Public Opinion and Soft Balancing within the Transatlantic Alliance

Amidst the Iraq War and the promulgation of a unilateral foreign policy under the Bush administration, global public opinion of the United States plummeted. One might imagine this precipitous decline to be of importance in global politics; however, realism, the dominant theory of world politics does not recognize attitudes and perceptions as salient factors in describing international state behavior. Nevertheless, in recent years, the ideas of soft power and soft balancing, as articulated by Joseph Nye and Robert Pape, respectively, have introduced these factors to modern global affairs, as influences substantially affecting states’ capacities to achieve foreign policy objectives.  Within this paradigm, attraction and persuasion, in addition to coercion and threats, are significant means to foreign policy ends.  In essence, global political opinion matters.

In this paper I ask whether a decline in global public opinion towards the United States led to soft balancing against the United States in the context of international institutions. Specifically, I will look at the dynamics in transatlantic relations within NATO in the midst of the Iraq War crisis of the early and mid 2000s.  I find evidence of soft balancing in tandem with significant declines in European public opinion toward US international policies in both institutional settings. Fluctuations in global public opinion are indeed causally related to the level of soft balancing in international institutions. This provides evidence that perceived intentions and international institutions matter in international relations. Therefore, this paper provides an argument that undermines the traditional neorealist literature and provides support to both balance of threat theory and liberal institutionalism. The overall significance of the findings in this paper will be interpreted within the context of the liberal international order proposed by John Ikenberry in After Victory.

Literature Review

Balance of power theory is a central tenet of neorealism, accounting for the behavior of states (or at least great powers) in any given distribution of power where there is no global hegemon. This theory, which posits that states continually seek to achieve parity of power in the international system, was popularized by Kenneth Waltz in his renowned book Theory of International Politics, published in 1979. The structural constraints of the international system as described by John Mearsheimer, in both his article “The False Promise of International Institutions” and his book The Tragedy of Great Power Politics, provide the underlying reasoning behind balance of power politics. Assuming a natural state of anarchy, the inherent offensive capability of states, uncertainty of intentions, primary concern with survival, and rationality, state behavior is motivated and characterized by fear, distrust, and competition for relative power in a self-help game.[1] In this ‘tragedy’ states will seek to counter superior power in order to preserve the balance of power and avoid exploitation.  They may do this by passing the buck to the most capable state or they may cooperate, if only temporarily, when there is no single state willing to or capable of balancing the potential hegemon alone. Regardless of the methods they use, the distribution of hard (military or relevant-to-military) power in the international system is taken to be the most important factor in determining its shape.

However, since the end of the Cold War, no overt balancing—particularly among European states—against the hegemon of the world system (the United States) has occurred. To explain this, Robert Pape, T.V. Paul, and others argue that a milder, conditional form of balancing is instead taking place due to the unique characteristics of the United States as the lone superpower. Of particular note, Pape argues for the importance of intentions, such that secondary states engage in soft balancing depending on whether they perceive US intentions to be benign. Because hard (traditional) balancing is too costly and risky, “soft” balancing  (measures that “do not directly challenge US military preponderance but that use nonmilitary tools to delay, frustrate, and undermine aggressive unilateral US military policies”) can occur.[2] Soft balancing is particularly likely to occur through international institutions because these structures help states overcome the prisoner’s dilemma associated with engaging in balancing. Because the best scenario for a state is that the superior power be balanced without absorbing any of the costs of doing so itself, it will seek to free-ride (defect) instead of cooperating with other states to successfully balance against the hegemon. However, as argued by Robert Keohane in After Hegemony, international institutions can facilitate cooperation among states because they reduce uncertainty by providing information, monitoring state behavior, codifying state behavior, and conferring legitimacy. Thus, it might seem appropriate to look for evidence of soft balancing in international institutions because institutions help overcome the prisoner’s dilemma which typically stifles cooperation. Still, this argument may only apply to hard balancing and not to soft balancing; it is far from clear that the costs of engaging in soft balancing are sufficient to incentivize buck-passing, and it is beyond the scope of this paper to fully engage and resolve this issue.

