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Germans pessimistic on US, Russia and China

May 18, 2018

Germans overwhelmingly see the US as an unreliable partner, according to results of a poll released by the public broadcaster ZDF. Only 14 percent of respondents consider the US to be a trustworthy diplomatic partner.

Trump's shadow hangs over the friendship between the Americans and the Germans
Image: picture-alliance/R. Peters

Eighty-two percent of Germans believe that the country cannot count on President Donald Trump's United States as a reliable partner in international relations, according to the Politbarometer survey conducted for the public broadcaster ZDF.

Fourteen percent of respondents believe that Trump's US remains a reliable partner even as the president has pulled the country out of established international accords in the 16 months of his term to date. Just 4 percent said "I don't know" when the question was posed to them.

Sixty-five percent of respondents said parties should keep the international nuclear deal with Iran alive after Trump unilaterally withdrew the US earlier this month, while 28 percent expressed skepticism about the accord.

Ninety-four percent of respondents said the European Union would require close internal cooperation in international affairs now that the US has turned rogue. However, a mere 20 percent believe that the bloc could successfully present anything with the appearance of a united front, while 26 percent foresee looser cooperation and 51 percent say there is unlikely to be any change.

Whom to trust?

Thirty-six percent of respondents see a strong ally in Russia, though 58 percent consider the Kremlin an unreliable partner for Germany in matters of foreign affairs. Respondents were split on China: 43 percent think the country could serve a reliable partner, and 43 percent do not.

Followers of the far-right Alternative for Germany (AfD) expressed the most trust in Russia: 61 percent said the Kremlin was their country's best bet abroad. At more or less the opposite end of Germany's mainstream political spectrum, 45 percent of supporters of the Left party said the country could count on Russia. More skeptical were the Greens, 74 percent of whom do not believe that Russia is a reliable partner for Germany, followed by the Social Democrats (65 percent), Christian Democrats (61 percent) and Free Democrats (58 percent).

Overall, 45 percent of respondents believe that Germany should maintain sanctions on Russia for its support of separatists in Ukraine's civil war and occupation of the Crimean Peninsula in 2014; 36 percent — including 71 percent of AfD supporters and 52 percent of the Left's — believe that measures should be relaxed. Just 14 percent of survey respondents would like to see the sanctions increased.

The Forschungsgruppe Wahlen polled 1,200 randomly selected German voters from Tuesday through Thursday.

Trump blasts Germany on NATO contributions

mkg/rt (dpa, ZDF)

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