During the Cold War, Britain could always rely on America should the Queen spot a regiment of Soviet tanks rolling up The Mall. Well… that was the theory, anyway. Fortunately, America’s commitment to NATO was never seriously tested in the twentieth century.
But what of today? Would a US citizenry weary from the misadventures in Iraq and Afghanistan be more reluctant to honour their obligations to defend NATO allies against a hypothetical Russian military threat?
According to a HuffPost/YouGov poll, most Americans (60%) think the US should step in were NATO attacked. However, that principle does not translate into saving some individual countries.
A solid 56% said Britain should be saved, while 48% said American should intervene if France were attacked. Far fewer said the US military should honour its commitments to Turkey (29%) and Latvia (21%).
Only 20 % said the US should defend Ukraine, which is not a NATO country. The respondents were not told which countries were in NATO and which were not.
On Tuesday, NATO suspended all "practical civilian and military cooperation" with Russia following Moscow’s annexation of Crimea.
The HuffPost/YouGov poll was conducted March 27-30 among 1,000 U.S. adults using a sample selected from YouGov's opt-in online panel to match the demographics and other characteristics of the adult U.S. population. Factors considered include age, race, gender, education, employment, income, marital status, number of children, voter registration, time and location of Internet access, interest in politics, religion and church attendance.