Asia eclipses France, Europe as US ally

18th November 2005, Comments 0 comments

WASHINGTON, Nov 17 (AFP) - France will become less important to the United States in the future as Washington looks more toward Asia to forge new alliances, according to an opinion poll published Thursday.

WASHINGTON, Nov 17 (AFP) - France will become less important to the United States in the future as Washington looks more toward Asia to forge new alliances, according to an opinion poll published Thursday.

The poll, carried out by the Pew Research Institute in Washington, canvassed members of the general public and opinion leaders who were questioned on foreign policy issues.

When asked which US allies will become more or less important in the future, opinion leaders most often mentioned France as becoming less important while India and China were most often listed as becoming more important.

"Military leaders, in particular, believe France will be less important to the US in the future," according to the survey. "By contrast, far fewer than one in 10 military leaders cite any Asian country as being less important to the US in the future."

It added that many also believe that "Germany will be less relevant to the US, particularly those with military backgrounds and from think tanks and the academy."

Andrew Kohut, president of the Pew Research Center, said that France's refusal to join the US-led war in Iraq probably contributed to the findings.

Relations between Washington and a number of its European allies, including France and Germany, sunk to new lows after they refused to back the Iraq war.

"This poll is showing some signs of a historic shift in American foreign policy from a Euro-centric Atlanticist foreign policy toward an Asia-centric Pacific foreign policy," Walter Russell Mead, of the Council on Foreign Relations, which co-sponsored the study, said.

Nonetheless, Mead noted, the majority of those questioned in the Pew survey believe that despite the growing importance of Asia and tensions between Washington and Europe over the Iraq war, the United States needs to maintain strong ties with Western Europe.

"What you have is a sentimental attachment to the European alliance and a desire not to see the loss or the waning of what people do view as an asset but also a kind of sense as we go forward that this is a wasting asset," he said.

The poll was conducted between September 5 and October 31, and surveyed 2,006 Americans and 520 opinion leaders in the media, state and local government, the military, and science and engineering fields.

Pollsters also canvassed security and foreign affairs experts as well as religious leaders.

Copyright AFP

Subject: French news

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