Europeans prepare to face up to their responsibilities
Analysis - 30 November 2010
The ‘contamination effect’ of the eight-year-old Afghan war and the long-term effects of the overwhelming public hostility to the Iraq war have left the European public generally hostile to the use of force to pursue national interests – this is particularly important with regard to European attitudes towards the use of force in the defence of the interests of ‘the West’.
But there is strong support among the European public for an EU-US partnership in the security arena (with the exception of the Afghan theatre) and clear backing for Euro-American initiatives to deal with global challenges, most notably on non-proliferation. Support for engagement with other partners is growing, while Europeans favour a multilateral approach to guaranteeing world security. Somewhat unsurprisingly, Europeans do not see the Afghan war as leading to increased international security. The public believe that terrorism must be fought through non-military means, relying primarily on intelligence services, police and justice. There is no support among the European public for the use of military force to defend Western interests abroad.