“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 %;
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.)