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Denmark Shows How to Get Support for Afghanistan

While the Dutch government broke up over the war in Afghanistan, the Danish establishment seems to be very unified and serves as "an unlikely example of how to maintain public support for the war" writes the Wall Street Journal (HT: Atlantic Community):

"The key to sustaining public support is an elite consensus that includes politicians in government and opposition as well as key opinion leaders: influential intellectuals, academics and columnists," says Dr. Peter Viggo Jakobsen, a security expert at the University of Copenhagen. (.) 

Mr. Gade, a former Danish army officer [who has led Danish efforts to maintain public support], said a key to winning the public was giving reporters deep access to soldiers, who were allowed to talk. When troops say, " 'We did a job and we did it good, and it is worth doing,' then it is very hard indeed for a lot of people to oppose, because those are the men and women who risk their lives," he said.

The article, however, also points out that recently there have been cracks in the coalition and a fall in opinion polls, with, for instance, a major newspaper withdrawing its support.


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John in Michigan, US on :

A nice pair of posts, Joerg. Denmark seems like another victory for embedded journalism. The Dutch decision seems very, very poorly timed. To pull out now, when we will learn within months whether or not the Afghanistan surge is working, seems foolish. After all this time, if they waited a few more months, the ruling coalition might have been able to claim victory. But perhaps all politics is local.

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