DAILY BRIEFING
A Modest Poll

Nov. 4 - It would be easy to be flip. The survey, after all, is called "What Do Europeans Think?" And it's tempting, after reading the results, to ask if the survey might have been better renamed, "Do Europeans Think?"

Question 10 of that survey, the full contents of which were released yesterday after their highlights left a trail of scorched earth throughout international affairs, was this (verbatim): "For each of the following countries, tell me if in your opinion, it presents or not a threat to peace in the world?" There followed a list of fifteen countries—places like Syria, Iraq, North Korea, Iran, Libya, Pakistan, Somalia... and, oh yeah, the U.S. and Israel.

It was widely reported that Israel topped the list, with 59% of Europeans believing that they posed a threat to world peace. Americans are undoubtedly aware we rated fourth place, behind Israel, North Korea, and Iran, and just squeaking past Iraq.

In fact, in Greece, Spain, Finland, and Sweden (I know where you live), "the United States is perceived to be the greatest threat to world peace." I don't know how this statistic was derived from the question cited above—a more accurate representation of the results might have been that in those countries "the United States was considered a threat to world peace by more respondents than any of the other fourteen political entities listed," which isn't quite the same thing—but that's cold, cold comfort indeed.

It's disturbing that 88% of the Greek population thinks America poses a threat to world peace, since about 95% of all Greeks live in my old New York neighborhood of Astoria, Queens.

It was not widely reported, however, that the survey also revealed that "The European Union does not present a threat to world peace." I'm unable to read the table because of a problem with my Adobe software, but I can read the text that says, "Respondents who do not believe the EU as a threat to world peace range from 96% in Germany to 77% in Portugal."

I think this is interesting.

Not the stat itself, but the question. Europe would like to be the United States, but it's not. It's still literally a Country Club, a cluster of individual nation states that's further along than OPEC or ASEAN but nowhere near the United States in terms of political, economic, military, or cultural unity.

How would French respondents have rated Germany? How would the Brits have rated the French? How would the Greeks and Turks have ranked one another?

And what about the Candidate Countries, regularly polled by the EC, but mysteriously left out of this one. How would the Poles and Czechs have rated Germany, for example? How would Lithuanians, Letts, and Estonians have rated Russia?

And if the EU was actually representing geographic Europe, rather than political Europe, we'd probably get some interesting responses out of the Balkans.

Hell, we get interesting responses out of the Balkans even without polling them.

Israel's clearly pissed about the whole thing, and it's hard to blame them. I suspect most Americans are just rolling their eyes again. But we shouldn't. We really need to do something. Europe is becoming completely unhinged, and you don't stand by and roll your eyes when an old friend starts fitting himself in tin-foil hats. (I speak from some experience in this area.)

No, we clearly need to do something, and fast. Their insanity has clearly progressed to the point that soft countermeasures are no longer going to be adequate. They're going to need a radical cure—shock therapy, so to speak. And given their current antipathy, they're not going to be very receptive patients. So against my own better judgment, I say it's worth the risk. I say we pull out of Iraq and Afghanistan and the Balkans and wherever the hell else we are and invade Europe now.

Quickly, while they're not expecting it.

* * *

Today is National Unity Day in Italy (55% of Italians say we're not a threat!) and Constitution Day in Tonga.

It's the birthday of Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs (1970), Ralph Macchio (1962), Yanni (1954), Loretta Swit (1937), Art Carney (1918), Walter Cronkite (1916), and Will Rogers (1879).

Happy Tuesday!

2003, The Moron's Almanac™

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