Eighty per cent of US citizens believe the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) should be maintained despite doubts about the alliance among the Trump administration, a latest Gallup poll has found. According to Gallup, this is sharply up from 64 per cent in 1995 when the same question was asked back then. But there is big difference in Americans’ partisan views of the NATO, as 97 per cent of Democrats voice support to the alliance, compared to 69 per cent of Republicans, Xinhua news agency reported.
When Gallup first asked people in US about their views on NATO in July 1989, 75 per cent thought the alliance should be maintained. Americans’ support to the alliance dropped to 62 per cent in 1991, months before the Soviet Union’s formal collapse. Three years later, support for the alliance increased to 70 per cent, but it dipped back down to 64 per cent in 1995 during NATO’s intervention in the Bosnian War, according to Gallup.
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The latest Gallup’s poll was conducted on February 1 to 5 after the election victory of Republican candidate Donald Trump in the 2016 US presidential election. During his campaign, Trump questioned the traditional US commitment to the alliance, referring to it as “obsolete”. But he has since backed down from that position after his inauguration in January by reaffirming the US commitment to the NATO and agreeing to attend its summit in May.
US Vice President Mike Pence reaffirmed the “unwavering” commitment to the NATO on Saturday during a speech to the European security conference held in Munich, Germany. But Pence also urged NATO members to increase their defense spending to share the financial burden of protecting the security of Europe, where a number of US troops have been stationed.
US Defense Secretary James Mattis, while reiterating the US commitment at the same conference, also warned that Washington could “moderate its commitment” to the NATO if other countries do not increase their defense spending.