Democracy or stability?
Americans are divided over which they prefer to see in the Mideast and North Africa, tumultuous regions where the promise of an “Arab Spring” has led to violence, extremism and instability.
Americans are split essentially equally between the two, according to an international public opinion survey due out Wednesday from the German Marshall Fund of the United States. The survey was conducted in June in the U.S., 11 European Union states and Turkey, and some results were posted on the group’s Web-site in advance of the full release.
Respondents to the survey were asked to choose between two propositions:
“Stability is more important even if it means accepting non-democratic governments” and “democracy is more important even if it leads to a period of instability.”
A majority in Europe (58 percent) and a plurality in the United States (47 percent) preferred democracy over stability.
The survey found a substantial majority in many nations stated a preference for democracy.
They include Italy, Sweden, Spain, France and Turkey.
The pro-stability nations include Poland and Romania, two states that have experience with turmoil and political transition since the end of the Cold War era.
Opinion in the U.S. splits, with 47 percent saying democracy is more important and 43 per cent choosing stability. The rest said they didn’t know or declined to answer.
Transatlantic Trends 2013 is an annual survey of U.S. and European public opinion conducted by the German Marshall Fund of the United States and its partners.