Is Trump Turning Europe Against the U.S.?
Two weeks into the Trump presidency, the British parliament has barred America’s commander-in-chief from addressing the House of Commons; a leading German newspaper has called on all freedom-loving peoples in Europe and Asia to mobilize against the United States; a senior cabinet minister in the Australian government has coined the phrasenormal Trump tantrum; Israeli intelligence agents are (reportedly) unsure if they can safely share information with the White House; the Mexican president can’t meet with the U.S. president without inviting a political backlash; members of the global economic elite have started referring to China as “the leader of the free world”; and Canada won’t stop putting its southern neighbor to shame.
I think it’s madness for Trump to go out of his way to alienate other countries. Here, though, is an interesting fact, sent in by a reader in the UK: a Chatham House survey shows most Europeans want a total ban on Muslim immigration. Excerpts:
Trump’s policy has generated a backlash among some of Europe’s leaders. Angela Merkel’s spokesman said the chancellor had ‘explained’ the Geneva Convention to the president in a phone call discussing the order, while London Mayor Sadiq Khan argued that the invitation to the president for a state visit to Britain in 2017 should be withdrawn until the ban is rescinded. Meanwhile, leaders of Europe’s populist right-wing parties, including Geert Wilders, Nigel Farage and Matteo Salvini, have heaped praise on Trump.
Amid these competing views, where do the public in European countries stand on the specific issue of Muslim immigration? There is evidence to suggest that both Trump and these radical right-wing parties reflect an underlying reservoir of public support.
Drawing on a unique, new Chatham House survey of more than 10,000 people from 10 European states, we can throw new light on what people think about migration from mainly Muslim countries. Our results are striking and sobering. They suggest that public opposition to any further migration from predominantly Muslim states is by no means confined to Trump’s electorate in the US but is fairly widespread.
In our survey, carried out before President Trump’s executive order was announced, respondents were given the following statement: ‘All further migration from mainly Muslim countries should be stopped’. They were then asked to what extent did they agree or disagree with this statement. Overall, across all 10 of the European countries an average of 55% agreed that all further migration from mainly Muslim countries should be stopped, 25% neither agreed nor disagreed and 20% disagreed.
Majorities in all but two of the ten states agreed, ranging from 71% in Poland, 65% in Austria, 53% in Germany and 51% in Italy to 47% in the United Kingdom and 41% in Spain. In no country did the percentage that disagreed surpass 32%.
The opposition to Muslim immigration is strongest among older people and less educated people:
Our findings also reveal how, across Europe, opposition to Muslim immigration is especially intense among retired, older age cohorts while those aged below 30 are notably less opposed. There is also a clear education divide. Of those with secondary level qualifications, 59% opposed further Muslim immigration. By contrast, less than half of all degree holders supported further migration curbs.
True, but if you read the whole thing and look at their charts, even among those demographic cohorts most favorable to Islamic immigration, a clear plurality opposes it.
Trump has definitely alienated elites in European nations, but the masses? Maybe not so much. Meanwhile, here are highlights from the speech Front National candidate Marine Le Pen delivered announcing her candidacy for the French presidency.