The better argument for why one should look within international institutions to find evidence of soft balancing derives from Ikenberry’s theoretical explanation for institutionalizing power when a state becomes the leading power in the aftermath of a major war.  Ikenberry argues that, after achieving victory in World War II and persuasively becoming the leading state in the international system, the United States engaged in a revolutionary process of institutionalizing its power and values within the Bretton Woods institutions, the UN, NATO, etc. While a hegemon would normally want to bind other states to rules and institutions while remaining free itself, Ikenberry explains that in current conditions, “to get the willing participation and compliance of other states, the leading state must offer to limit its own autonomy and ability to exercise power arbitrarily” within institutions.[3] The other or secondary states have a strong interest in complying and participating because they fear domination by unbridled hegemonic power; international institutions reduce this threat. On the other side of the equation, a leading state like the United States has a strong interest in constraining itself within the institutions and rules it establishes in order to obtain the compliance and participation of secondary states because doing so conserves American power. Ikenberry argues, “the creation of basic ordering institutions is a form of hegemonic investment in the future. If the right types of rules and institutions become entrenched, they can continue to work in favor of the leading state even as its relative material capabilities decline.”[4] However, secondary states are particularly likely to soft balance against the US within international institutions because such institutions artificially increase their power relative to that of the United States. For example, NATO requires consensus among member states for significant strategic decisions, meaning that relatively weaker states like Belgium and Luxembourg are greatly empowered. By voluntarily constraining itself within international institutions, the United States empowered secondary states to counter or constrain (i.e. soft balance) US initiatives.

The key to understanding soft balancing as presented in this paper is to consider the role of soft power. In his book, Soft Power, and elsewhere, Joseph Nye argues that soft power, or “the ability to get what you want through attraction rather than coercion or payments,” is a critical component of America’s power in the world system.[5] To be more precise, Nye distinguishes between three sources of soft power: culture, political values, and foreign policies. Neither culture nor political values vary significantly over short time scales in America, but foreign policies certainly do. Therefore, Nye argues that a decline in American soft power due to aggressive unilateral foreign policies significantly dampens its ability to achieve its foreign policy aims. In other words, the extent to which states perceive a threat from a superior power, and thus seek to soft balance against it, depends on that superior power’s use of soft power.

From the Transatlantic Trends data, in addition to other reputable public opinion data sources, it is clear that public opinion of the United States in Europe declined significantly after the onset of American unilateral behavior under the Bush Administration.[6]  However, in order to make the claim that increased anti-Americanism in Europe caused soft balancing in NATO, the relationship between public opinion in a state and that state’s international behavior must be clearly established.  Monti Datta, in his article “The Decline of American Soft Power in the United Nations,” observes, but does not explain, that “when the public in a given country feels antipathy toward the United States, that country’s government has an incentive to distance itself from the United States within international political institutions.”[7] The logic of Robert Putnam’s two-level games for international negotiations, presented in his paper “Diplomacy and Domestic Politics: the Logic of Two-Level Games,” demonstrates the effect of domestic pressure on state behavior in the international system. As Putnam states, “at the national level, domestic groups pursue their interests by pressuring the government to adopt favorable policies, and politicians seek power by constructing coalitions among those groups.”[8] At the level of inter-state relations, “national governments seek to maximize their own ability to satisfy domestic pressures, while minimizing the adverse consequences of foreign developments.”[9] Because any inter-state agreement being negotiated by diplomats or politicians must fall within the ‘win-sets’ or limits of acceptability provided by their domestic pressure groups (or else risk rejection and potential loss of power), there exists a clear and direct connection between public opinion and a given state’s (particularly a democracy’s) international behavior.

Even more explicit in its link between public opinion to state behavior is Bruce Bueno De Mesquita’s ‘selectorate’ model. In any regime, the leaders must satisfy a sufficiently large subset of the selectorate, the portion of the population that participates in selecting political leadership. The members of this “winning coalition are those people whose support is required to keep the incumbent in office.”[10]. Because NATO members are democracies with universal suffrage, the leaders must satisfy their publics, not simply the political elite. This means that state leaders, at least in democracies, are beholden to public opinion, perhaps an obvious point but one that nonetheless calls for a theoretical explanation. We should therefore expect significant shifts in public opinion to be linked with shifts in state behavior.

