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Where are the allies?

On the basis of the data presented in this book, it is also possible to examine more, in particular, where support or rather opposition is to be expected for the likely policies of any American administration, and hence, which countries and groups can, on the basis of their domestic public opinion, be considered obstacles to or rather supporters of a transatlantic rapprochement with the new administration that took over in Washington in 2009.

We can look in particular at the positions on the typology of attitudes on power. In the US, the obvious coalition is one between Pragmatists and Hawks, but in Europe given the prevailing distributions, it is hardly possible to find a viable coalition that would not have to include a strong Dovish influence. From this perspective, public opinion in all European countries is more congenial to a Democrat president than to a re-elected Republican, should this happen again in the future.

Although this would be more difficult in Germany, Slovakia and Spain, given their large Dovish segments, Obama as Democratic president can build working coalitions of Pragmatists and Doves in all European countries, including perhaps even France and Germany. This would appear to be much more difficult for a Republican president, as it was since 2004 for the then re-elected President Bush (and again in 2008). He remained dependent on a fairly large Hawkish segment at home, and was not able to count on similar groups in any of the European countries, with the possible exception of Great Britain. Given the relative size of the two groups among the supporters of the ruling coalitions, with Pragmatists being more numerous than Doves in Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal and the United Kingdom, the chances for raising support for more moderate foreign policies than those pursued under the previous administration are best in these countries, but still fairly small. In addition to France and Germany, relations with public opinion in Slovakia and Spain are likely to remain strained.

Since the events of 2003, some interesting changes have taken place among countries, however. One consequence is that these changes probably would have made overall relations even harder to manage for a future Republican administration. There is a strengthening of the Pragmatists-Doves coalitions in all European countries, but with different implications for those countries in which the government took a stand on Iraq opposite to what public opinion wanted. In France, Italy, Germany and Portugal, Doves increased and Pragmatists decreased. Italy and Portugal, however, are countries that were committed to supporting the US militarily in Iraq, while France and Germany were not. If the shift noted above has any impact, it means less domestic leeway for the government in the first group of countries and more domestic rigidity in future negotiations for France and Germany.

 
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