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The US Rebalancing to Asia and Transatlantic Public Opinion


The US policy of ‘rebalancing to Asia’ is likely to have major implications for transatlantic relations as well as for the role of rising powers, such as China. US public opinion and leaders are largely aware of this eastward shift in attention and this awareness can be considered, albeit in a somewhat indirect way, an indicator of support for the policy. On the other side of the Atlantic, however, Europeans seem to be less aware of the fact that the Far East is becoming the main chessboard of international relations in a multipolar global order. Nevertheless, when objectively informed about China, people on both sides of the Atlantic are less in favour of a shift in interests toward Asia and their negative perceptions of China are significantly correlated to a hesitancy in supporting a rebalancing policy. Moreover, if people perceive Beijing as a threat, especially an economic threat, they are even less likely to support a shift of interests to the Far East, the only exception being American elites, who tend to increase their support for the rebalancing strategy in the presence of a Chinese economic threat.
Keywords: pivot to Asia, rebalancing, China, transatlantic, public opinion