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Less than Half of Americans Support North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO): Survey

NATO has expanded to include countries that were once part of the Soviet bloc, and has also added countries that are further away, such as Turkey and Greece

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FILE - Flags of NATO member countries fly at the new NATO headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. VOA

A new survey shows that less than half of Americans support the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, an alliance originally designed to provide collective security against the Soviet Union, but now focused on Russia and non-state actors such as the Taliban and the Islamic State group.

The YouGov survey, released to commemorate the 70th anniversary of NATO, found that only 44 percent of Americans support the United States’ place in the agreement. That was down 3 percentage points from when the survey was conducted in 2017.

The poll also surveyed other NATO countries and found that support for the alliance had decreased significantly in the past two years among key European allies. Support for NATO dropped in Britain from 73 percent to 59 percent, in Germany from 68 percent to 54 percent, and in France from 54 percent to 39 percent.

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Support for NATO dropped in Britain from 73 percent to 59 percent, in Germany from 68 percent to 54 percent, and in France from 54 percent to 39 percent. VOA

YouGov said there is a generational divide in the United States over support for NATO, with 56 percent of the Baby Boomer generation, who grew up at the beginning of the Cold War, believing that the treaty continues to serve an important role in defending Western nations. Only 35 percent of Millennials and 33 percent of Generation X members support U.S. participation in the alliance.

There is also a political divide, according to the survey, with 60 percent of Democrats in the United States agreeing the alliance serves an important role, while only 38 percent of Republicans believe the same.

YouGov contacted more than 1,200 U.S. adults for the survey, which was conducted online, as well as more than 1,000 adults in several European countries.

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NATO has expanded to include countries that were once part of the Soviet bloc, and has also added countries that are further away, such as Turkey and Greece. VOA

NATO was formed to be an alliance of Western nations that would balance the military power of the Soviet Union and its allies in Eastern Europe. After the former Soviet Union collapsed in 1991, some experts questioned what part the alliance would play in international security, but the return of Russian assertiveness under President Vladimir Putin has partly changed that.

ALSO READ: On NATO’s 70th Birthday, Trump Takes Credit for Increased Burden Sharing in Defense Spending

NATO has expanded to include countries that were once part of the Soviet bloc, and has also added countries that are further away, such as Turkey and Greece.

U.S. President Donald Trump has repeatedly criticized the group, saying many NATO members do not spend enough on defense to fully meet their commitments under the agreement. (VOA)

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Americans Prefer Driving By Themselves Than An Autonomous Vehicle Drive Them

Researchers, from Washington University have revealed that people in the US would rather drive themselves than have an autonomous vehicle

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Self driving, Driving, Americans, Vehicle, Transport
Through a survey, the team found that people considered a ride-hailing service at least 13 per cent "less expensive," in terms of time, compared to driving themselves. Wikimedia Commons

Researchers, including one of Indian-origin, from Washington University have revealed that people in the US would rather drive themselves than have an autonomous vehicle drive them.

Many Americans use a ride-hailing service — like Uber or Lyft — to get to and from work. It provides the privacy of riding in a personal car and the convenience of catching up on emails or social media during traffic jams.

In the future, self-driving vehicles could provide the same service, except without a human driver.

“The average person in our sample would find riding in a driverless car to be more burdensome than driving themselves. This highlights the risks of making forecasts based on how people say they would respond to driverless cars today,” said study senior author Don MacKenzie.

For the findings published in the journal Transportation, the research team studied how Americans’ perceived cost of commute time changes depending on who’s driving.

Self driving, Driving, Americans, Vehicle, Transport
Many Americans use a ride-hailing service — like Uber or Lyft — to get to and from work or. Pixabay

Through a survey, the team found that people considered a ride-hailing service at least 13 per cent “less expensive,” in terms of time, compared to driving themselves.

If the researchers told people the ride-hailing service was driverless, however, then the cost of travel time increased to 15 per cent more than driving a personal car, suggesting that at least for now, people would rather drive themselves than have an autonomous vehicle drive them.

During the survey, the research team asked people across the continental US to select between a personal car or a ride-hailing service for a 15-mile commute trip.

Half the 502 respondents were told that the ride-hailing service was driverless.

ALSO READ: Himachal Pradesh Aiming to Achieve 100% Transition to Electric Vehicles by 2030

The researchers converted the responses to a score of how much respondents deemed that trip would cost per hour.

“If someone values their trip time at $15 per hour, that means they dislike an hour spent travelling as much as they dislike giving up $15, so a lower number means that the time spent travelling for that trip is less burdensome,” said study co-author and Indian-origin researcher Andisheh Ranjbari.

According to the researchers, driverless cars aren’t commercially available yet, so people are not familiar with them or may be leery of the technology. (IANS)