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In eight-nation poll, few signal taste for increased military missions for their countries

In eight-nation poll, few signal taste for increased military missions for their countries

People in the United States, Britain and six other countries showed little taste for stepping up the role of their nations' troops in overseas crises but seemed more open to other types of involvement abroad, according to an Associated Press-Ipsos poll.
In each country surveyed, only about one in 10 expressed the belief that the government does not send its military to trouble spots frequently enough. Roughly eight in 10 said their leaders send forces abroad either as often as they should or too frequently, according to the poll, which also sampled attitudes in Canada, South Korea, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.
When it came to their country's role in world affairs in general, however, only in the United States and Britain did about half or more say their government was too involved. In the others, at least three of four said their governments either were not doing enough or were doing what it should.
"Italy is not making enough of an important mark on international politics," said Maria Verrone, 46, an architect from Florence, Italy, who was visiting Rome. "We have a strong economy to back us. What are we waiting for?"
The survey was conducted in mid- to late May as the war in Iraq was beginning its fourth year and NATO allies were facing a early-year upsurge in violence in Afghanistan. Since then, events have transpired that could have changed some peoples' views about their countries' roles in foreign affairs, such as the taking of South Korean hostages in Afghanistan and the ascension of new leaders in Britain and France.
Every country in the survey has forces in Afghanistan, while the United States and Britain have troops in Iraq as well.
"Too much," said David Champ, 57, a plasterer from Indiana, as he walked the National Mall in the heart of Washington, D.C. "We're not the peacekeepers of the world, but a lot of Americans think we are."
In Paris, Louise Cors, 53, said military missions abroad are "a bad idea," adding, "We have lost a lot of credit in our foreign diplomacy."
In the United States, Britain and Germany, more than half said their countries intervene militarily too frequently. Elsewhere, more said their governments were dispatching troops properly, although Italians were about evenly split between that and saying they are sent too often.
When asked about their country's involvement in world affairs in general, 55 percent in the United States and 48 percent in Britain said their country does too much. No where else was that sentiment as strong: the next closest was Germany, where 22 percent said they felt that way.
In the U.S., Britain, Germany and France, majorities said they believed their country is viewed by others as a strong force in world affairs. Sixty-nine percent in the United States said that, while 84 percent in South Korea said they believed their nation is seen as weak, the highest such figures in the poll.
In general, those who saw too much military involvement by their countries were likelier to be female and older people. Better educated people in France were likelier to think their nation has a strong image abroad, while in South Korea the lesser educated more often felt that way.
Gordon Brown has replaced Tony Blair as British prime minister and has been reducing his country's role in Iraq while increasing its presence in Afghanistan. New French President Nicolas Sarkozy wants to boost France's role abroad and is interested in strengthening ties with the United States, frayed by his country's opposition to the Iraq war.
Taliban fighters captured 23 South Korean church volunteers last month in Afghanistan. They agreed Tuesday to release the remaining 19 after Seoul reiterated it will remove its 200 troops from Afghanistan by the end of the year and keep missionaries from working there.
In the United States, Republicans were far likelier than Democrats to approve of the country's overseas involvements, a reflection of partisan splits over President George W. Bush's policies. Seventy percent of Democrats said the United States sends military forces to trouble spots too often, compared to 32 percent of Republicans and 51 percent of independents.
The poll, conducted in mid- to late May, involved telephone interviews with 1,000 people in each country except for 960 in Italy, 968 in France and 1,001 in Germany. The margin of sampling error for each country was plus or minus 3 percentage points.
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AP News Survey Specialist Dennis Junes and reporters Christine Simians in Washington, Rose Packman in Rome and Philippine Bout in Paris contributed to this report.
On the Net:
AP-Ipsos poll site:
http://www.ap-ipsosresults.com


Updated : 2021-05-19 05:10 GMT+08:00