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"Getting It" Without "Getting It"

"At least the British people get it." So declared the editors of The Spectator, London's right-wing answer to The New Yorker. Having conducted a Spectator/YouGov poll of 1,696 adults across Great Britain on August 14 and 15, the magazine found itself essentially enthusiastic about the British public's serious concerns about Islamofascism.

As Allister Heath, commenting on the results in the magazine itself, informed us:

Almost three quarters of the British public are now convinced that we are fighting a new world war against extremist Islamic terrorism - and although they may not recognize the names, on this issue at least, most are in the same camp as leading US conservatives such as Eliot Cohen, Norman Podhoretz and Newt Gingrich.

Well, not so fast. Take a look at the following results from the poll:

Should Britian change its foreign policy in response to the terrorist threat? Yes, it should be softer/ more conciliatory: 12%; Yes, it should be tougher/more aggressive: 53%; No, it should not change: 24%

Do you think that the West is in a global war against Islamic terrorists who threaten our way of life, or do you think that Islamic terrorism is a regional problem that poses no real threat to the West?
We are in a world war against Islamic terrorists who threaten the West's way of life: 73%;
Islamic terrorism is a regional problem that holds no real threat to the West: 8%

In the future, would you prefer Britain to pursue a foreign policy agenda closer to that of the United States, or to that of the rest of the European Union?
Britain should continue to align herself closely with the USA: 14%;
Britain should position her foreign policy closer to that of the rest of the European Union: 45 %;
Neither: 27%

Rather curious, that. After all, according to the poll, the British public largely agree with the neoconservative argument that we are engaged in - to borrow Norman Podhoretz's phrase - World War IV. Further, they overwhelming support a more activist foreign policy.

And yet far more Brits support a closer hewing to the EU line on terrorism than sticking with America. The chaps at The Spectator might think their poll demonstrates that the Brits "get it," but we're not so impressed.

Now, to be sure, many British folk undoubtedly dislike the lack of progress being made in Iraq, and thus hope to distance their country from the US for that reason. In addition, Tony Blair receives incessant pillorying in the UK press for being a "lapdog" of President Bush. This likely has helped shift the British away from an Atlanticist viewpoint.

But positioning Great Britain's foreign policy closer to that of the EU? That should be the panacea for the War on Terrorism? Puh-lease.

The EU, it should be reminded, could barely cobble together a force to stay in southern Lebanon--and this force refuses to engage with Hezbollah, ensuring that this odious terrorist group will safely regroup. In short, the EU, obsessed as it is with "soft power," has yet to wake up to the truths the British public recognize, and it's highly unlikely that it will do so in the future.

Accordingly, the British may largely be aware of the threat to civilization we face, but they are still in La-La Land regarding the steps necessary to battle that threat. This, we think, is a sign that the Brits, pace the editors at The Spectator, haven't "gotten it" yet.

(Note: The crack young staff normally "weblog" over at "The Hatemonger's Quarterly," where they are currently inaugurating a Jacques Chirac Savior of Civilization Award, which will be jointly presented to Sheik Nasrallah and Ned Lamont.)

Comments (8)

Well, it's a start.<p... (Below threshold)

Well, it's a start.

As any good 12-step program will tell you, before you can think about dealing with a problem, you have to admit you have one.

I think we should welcome the British people to our new reality show. It's called, "Reality," and deals strictly with what really IS.

It's really remarkable progress for people who like warm beer, don't believe in dentists, and think kidneys are edible.

All of Europe will be rethi... (Below threshold)

All of Europe will be rethinking things when they need their dumb hick cousins from across the Atlantic to save their refined, continental asses one more time. I hope we don't get in a great big hurry to do it next time. The last two times didn't teach them a damn thing.

Dear crack young staff, per... (Below threshold)

Dear crack young staff, perhaps the poll results would have been different if the pollsters had thought to ask the people if they agreed with the EU's nom de guerre for Islamofascists : "terrorists who abusively invoke Islam". I don't know but it sounds for for a future HQ column. Can't wait...


Typical. They rea... (Below threshold)


They realize there's a war on, but have no idea of how to win it.

Whatever. Eventually, I'm sure, they'll all come around.

... hopefully not, but most assuredly so, it'll be as a result of another mass casuality attack.

When polls such as these ar... (Below threshold)

When polls such as these are taken, I feel it would be nice if one of the questions is designed to be answered by a statement rather than A, B, or C. For example, an appropriate 4th question after the three you cited above would be something like, "name in one sentence what single item in the EU anti-terroism policy is most significant to you for the success of this agenda." It would indicate whether the responses against the (one assumes) more aggressive US policy are just visceral anti-US feelings or more clearly based on a true knowledge of the EU policy.

The Brits get it. They just... (Below threshold)

The Brits get it. They just can't bring themselves to drop their Bush-hatred. He is despised in the UK. I don't get it myself, but it's true.

There's nothing confusing a... (Below threshold)

There's nothing confusing about this poll except the questions and inferences. The implication is that if the war on terrorism is global rather than regional, we should be following the Bush policies. But there's not much dispute about whether the problem is global or not—pretty much everyone agrees that it is.

What people disagree about is how to approach it. And the poll results say this: it's a global problem and we prefer to approach it more like the EU than the U.S.

Whatever the merits or flaws with position of the majority of British, their position is easy to understand.

Can we have the poll findin... (Below threshold)

Can we have the poll findings in all Latin American, African and Asian nations on terrorism? I wish more Americans and the British know other languages other than English. Foreigners like me can read exactly what is going on in American and British minds. Is anybody home? Especially the neoconistas? Just isolated and oblivious I suppose, in the so-called "international community" of just two countries. Just to annoy you boys, I'll call myself an Islamist, the way American blacks call themselves niggers.

May peace be with you.






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