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The issue of when, whether and how force can and should be used was at the heart of international discussions and disagreement in the run-up to the Iraq campaign and remains controversial. In its wake, the German Marshall Fund of the United States, which is headquartered in Washington DC, and the Compagnia di San Paolo, which is based in Turin, commissioned comprehensive surveys of public opinion in seven European countries and the United States on a broad range of international issues, including the use of force. The results - contained in the paper Transatlantictrends 2003 - showed that Americans and Europeans share similar views about what constitute the greatest global threats, but express sharp differences about how to respond to them. International terrorism, weapons of mass destruction in both North Korea and Iran, Islamic fundamentalism and the Arab-Israeli conflict rank as the top five concerns of both Americans and Europeans. But Americans are more likely than Europeans to support the use of military force to rid countries of weapons of mass destruction and to bypass the United Nations if vital national interests are at stake. Interestingly for the Alliance, both Americans and Europeans are more likely to support military intervention if carried out under NATO or UN Security Council auspices, with the former conveying almost as much legitimacy as the latter. Eight tables from the survey are presented below and full details can be found at http://www.transatlantictrends.org.

Do you approve or disapprove of the way US President George Bush is handling international policy?

Arab-Israeli conflict: policy options

How desirable is it that the United States exerts strong leadership in world affairs?

In thinking about international affairs, which statement comes closer to your position about the United States and the European Union?

The five most important international threats according to respondents from Europe and the United States

Support for taking part in military action in Korea and Iran

Under some conditions, war is necessary to obtain justice

Comparing willingness to strenghten the United Nations or bypass it: a cross-tabulation

Read more: EU-NATO, Iraq, USA
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