Monday, September 19, 2011

Interests in Asia outweigh those in Europe: US

In a shift, Americans increasingly view Asia, not Europe, as the region where the most important U.S. national interests lie, a poll released Wednesday reported.

But a plurality of respondents in nine of 12 European Union countries surveyed said that the United States remained more important than Asia. The exceptions were France, Spain and Sweden.

The annual survey was conducted by the German Marshall Fund of the United States, a nonpartisan policy institution that promotes trans-Atlantic cooperation, and the Compagnia di San Paolo, a research center in Turin, Italy. The Swedish Foreign Ministry was among its sponsors.

The findings on U.S. attitudes toward Asia and Europe mark a transformation from a similar poll conducted by the same groups in 2004. In this year's survey just over half of Americans saw Asia as more important for American interests than Europe. In the earlier survey, a strong majority of U.S. respondents answered the opposite.

The change may reflect a generational shift in the United States. More than six in 10 of Americans under age 45 view Asia as more important than Europe, compared with fewer than half among those age 45 and up. more