Changes in European Public Opinion

From 2002 to 2011, the Transatlantic Trends survey sponsored by The German Marshall Fund of the United States documented significant fluctuations in European public opinion towards the United States. Because data for the full 9-year period is only available for selected European countries (UK, France, Germany, the Netherlands, Italy, Poland and Portugal), I use public opinion in these seven as a proxy for all of Europe. From 2002 to 2003, the percentage of Europeans who desired strong US leadership in world affairs decreased from 64% to 45%. By 2008, this proportion had dropped further to 38%. Then, suddenly, in tandem with the election of Barack Obama, the percentage of Europeans desiring strong US leadership jumped to 57% and has remained stable since. The implication that the switch between two different presidents caused these shifts in European public opinion is confirmed in two other questions asked by the Transatlantic Trends surveyors. From 2002 to 2009 they asked Europeans to rate their feelings toward the United States, “with 100 meaning a very warm, favourable feeling, 0 meaning a very cold, unfavourable feeling, and 50 meaning not particularly warm or cold.”[11] In 2002, the average rating was 64 before it dropped to 57 in 2003 and then 54 in 2004. From 2008 to 2009, Europeans’ average rating of the United States increased from 53 to 60. This implies that the election of Barack Obama had a significant effect on Europeans’ perspective of the United States.  While there are clear ratings changes associated with the Iraq War crisis and the election of Obama, the variations in rating are not large and in each year Europeans had, on average, a warmer feeling toward the United States.

The subtle shifts in responses to this question stand in stark contrast to the larger swings in European public opinion when asked whether they approve or disapprove of the way the president of the United States is handling international policies. In 2002, 38% of those polled approved of President Bush’s international policies, a generally low approval rating. This number then crashed to 23% in 2004, rose gently to 26% in 2005, and then fell to 19% for the subsequent three years. Astonishingly, 2009 saw a 66 percentage point swing. After the election of Obama, approval of the US president’s handling of international policies skyrocketed to 85% in 2009 from 19% in 2008. Since then, the president’s European approval rating fell to 79% in 2010 and then 77% in 2011. These larger shifts in response to the question about the president’s policies imply that the general shifts in European public opinion towards the United States in the last decade were driven by perceptions of the American president and his foreign policies. In short, significant shifts in European public opinion toward the US, particularly its president, follow closely the onset and subsequent drawback of a more unilateral American approach to foreign policy as exemplified by the Iraq War and the election of Barack Obama respectively.

Quantitative Evidence of Soft Balancing: UNGA Voting Patterns

In order to delineate a correlation between the documented shifts in European public opinion and some quantifiable measure of soft balancing against the United States in international institutions, a basic linear regression analysis was conducted. After gathering the percentage of UN General Assembly voting coincidence with the United States for all EU member states between 2000 and 2010, this data was regressed on the three different measures of European public opinion discussed above. The measure of opinion of the US based on the president’s handling of international affairs was the only significant result.  An increase of 1% in European approval of the president’s handling of international policies is associated with a 0.317% increase in EU voting coincidence with the US in the UNGA. This result is statistically significant at the 95% confidence level (t-value = 6.84). The results of an otherwise identical regression for NATO members voting coincidence with the US in the UNGA almost exactly mirror those for the EU.

