For Europe, USA is global leader no more, but still partner to contain Russia

Europe loses confidence in USA, sees China as new world leader

In late 2020, the European Council on Foreign Relations conducted a survey in eleven EU countries. As many as 15,000 people took part in the study, the results of which showed that the majority of Europeans considered the US political system "broken." In addition, as the survey showed, most people see China becoming the world's leading power during the new decade. There is something about Russia in the study too.

Didn't live up to trust

Despite the fact that most Europeans welcome Joe Biden's victory in the US presidential election, many of those who participated in the survey believe that the United States cannot be trusted after four years of Donald Trump's presidency.

"Europeans like Biden, but they don't think America will come back as a global leader," Mark Leonard, the director of the think tank said, The Guardian wrote. "When George W Bush was president, they were divided about how America should use its power. With Biden entering the White House, they are divided about whether America has power at all," he also said.

According to Ivan Krastev, the head of the Center for Liberal Strategies, "many Europeans who remain skeptical about USA's current possibilities want to opt for a more independent role for the EU in the world."

The majority of participants - 51 percent - believe that during Biden's stay at power, the United States will most likely not be able to resolve its domestic issues, nor will it be looking for solutions to international problems, such as climate change, European security, peace in the Middle East, or conflicted relations with China.

With regard to China, according to 79 percent of those polled in Spain, 72 percent in Portugal and the same number of respondents in Italy, 63 percent in France, China will overtake the United States as the world's leading power over the next decade.
Europe does not want to support the US

It is worth noting that a third of survey participants believe that the United States should not be trusted at all, after many Americans voted for Trump in the November election. In Germany, the number of such people is noticeably larger - 53 percent. In Hungary and Poland, where Trump-supporting conservatives are still in power, there are a lot more of those who do not share such a point of view.

  • Only ten percent of those polled see the United States a "reliable" security partner that will always act to protect Europe. At the same time, at least 60 percent in each of the eleven EU countries said that they had doubts about whether their country could count on US support in the event of a crisis.
  • Two-thirds of those polled said that it was important for Europe to take care of its own defense: 72 percent in Portugal, 71 percent in Sweden, 70 percent in France and 69 percent in Poland.
  • At least half of respondents in each of the countries surveyed said that they would prefer their government to be neutral in the conflict between the United States and China.

As for Russia, an average of 23 percent of survey participants said that their country should side with the United States in a possible conflict with the Russian Federation. About 59 percent said that their governments should remain neutral.

It is worthy of note that many respondents in most of the surveyed countries believe that Germany has become more important parter for their countries than the United States.

Of course, experts associate such sentiments with four years of Donald Trump's rule. Indeed, he openly showed his dislike for many European politicians.

However, European politicians also made quite a few statements that could change the rules of the game. In particular, French President Emmanuel Macron appears to be an active supporter of a more independent role for the EU in the international arena. Macron is not alone at this point.

One is left to wonder how quickly the Joe Biden administration will try to change this state of affairs, and what reactions it is going to generate in Europe. Nevertheless, judging by the fact that almost all European leaders congratulated Biden almost immediately after his elections in November, there are high hopes in Europe that many things will go back to where they were before Trump.

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Author`s name Oleg Artyukov