US Vs Russia – Public Opinion Polls Reveal Growing Disagreement

In 1946, the Chargé d’Affaires at the US Embassy in Moscow sent a long telegram to the State Department warning that the Soviets saw the United States as an enemy and would engage in a protracted struggle to contain American power and increase Soviet domination. The message was heeded and helped to set the stage for a decades-long struggle that ultimately succeeded in defying Soviet intentions.

Since the Maidan revolution in 2014, Russia has used force and intimidation to occupy Crimea and foment unrest in southeastern Ukraine aimed at destabilizing the country and pushing it toward federalization. In response to these acts of aggression, the US has imposed broad-based sanctions on Russian individuals and entities and supplied Ukraine with tens of billions in humanitarian, financial and military aid.

Amid the growing tensions between the two countries, European leaders must decide whether to pursue a new strategy of cooperation with Russia or to cut all ties with it. Public opinion supports the latter course, as do expert assessments that Russia’s aims are hostile and its tactics dangerous.

Nonetheless, the majority of Europeans still see the United States as Europe’s ally. This view is especially strong in Denmark and Poland, with majorities of people who consider the United States to be Europe’s “ally.” Those who see the United States as an adversary are largely confined to Germany, Austria and Bulgaria. Even so, the view of the United States as a “foe” is declining, dropping from 10 per cent or more in the 1970s to 6 or 7 per cent now in those three countries.