Does Russian Election Interference Damage Support for U.S. Alliances? The Case of Japan

51 Pages Posted: 8 Jun 2020 Last revised: 21 Jul 2022

See all articles by Benjamin E. Goldsmith

Benjamin E. Goldsmith

School of Politics & International Relations - Australian National University

Yusaku Horiuchi

Dartmouth College - Department of Government

Date Written: July 21, 2021

Abstract

Scholars and practitioners often argue that the United States' identity as a democracy contributes to the effectiveness and endurance of U.S. military alliances. One way to test this claim is to ask: what would happen if citizens of allied countries came to perceive U.S. democracy as severely flawed or diminished? In the context of now well-documented Russian interference in recent U.S. elections, we examine whether Russia's election interference and its perceived impact on American democracy damage foreign public opinion about the U.S. The results of our survey experiment fielded in Japan suggest that information about successful Russian election interference---i.e., interference that had an impact on the election outcome---reduces foreign citizens' faith in the U.S. as an ally. This pattern most clearly manifests in reduced belief in the U.S. capacity to defend Japan. Our study sheds light on the connections between the image of the U.S., both as a trustworthy and effective state, and the foreign public's attitudes toward U.S. alliances, with theoretical and practical implications.

Keywords: alliance, soft power, electoral meddling, trust, Trump, Russia, Japan

JEL Classification: C91, D74, D78, D83

Suggested Citation

Goldsmith, Benjamin E. and Horiuchi, Yusaku, Does Russian Election Interference Damage Support for U.S. Alliances? The Case of Japan (July 21, 2021). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3598103 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3598103

Benjamin E. Goldsmith

School of Politics & International Relations - Australian National University ( email )

Canberra
Australia

HOME PAGE: http://researchers.anu.edu.au/researchers/goldsmith-b

Yusaku Horiuchi (Contact Author)

Dartmouth College - Department of Government ( email )

204 Silsby Hall
HB 6108
Hanover, NH 03755
United States

HOME PAGE: http://horiuchi.org

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