A potential pitfall for this statistical approach to establishing correlation lies in the content of the UN General Assembly (UNGA) resolutions voted on from year to year. If the topics considered and voted on varied significantly from year to year during the time frame considered, it would be impossible to claim, based on the regression analysis completed for this paper, that the variation in European public opinion towards the American president is in any way related to variation in UN General Assembly voting coincidence with the United States by European countries. It could simply be that European countries’ interests are more aligned with the United States in certain topical areas than others and so we should expect significant variation in the topics of UNGA resolutions to result in differing levels of voting coincidence with the United States.  In order to overcome this statistical challenge, an analysis of UNGA resolution topics from the 55th to the 65th UNGA session (2000-2011) was conducted.  After reviewing the topics of each resolution for each session, each resolution was given a code (1-9) signifying a relatively broad topic. The criteria for coding were based on overviews of the resolution topics provided by the United Nations General Assembly webpage. In some cases, codes applied to many resolutions; in others, codes applied to one resolution that recurs annually (for example, the yearly resolution denouncing America’s embargo of Cuba). The nine topics coded were human rights, Israel/Palestine issues, nuclear weapons, conventional armaments, development/developing countries, democracy promotion, law of the oceans, decolonization, and America’s embargo of Cuba, respectively.  Together, resolutions within these topics amounted to between 80.46% and 88.89% of all resolutions in a given session, with an average of 84.6%. Basic linear regression analysis conducted for each topic shows that for all but two topics the proportion of annual UNGA resolutions made up by each topic does not significantly change at the 95% confidence level; their confidence intervals cross zero (see Appendix: Regression Analysis). For the two topic areas where there was statistically significant change over the time period considered, nuclear weapons and democracy promotion, a closer look is instructive. Resolutions related to nuclear weapons made up between 20.34% and 25.4% of all resolutions coded during the Bush Administration, and then roughly 26.7% of all resolutions coded during the Obama Administration (2009-2011). Though statistically significant, the shift from accounting for between one fourth and one fifth of the resolutions to a little more than one fourth is not substantial enough to warrant throwing out this paper’s earlier findings. Furthermore, resolutions related to democracy promotion, while showing a statistically significant change over the time period according to regression analysis, only fluctuate between accounting for 3.57% and 1.43% of resolutions coded. The fact that that fluctuation has been even smaller since the 60th UNGA session (2005-2006), from 1.43% to 1.79%, cements the fact that while statistically significant according to linear regression analysis, the change is not at all substantial. Overall, it is clear that the topics voted on in the UNGA remain largely the same and make up similar proportions of all resolutions from year to year.

The quantitative method used here is rather simplistic and contains subjective assumptions (particularly in relation to the author’s discretion in coding resolutions), but it nevertheless holds worth. The simple correlation delineated and backed up by establishing the insignificance of changes in resolution topics from year to year in the UNGA implies a relationship that is in need of fleshing out. That European countries voting coincidence with the US in the UNGA varied in tandem European public opinion throughout the previous ten years suggests a potential causal relationship that is worth investigating. The following sections incorporate case studies within NATO in order to do precisely this.

Qualitative Evidence of Soft Balancing: NATO

Immediately following the tragic events of September 11th, 2001,, there was an outpouring of support for the United States in Europe.  In cities throughout Europe people held candlelight vigils and proclaimed their support for a wounded ally and friend. This sentiment was echoed in NATO members’ enthusiastic response to the invocation of NATO’s collective security statute (Article 5). However, warm transatlantic feelings would not last long. After the United States “chose not to work within the NATO framework for its response,” and instead opted to “move forward with a ‘coalition of the willing,’” Europeans quickly became wary of American unilateralism.[12] The National Security Strategy of 2002 and President Bush’s ‘Axis of Evil’ speech in January of that year intensified this wariness, as both confirmed European fears of a supremely unilateral .US foreign policy.

However, it was the 2003 decision to go to war with Iraq that devastated the transatlantic relationship. Notably, “Germany and France, often joined by Belgium and Luxembourg, were vocal in their opposition to the US policy decision surrounding the invasion of Iraq.”[13] As Geir Lundestad argues in The Atlantic Alliance Under Stress: US-European Relations after Iraq, the “war in Iraq suggests a fundamental break with the practice of the preceding fifty years” within the transatlantic relationship.[14] For example, unlike in previous conflicts where France ended up on the side of Washington, “in 2003, Paris became the champion of opposition to the United States in a crisis that the administration in Washington considered to be of supreme importance.”[15] Furthermore, whereas Germany had been “the most loyal of US partners in Europe… in this instance, Berlin sided firmly with the French; in fact, it took an even more anti-American position than did the French.”[16] What is of particular significance is that France and Germany, among others, were not only vocal, but also acted within NATO to frustrate and slow what they perceived to be aggressive, unilateral behavior by the United States.

