NATO challenge: Baltic states wary of Russia

A survey by the Pew research centre has shown the challenges that NATO has over Russia

NATO challenge: Baltic states wary of Russia

World Bulletin / News Desk

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 June 10.

According to a report in the New York Times, 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.

The charter by NATO  charter equates an attack against one member should be considered an attack against all, but the results of the survey show the challenges the alliance faces in trying to maintain its cohesion in the face of Russia.

Estonia, Lithuania and Latvia have been concerned that they will be the targets of an attack by Russia, similar to annexation of Crimea last year.

According to Bruce Stokes, the director for global economic attitudes at the Pew Research Center, he said,“Our data shows that Germans, French and Italians have little inclination to come to a NATO ally’s defense,”, “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.

The Western alliance has long found it difficult to mobilize public support for military spending. But public opinion is not always decisive in shaping NATO policy.

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.

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 Putin of Russia.

In the United States - the nationalities being surveyed being American and Canadian- the study notes, support for NATO remains fairly strong.  Forty-six percent of Americans believe that the United States should give arms to the Ukrainian government.

The findings on Russians’ attitudes are likely to be disappointing for NATO supporters.

Although most Russians were not happy with the state of the econmy, they did not blame Mr. Putin but the drop in oil prices and the West’s efforts to punish Russia. The Russians have stood firmly behind their President, relying on him to do the right thing on international affairs. This was the highest poll result since research began in 2003.

 

Güncelleme Tarihi: 10 Haziran 2015, 15:37
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