By Andrey Fedyashin
If Europeans were allowed to decide who should be the next president of the United States, Mitt Romney would never move into the White House, as follows from an opinion poll held by the British YouGov company in cooperation with Cambridge University.
In Germany, France and Britain, only one in 20 respondents sympathizes with the US Republican nominee.
The participation of Cambridge, one of the world’s top universities, turns it into a kind of research verdict. Europeans are surprisingly unanimous in their dislike of Romney. In Britain, just 3% of the respondents think positively of him, compared with 4% in Germany and 5% in France. Even in Pakistan, the Middle East and Africa, he has more supporters than in Europe. These conclusions will hardly be a shock either to Romney’s campaign staff or to America in general. Americans have never cared what the “good old Europe” says, while U.S. presidential candidates try to look as unlike European as possible. But people’s personal attitude to Romney left aside, the poll reveals common distrust in the U.S. foreign policy among Europeans. Actually, it’s not just about Romney, who, though apparently having no clear-cut foreign political line of his own, has a team of 30 advisors. With Romney’s
“diplomatic squad” manned by neo-Conservatives from the Bush-Junior era, it’s easy to guess where his aggressive rhetoric, equally frightening to Europe, Africa and Asia, comes from. Thus, he vowed to support an Israeli strike against Iran and wage a trade war on China, and called Russia America’s top foe.
The majority of those polled – between 40% and 70% – believe that in 20 years the United States will cede the global lead over to China. Russian analysts do not think it unlikely. Perhaps, Europe is already reorienting itself. Andrei Volodin is the head of the Center for Oriental Studies at the Russian Diplomatic Academy.
“Europe will have to adapt itself to new realities. It will have to take into account a shift in the geopolitical development axis eastwards – towards the Asian-Pacific region. Germany has been and will remain the Orient’s most pragmatic partner. It has close economic and political ties with Russia and is steadily expanding its relations with China.”
Andrei Ostrovsky, Assistant Director of the Institute for Far-Eastern Studies of the Russian Academy of Sciences, is more cautious in his assessments.
“So far, attempts by individual countries, such as Portugal, Spain and Italy, to orientate themselves to China have been paralyzed, and attempts by China to win over Europeans have been contained and aborted because all the aforementioned countries are member states of the European Union and NATO.”
True, foreign policy is not the dominant topic of the U.S. presidential race, but that does not mean it can’t be used as a pre-election tool. In his campaign speeches, Barack Obama keeps reminding voters that Romney knows nothing about foreign policy and that it wouldn’t be safe to entrust a nuclear superpower to such a man.