The Pew polling revealed some interesting attitudes among the people of NATO member nations:
The most damning results were to the question "If Russia got into a serious military conflict with one your neighboring countries a) Would the US responded militarily and b) Should your nation respond militarily?
Of the ten populations polled in only four did a majority feel that their nation should
respond. A majority of every population believe the US would make good on its commitment to respond militarily; with the lowest results being Poland - 57% and Hungary - 55%.
60% of the populations polled don't believe their nations should meet their treaty obligation, and 100% are confident that the US will. That's pretty remarkable
Huge kudos to the Dutch!
69% of those polled had faith in the US (second only to Spain at 70%), but even more (72%) believed their nation should
come to the aid of an ally.
Similarly, more Poles believed Poland should respond (62%) that did those who believed the US would (57%)
Faith in the US was at 60% or higher in every Western European nation and Canada. I can understand why Poles and Hungarians may have had fewer true-believers. Their histories are such that they have every reason to distrust superpowers and they were not among the nations saved from or assisted in fighting the Nazis
Greeks were the least interested in seeing their nation respond militarily, but at least they are willing to fund NATO at a rate in excess of their commitment - 2.6% which is second only to the US. Italy is second from the bottom and contributes a pitiful 1.2% so what is their excuse? Maybe all those jokes about their cowardly military have some truth to them.
The ever proud French came in at 53% but it was still a majority. Good for them. Our good friends in Canada came in at 58%. Not to disparage them in any way but if those polled gave the question any thought they would have realized the only neighboring country that would fit the question is the US, and clearly, we are going to respond to any attack against us by Russia, but if we lost, Canada would be next so joining the fray would seem to be the only sensible course of action other than surrendering to the Russians.
Major disappointments were Germany & the UK. The people of both nations are very confident the US will stick by the treaty, but only 40% and 45%, respectively feel their nations should
. Is anyone really prepared to argue that their opposition to spending more on their military is not based on their desire to let the US carry the load for them? Frankly, I would be ashamed of Americans as a whole if we responded similarly. Do these people think they are being clever, or do they realize they are thinking like selfish, spoiled children and simply don't care?
Of the 28 NATO members, only 5 meet or exceed the agreed upon level of spending (and I'm including Poland at 1.99%)
16 nations (including Canada - 1.29%, and Germany - 1.24%) can't even manage 1.5%. My new best buddies the Dutch are lower down than Italy with a lousy 1.15% but at least they are willing to put their asses on the line (or at least say they are in a poll
It is surprising and disappointing that only one of the Eastern European and Baltic States is paying what they promised - Estonia at 2.08. There are 12 nations in this group and while countries like Poland, Romania, and Latvia are close (Closer than Canada & Germany), half of them fall below the 1.5% mark. Arguably, NATO is more important to this group than it is to all the other members since if Russia should ever decide to move on Europe, it's not going to leapfrog any of these countries AND they are well aware of what Russian occupation is like. (I haven't included Turkey in this group because its ties to Europe and the West are dubious and I feel pretty certain that under their current government they will renege on treaty obligations at the first shot. They are deadbeats and their willingness to allow their NATO allies to use their airbases or to fly through their airspace is sketchy at best. The weapons they buy with their 1.48% are just as likely to be used on one of their NATO allies as on Russia or any other invader.
The polling also shows that a plurality (close to a majority at 48%) of Americans feel that NATO members are not pulling their weight. This is unfair to several nations (most notably the UK) that have been willing to join the US (in a significant way) in sending troops to conflict areas, but as a whole, it's probably going too easy on NATO.
Finally, the Pew poll showing a surge in support for NATO among Democrats has nothing to do with a sudden increase in historical perspective and strategic acumen among these folks and everything to do with their antipathy for Trump and his scolding of NATO deadbeats. Another perfect example of this TDS symptom was how the left fell in love with Kim Jung Un's sister when she appeared at the Olympics. It was no coincidence that it occurred during the time Trump was exchanging harsh rhetoric with Kim. As soon as Trump spoke nicely about Kim after their meeting these same folks rushed to remind us of what a monster he is.
The drop in approval of US leadership of NATO is neither surprising nor alarming. Deadbeats rarely appreciate being reminded that they owe money and they love US presidents who begin their first term by embarking on an international Apology Tour
during which they assure the rest of the world that the US will stop being such a dickhead. There is zero evidence that the US was better off in terms of geopolitics during the 8 years of Obama's presidency because the average Berliner, Londoner, or Belgian viewed him as a pop-idol.
It is unfortunate that for some of these people, the only exposure they have to Trump is biased, overwhelmingly negative coverage in world media outlets like the BBC. Notice Poland's regard has increased by 8% and I would venture to say that Trump visit and speech there had a lot to do with that.
I'm not a Rasmussen subscriber so I couldn't see the entire article but the 52% favorable rating among Americans corresponds pretty nicely with Pews finding of 48% who think NATO doesn't do enough. It's worth noting though that the title of the article is "Support for NATO is down"
It's unfortunate that none of the polling organizations seem to have asked Americans the obvious questions about how they feel about NATO members not meeting their spending obligations, and whether or not they think Trump is right to pressure them to do so now.
I have a very favorable view of the treaty, but that is not the same as viewing all of its members favorably in terms of the fulfillment of their treaty obligations. Should the deadbeat nations fail to meet their spending commitments I don't believe the US should withdraw from NATO, but I don't believe Trump is inclined to do so (He would require the approval of the Senate, and that's not going to happen.) He could, to one degree or another, have the US disengage in various ways. Less participation in joint training exercises, less actual US dollars going to run its administrative organization, etc. None of such things would truly degrade NATO's ability to respond to a military crisis, but they would send a message. The message would likely fall on deaf ears as far as the deadbeats go, but it's a lot better than allowing them to continue to duck their obligations without any consequence at all. If the only consequence is continued hectoring from Trump, that's good enough for now, perhaps, just perhaps, it will lead to the people of these nations assessing their national character.