In early 2003, a “showdown within NATO,” as Elizabeth Pond terms it, took place between Germany, France, and Belgium on the one hand and the United States on the other. At issue was the endorsement by NATO of advance military planning to aid Turkey in case military conflict spread more widely in the region. As Pond explains, “the United States wanted to maximize the pressure on Iraq by recruiting the fledgling new Islamic government in Ankara to the cause of war in Iraq.”[17] However, armed with large domestic majorities opposing the Iraq war (71% in Germany), Germany, France and Belgium opposed the Bush administration’s “request under Article 4 of the NATO treaty to prepare for the defense of Turkey.”[18]  “Germany, France, and Belgium refused to go along with the required unanimous vote in the NATO Council” because they understood it as a “thinly disguised effort to get NATO sanction for the impending war itself.”[19] These countries thus sought to constrain the United States by using NATO’s institutional network.  They did not budge easily. Only after threats from the US “that the Alliance would be dead” and a “month of wrangling language acceptable to Berlin about ‘defensive’ was assistance for Turkey was found.”[20] The United States’ motion was then passed after the vote was moved to NATO’s Defense Planning Committee, a body to which France, at that time only a political and not military member of the alliance, did not belong.[21] Though this intense confrontation among allies within a NATO setting was eventually resolved, it demonstrated the extent to which US unilateralism had strained the transatlantic relationship. NATO members sought to frustrate and constrain US behavior within the NATO institutional network, an occurrence that clearly falls in line with Pape’s definition of soft balancing. The confrontation over ‘defensive’ aid to Turkey was a textbook case of entangling diplomacy, and it clearly took place because the imminent Iraq war was so unpopular among European publics.

Providing an example of how US policies led to soft balancing against the US in the midst of the Iraq war crisis is only half of the equation. In order to argue effectively that variation in European public opinion towards the United States leads to varying levels of cooperation, it must also be demonstrated that such soft balancing eroded in the wake of greatly improved European public opinion towards the United States. To confirm this paper’s analysis levels of cooperation or soft balancing must vary in accordance with shifts in public opinion.

After the inauguration of President Obama, the evidence suggests that the meteoric rise in European public approval of US international policies was indeed matched by increased cooperation and the absence of instances of soft balancing such as the one discussed above. The reason for this is that opposition to the Bush administration specifically (and not to America in general) characterized European perceptions of the United States from 2001 through 2008. Therefore, in the three years since Obama became the president of the United States, countries like France and Germany, that had led the opposition to the United States in NATO and the EU during the Iraq war crisis, changed tacks and began cooperating with the United States.

In the case of France, Adrian Treacher makes it clear that “the French approach was anti-Bush, not anti-American” during the Bush tenure. We should thus expect improved cooperation between the United States and France after Obama’s election. Since then, within the NATO alliance, we see that “French and American forces have been cooperating in both Kosovo and Afghanistan… not to mention France’s reintegration into NATO’s integrated military structures” which was announced in April of 2009.[22] One could claim that France’s reintegration into the military structures of NATO after the inauguration of Obama and the resulting change in public opinion towards the United States in France is simply a coincidence, but selectorate theory offers a reason to believe a relationship exists. France certainly had a shift in strategic thinking, but the elected French leadership is also beholden to public opinion. From 2003-2008, between 82% and 86% of the French public disapproved of the Bush administration’s international policies. By contrast, from 2009-2011, between 79% and 88% of the French public approved of the Obama administration’s international policies.[23] The election of Obama marks a massive shift from majority disapproval to majority approval of the American president’s international policies. Therefore, whereas French reintegration into NATO would have been politically infeasible during the Bush administration, due to the US’s unpopularity in France, the subsequent shift to large majority French approval of Obama’s international policies sanctioned French reintegration. Notwithstanding essential strategic considerations, this example provides evidence of a clear link between positive changes in public opinion towards the US and increased cooperation in NATO.

