Americans: if Russia attacks, defend Britain – but not Ukraine

Americans: if Russia attacks, defend Britain – but not Ukraine

Most Americans still back their country's defense commitment to other members of NATO, though doubts creep in when asked about specific countries

The Russian annexation of Crimea, which is still a part of Ukraine in the eyes of the international community, has raised fears in other former Soviet states that they may soon lose parts of their territory. Most of these countries don't have an alliance with the United States, but three - Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia - are members of NATO. As members of NATO the United States, along with Britain, France, Germany and other countries, would be bound to intervene and protect them against any outside threat. NATO has already begun to deploy extra forces in the three Baltic states. 

The latest research from YouGov shows that most Americans (60%) still support the American commitment to defend NATO allies if they are under attack, while 17% say that it is no longer necessary. Support is highest among Republicans (65%) and lowest among Independents (56%), while 60% of Democrats support the NATO commitment.

Ask about specific scenarios where the US might have to use military force to defend allies, and Americans become less willing to step in. 56% of Americans think that the US should use military force to defend Britain if they are attacked by Russia.

Americans also tend to support stepping in to protect France (48%) and Poland (40%), but tend to oppose protecting Turkey and Latvia, both of which are NATO members. In fact, support for protecting Ukraine (22%), which is not a NATO member, is effectively at the same level as support for protecting NATO-member, and US ally, Latvia (21%).

See the full YouGov US results here

Image: Getty

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