2002 September 15 Sunday
Gauging Anglosphere support for attack on Iraq

Why is George W. Bush working the UN so hard with a speech and lobbying of key UN players? In a nutshell: He's doing it for Tony Blair. British public support for a war on Iraq is heavily contingent on UN backing:

EIGHT out of 10 Britons support UN-backed military action against Iraq if Saddam Hussein refuses to readmit weapons inspectors, a poll has revealed.

The UN support is crucial in their minds:

But in the absence of UN agreement, voters were sceptical about military action – 38% said the US should proceed without it, while 49% were opposed. By nearly two to one – 57% to 34% – people said Britain should not commit troops without UN agreement.

Part of the reason the British public wants a UN vote is because they don't trust Bush. 65% do not trust Bush's decision-making on Iraq. So the Bush American cowboy label promoted by the left-wingers of the British press has certainly stuck in the minds of many British people.

Attitudes in Australia appear to be similar:

An exclusive poll by The Sun-Herald/Taverner Research shows that support for Australian troops taking part in American-led action is surprisingly high.

More than two-thirds of respondents would support deployment of Australian troops to Iraq, but only as part of a UN multilateral force.

A similar number were opposed to any involvement if the US decided to go it alone. More than 50 per cent of respondents said such involvement was "definitely" wrong.

There is irony here. The Australian and British people place less trust in the elected leader of the most free and successful democracy in the world and more trust in an institution whose members are mostly states run by dictators and by democracies which are not really free societies. Out of the UN's 140 members which are nominally democracies only 82 have free presses, independent judiciaries and other institutions essential for a free society.

Wait, I hear you asking, are the UN member state democracies really that bad? The UN Human Development Report 2002 says so:

In theory, the world is more democratic than it has ever been, notes the Report. For example: 140 of the world’s nearly 200 countries now hold multi-party elections. But in practice, only 82, with 57 percent of the world’s people, are fully democratic in guaranteeing human rights, with institutions such as the free press and an independent judiciary. And 106 countries still limit important civil and political freedoms. Of the 81 countries that embraced democracy in the latter part of the 20th Century, the Report points out that only 47 have gone on to become fully functioning democracies. Several have since returned to authoritarian rule: either military, as in Myanmar or Pakistan, or pseudo-democratic, as in Zimbabwe in recent years. National armies have intervened to varying degrees in the political affairs of 13 sub-Saharan States since 1989: nearly one in four countries in the region. Many other countries have got stalled somewhere between democracy and authoritarianism.

So about 40% of the countries hanging out and voting in the UN General Assembly are democracies. Plus, who's the new head of the UN Human Rights Commission? That lover of democracy and human rights, Muammar Kadafy/Ghaddafi/Qadafi (choose your own spelling for his name; this is obviously a guy who believes in freedom of choice).

Share |      By Randall Parker at 2002 September 15 07:16 PM  MidEast Iraq Opinion Polls


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