In the case of Germany, with the election of Obama, “the groundwork for more cooperation… was laid” according to Gale Mattox.[24]  Mattox highlights the example of the NATO missile defense discussions; after initial hesitancy to accept the value of missile defense in relation to the threat of Iran, Germany accepted the decision to move forward with the missile system after consultations within NATO.[25] Both the Bush and Obama administrations sought to develop a missile defense system in Europe. The Bush administration’s approach was largely bilateral, involving primarily direct negotiations with Poland and the Czech Republic, but the administration had also sought NATO endorsement and the adoption of the system as an alliance capability.[26] In fact, “some observers have suggested that the Bush administration chose not to work primarily through NATO because consensus agreement on the system was unlikely.”[27] In their 2009 Congressional Research Service report on the missile defense plan, Hildreth and Ek suggest that European countries, particularly Germany, France, and Luxembourg, opposed the Bush missile defense plan because they viewed it as another instance of assertive American unilateralism and believed that it could provoke unnecessary tension with Russia.[28] This was of particular concern to Germany, as Germany has historically been wary of transatlantic security initiatives that may damage relations with Russia (for example, German opposition to offering a NATO Membership Action Plan to Ukraine in 2008). After Obama became president, he cancelled the Bush Administration plan and initiated his own European missile defense system plan. European NATO members soon adopted the new plan at the November 2010 summit in Lisbon.[29] The changes in the plan are surely causally related to the change in reaction from Germany and other NATO members, but the drastic shifts in public opinion towards the United States were instrumental to its approval. The selectorate model again informs us that this should be the case. Beholden to public opinion as democratically elected leaders, the German leadership very likely shifted their position on American-led European missile defense as a result of the massive swing in German public opinion towards the United States. From 2003-2008, between 81% and 87% of the German public disapproved of the Bush administration’s international policies. By contrast, from 2009-2011, between 81% and 92% of the German public approved of the Obama administration’s international policies.[30] Thus, whereas cooperating on missile defense during the Bush administration was politically infeasible due to the large majorities of the German public disapproving of US policies, cooperating with the US within NATO was subsequently politically authorized due to the huge reversal in German public opinion after the election of Obama.

From these examples, one can conclude that low approval ratings of US policies generated soft balancing while high ratings led to improved cooperation within NATO.  It is not insignificant that France and Germany, after leading the opposition to the Iraq War in NATO and elsewhere while domestic anti-Bush feelings were high, cooperated with the United States within NATO in important ways when domestic pro-Obama feelings were high.  It is difficult to characterize entire periods of the transatlantic relationship using only a few case studies, but because the cases discussed here reflect broader shifts in state behavior as demonstrated by the quantitative analysis of UNGA voting coincidence, the argument levied within this paper remains sound.


Because the evidence suggests that negative European public opinion results in soft balancing against the United States in NATO and the EU, important conclusions for policy and theory may be drawn. For policy, it must be concluded that the United States should steer clear of aggressive unilateral policies and seek to invest itself further in the multilateral forums of international institutions, or risk generating counter-productive opposition from European allies. As discussed above, the liberal international order established by the United States after World War II institutionalized, and thus conserves, American power. By constraining itself within international institutions, the US was able to obtain the compliance and participation of other states. However, to the extent that the United States bucks international institutions and seeks to assert itself unilaterally, secondary states will use the existing institutional structures to constrain the US as much as possible.  If this is not successful in discouraging American unilateral behavior, the institutional network established by the United States will increasingly fail to conserve American power and influence into the future.

In terms of international relations theory, the validation of this hypothesis provides support for second-image explanations of international relations that give weight to public opinion. Further, it validates the importance and relevance of international institutions. If states do in fact soft balance against the United States via international institutions, it is because they view international institutions as effective measures of soft balancing in the international system. Furthermore, the validation of this paper’s hypothesis supports theories of soft balancing, demonstrating that in the absence of ‘hard’ balancing, less obvious forms of balancing may occur. This is hardly a confirmation of realism. In fact, the salience of public opinion in determining when soft balancing occurs is in direct contrast to central tenets of neo-realism that dismiss second-image explanations.


  1. Mearsheimer, John. 2001. The Tragedy of Great Power Politics. New York: W. W. Norton & Company.
  2. Ikenberry, John. 2001. After Victory. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
  3. Axelrod, Robert. 1984. The Evolution of Cooperation. New York: Basic Books.
  4. Keohane, Robert. 1984. After Hegemony. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
  5. Nye, Joseph. 2005. Soft Power. New York: PublicAffairs.
  6. Brooks, Stephen and William Wohlforth. 2008. World Out of Balance: International Relations and the Challenge of American Primacy. Princeton: Princeton University Press.
  7. Pape, Robert. 2005. “Soft Balancing against the United States.” International Security, vol.30, no.1, pp.7-45.
  8. Paul, T.V. 2005. “Soft Balancing in the Age of U.S. Primacy.” International Security, vol.30, no.1, pp.46-71.
  9. Putnam, Robert D. 1988. “Diplomacy and Domestic Politics: The Logic of Two-Level Games.” International Organization, vol.42, no.3 pp.427-460
  10. Mearsheimer, John. 1995. “The False Promise of International Institutions.” International Security, vol.19, pp.5-49
  11. Datta, Monti Narayan. 2009. “The Decline of American Soft Power in the United Nations.” International Studies Perspectives, vol.10, pp.265-284
  12. Nye, Joseph. 2004. “The Decline of American Soft Power.” Foreign Affairs, vol.83, no.3, pp.16-20.


