Home Communication Public Opinion, Transatlantic Relations and the Use of Force
Toward a typology of attitudes on the use of force
In combination, the two questions referred to above (the relative importance of economic versus military power, and the appropriateness of military force in the pursuit of justice) allow us to develop a general typology of attitudes on the use of international force.28 By dichotomizing the answers to these two questions into agree/disagree, a simple fourfold typology of attitudes can be developed. We label the four groups yielded by the typology hawks, pragmatists, doves and isolationists respectively.
Hawks believe that war is sometimes necessary to obtain justice and that military power is more important than economic power. Pragmatists are those who too believe that war is sometimes necessary to obtain justice but that economic power is becoming more important than military power. Doves disagree that war is sometimes necessary and believe that economic power is becoming more important than military power. Isolationists29 believe neither that war is sometimes necessary nor that economic power is becoming more important in world affairs. The figures for the overall sizes of the four groups in the period 2003-2009 in the US and each of the European countries for which we have data are given in Table 3.7. This typology has considerable explanatory power (Asmus, Everts and Isernia, 2004, 2004a).
The data show, first of all, a remarkable difference in terms of the structure of American and European public opinion. While Pragmatists constitute the largest group in the US, in Europe the Doves are most numerous.30 What really makes the American case unique, however, is the existence of a fairly large segment (some 14 percent of the general public) of the American population that according to our measurement falls into the Hawk category. Hawks in the US are five times as numerous as in Europe. In contrast, Doves are a small minority in the US (10 percent) unlike Europe, where they form a stable majority. Finally, Isolationists are really a marginal group, comprising only three percent of the populace in the US and seven percent in Europe. The second observation is that most European countries are actually very close together in terms of the typology, which warrants treating them as a whole and comparing them with the United States.31
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