming Around?

Dan Drezner reports that a new survey conducted by the German Marshall Fund demonstrates that, while the Germans and French still hate the U.S. and President Bush, they don’t hate us quite as much as they did a few months ago:

When asked how they felt about the U.S. taking a strong role in world affairs, majorities in France and Germany said that it was undesirable, 65% and 57%, respectively. While these figures would appear quite negative, they actually represent an improvement of 8 and 3 percentage points in France and Germany, since June, 2004.

The same survey revealed this:

Respondents were asked to choose between two courses of action for preventing Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. One choice, described as supported by many American policymakers, included the threat of military action. The other, “European” choice emphasized diplomacy and soft power. Despite the identification of the first option as the “American” choice, only 30% of American respondents selected this course. Fifty-five percent of Americans supported the “European” approach, as did 82% of French and 91% of the German respondents. American support for a “soft power” strategy vis-a-vis Iran went up even further when the supporters of military action were offered a chance to change their position in return for European support on keeping Iran from acquiring nuclear weapons. Over 39% of Americans who initially chose the “American” position were willing to change their approach in order to gain the support of European allies.

So, all sides agree that a non-military solution would be preferable if it could achieve the objectives. Of course, if military action does turn out to be necessary, my guess is that the rift will widen.

Corrected closing after realizing, via a comment below, that I’d misread the numbers.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. kenny says:

    “by margins nearly triple that of Americans”


    It’s 82 and 91% for the french and germans respectively who favour the “soft power” approach,
    not the “military action” approach which 30% of the americans do.

    They’re not asking the US to do the ‘heavy lifting’.