  1. Bueno de Mesquite, Bruce, Morrow, James, Siverson, Randolph, and Alastair Smith. 1999. “An Institutional Explanation of the Democratic Peace.” American Political Science Review, vol. 93, no.4, pp. 791-807.
  2. Hildreth, Steven and Carl Ek. 2009. Long-Range Ballistic Missile Defense. Congressional Research Service.
  3. Hildreth, Steven and Carl Ek. 2011. Missile Defense and NATO’s Lisbon Summit. Congressional Research Service.
  4. Kashmeri, Sarwar. 2011. The North Atlantic Treaty Organization and the European Union’s Common Security and Defense Policy: Intersecting Trajectories. Strategic Studies Institute, U.S. Army Way College.
  5. Mix, Derek. 2012. The United States and Europe: Current Issues. Congressional Research Service.
  6. Dorman, Andrew and Joyce Kaufman, eds. 2011. The Future of Transatlantic Relations: Perceptions, Policy and Practice. Stanford: Stanford Security Studies.
  7. Andrews, David, ed. 2005. The Atlantic Alliance Under Stress: US-European Relations After Iraq. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  8. 2002-2011. Transatlantic Trends: Topline Data. German Marshall Fund of the United States. Available at <>
  9. Voting Practices in the United Nations: General Assembly ~ Overall Votes. Available from the State Department at <>
  10. Compilation of UNGA Resolutions for UNGA Sessions 55-65. Available from the United Nations at <>

[1] John Mearsheimer, “The False Promise of International Institutions.” International Security, 19 (1995), 10-12.

[2] Robert Pape, “Soft Balancing against the United States.” International Security, 30 (2008), 10.

[3] John Ikenberry, After Victory. (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2001), 51.

[4] Ibid, 54.

[5] Nye, Joseph, “The Decline of American Soft Power.” Foreign Affairs, 83 (2004), Preface.

[6] German Marshall Fund of the United States. Transatlantic Trends: Topline Data, 2002-2011. Accessed at

[7] Monti Narayan Datta, “The Decline of American Soft Power in the United Nations.” International Studies Perspectives, 10 (2009), 271.

[8] Robert D Putnam, “Diplomacy and Domestic Politics: The Logic of Two-Level Games.” International Organization, 42 (1988), 434.

[9] Ibid

[10] Bruce Bueno de Mesquite, James Morrow, Randolph Siverson, and Alastair Smith. “An Institutional Explanation of the Democratic Peace.” American Political Science Review, 93 (1999), 793.

[11] Transatlantic Trends: Topline Data, 2009

[12] Andrew Dorman and Joyce Kaufman, The Future of Transatlantic Relations: Perceptions, Policy and Practice. (Stanford: Stanford Security Studies, 2011), 3.

[13] Ibid, 62.

[14] Geir Lundestad, The Atlantic Alliance Under Stress: US-European Relations After Iraq. ed. David Andrews, (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 2005), 9.

[15] Ibid.

[16] Ibid.

[17] Elizabeth Pond The Atlantic Alliance Under Stress: US-European Relations After Iraq, 45.

[18] Dorman and Kaufman, The Future of Transatlantic Relations, 62.

[19] Pond, The Atlantic Alliance Under Stress: US-European Relations After Iraq, 46.

[20] Ibid.

[21]  Ibid.

[22] Treacher, The Future of Transatlantic Relations, 111.

[23] Transatlantic Trends: Topline Data, 2011.

[24] Mattox, The Future of Transatlantic Relations, 125.

[25] Ibid.

[26] Steven Hildreth and Carl Ek. Missile Defense and NATO’s Lisbon Summit. Congressional Research Service (2011), 1.

[27] Ibid, 18.

[28] Steven Hildreth and Carl Ek, Long-Range Ballistic Missile Defense. Congressional Research Service (2009), 16-17.

[29] Hildreth and Ek. Missile Defense and NATO’s Lisbon Summit, 5.

[30] Transatlantic Trends: Topline Data, 2011.

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