Thursday, February 29

The war in Ukraine and climate change, the issues that most concern Europeans and North Americans


The United States is perceived as the most powerful actor on the international board, where the growing influence of China still seems to be ignored by those surveyed.

Destruction caused by bombing Kharkov (Ukraine).YASUYOSHI CHIBAAFP
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War reveals us. Of all the challenges turning the world (and the shrinking size of our pockets) upside down, the Russian invasion of Ukraine It is, along with climate change, what most worries Europeans according to the public opinion study ‘Transatlantic Trends’, published this Thursday and which includes surveys in 14 different countries.

Although there is a certain consensus on what measures should be adopted in the face of war (try Moscow for war crimes, impose greater economic sanctions and increase economic aid to kyiv), it is striking that, even in the context of the current war – with the loss of lives, the refugee crisis that it entails or the economic consequences in the lives of millions of citizens – climate change appears almost at the same level.

In the United States, that map of ‘sleeplessness’ is more fragmented. War and climate change are of concern, but so are immigration, cybersecurity or the power of China. Other issues that put us on alert not so long ago, such as the Covid pandemic or terrorist attacks, lose importance in all countries.

It is interesting at this point to zoom in. Europe is not a block and, although the war and Russia worry, they do not do so in the same way in all countries. As it seems logical, border passes or near Russia those who witness the war development with the most anguish: Lithuania, Poland, Romania and Germany. In contrast, the countries further south, Italy, Spain and France, are more concerned about climate change than about war. perhaps, because they suffer more from the consequences. In turkeyInstead, the main cause for concern is the immigration, above global warming and the invasion of Ukraine.

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Influential actors in the world

Although the war in Ukraine undoubtedly reveals how the global order is changing (has already changed), how Russia and China intensify their cooperation and, compared to that, how Western countries and NATO progressively lose part of the power they used to have, the Transatlantic Trends study shows that the United States continues to be perceived as the most powerful actor on the international board, in all countries surveyed.

Interestingly, compared to last year, mention of China decreases as a major actor on the world map and that of Russia and the European Union is increasing. Asked how they see the world in five years, then yes, most respondents acknowledge that China gain influence (although, in global terms, the USA will continue to be number 1 in the ranking).

And although there is some agreement in acknowledging that the Asian ‘giant’ is roaring louder and louder in the world, the answer to a specific question is curious: “How do you perceive your country’s relationship with China?” Absolute division: 25% believe that it is an ally, 29% describe it as a competitor; 18% believe that it is a rival and another not insignificant 28% do not dare to answer. This diversity of opinions (and the high percentage who does not want to position himself) seems to show certain ignorance about how power alliances are woven in the world.

The report also asks citizens How do they value democracy in their countries? In Spain, 61% have a good or very good perception of it. It is a fairly widespread feeling, in which only a few exceptions stand out: the United States, Poland, Turkey and Italy, which held general elections last weekend, an event that highlighted not only the surprising rise of the extreme right, but also a very high rate of abstention, characteristic of a society that lives between mistrust and apathy.

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The Transatlantic Trends 2022 study has been carried out in 14 countries – the United States, Canada, Turkey, the United Kingdom and 10 countries of the European Union: Germany, Spain, France, Italy, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania and Sweden. – with the participation of 21,000 respondents. It is organized by the German Marshall Fund of the United States and the Bertelsmann Foundation; The BBVA Foundation collaborates as the main partner.

According to the criteria of

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