February 11, 2003
A Coalition of the Willing?

From the Washington Post:

France and Germany lead European opposition to a speedy attack. But Britain, Italy, Spain, Denmark and Portugal, as well as Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic, have firmly backed the U.S. position. On Wednesday, 10 more European governments, in the former communist east, jointly declared support for Washington. They were Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Romania, Slovakia and Slovenia.

A quick scan of opinion polls reveals that, while governments are supporting the US, the people are solidly opposed to unilateral and even UN action in all but a few countries. This can be explained by diplomatic pressure which has, for now, overcome a distinct lack of popular support in the following countries:

Britain: 86% say give weapons inspectors more time, 34% think that US and Britain have made a convincing case for invasion. »

Spain: 80% opposed to war, 91% against attack without UN resolution »

Italy: 72% opposed to war »

Portugal: 65% say there is no reason to attack now »

Hungary: 82% opposed to invasion under any circumstances »

Czech Republic: 67% opposed to invasion under any circumstances »

Poland: 63% against sending Polish troops, 52% support US "politically" »

Denmark: 79% oppose war without U.N. mandate »

Australia: 56 per cent only backed UN-sanctioned action, 12% support unilateral action. 76% oppose participation in a US-led war on Iraq. Australian Senate voted 33-31 to censure Howard for committing 2,000 soldiers to US action. »

The "Vilnius 10" is a group of 9 countries that are seeking membership in NATO and Croatia. In many cases, their future security depends on NATO membership. In Estonia, for example, there is a tangible fear that Russia will take over again, given a militaristic enough government and the right opportunity (the--thankfully past--popularity of the fascist Vladimir Zhirinovsky was a good indication of this possibility. Zhirinovsky had a map in his office showing the borders of Russia expanded to include the former Soviet Union and Alaska). In any case, it's doubtful that these governments are supporting the US for any other reason than to get diplomatic points (or conversely, not piss away their chances of NATO membership).

Taking Estonia as an example again, we find that the government has supported war without any debate in Parliament, despite 70% of the people and major newspapers opposed to war in Iraq.

Latvia: 74% oppose taking out Hussein with military force »

Romania: 38% opposed, 45% in favour »

Macedonia: 10% support war on Iraq »

Bulgaria: 21% support war »

Estonia: 30% support war »

Slovakia: 60% oppose sending Slovak soldiers »

Information for Albania, Croatia, Slovenia and Lithuania was immediately available via Google news, but according to this report, Romania is the only country in the "Vilnius 10" that has a majority of the population supporting the war.

For comparison purposes:

France: 76% against war without UN support »

Germany: 55% against war with UN support, 90% against war without UN support. 57% hold the opinion that "the United States is a nation of warmongers". »

posted by dru in us
Post a comment

Email Address:



Remember info?