What is state failure? See my conceptualisation of state failure on the right flank below.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

The voice of the Dutch public - As heard by Radio Netherlands

MStFB Uruzgan Series update
I will, in upcoming days, continue my mini-series on 'ex-Taliban', but today I first of all have to point to a new article that's relevant for those interested in what's going on in Uruzgan.
No surprise perhaps, it's coming from one of the most useful sources of English language information on the Dutch mission to Uruzgan, Radio Netherlands (much as I criticise them sometimes, people might think I'm not able to appreciate them enough - well, I am). This fresh article is pondering the results of a recent detailed public opinion survey, commissioned by Radio Netherlands Worldwide.
Summarising some of the claims in the article here briefly:
Lack of support: 'over half of all Dutch people' (respondents rather, if I'm correct) are against the extension of the Dutch mission beyond 2008.
Surprise, surprise: in spite of that said above, 65% think the mission will be extended by one year (the first time for me that I hear that the extension may be for just a year instead of two more years - sounds like it fits the picture of some compromise-seeking I assumed to be going on between disagreeing members of the Dutch cabinet).
Media coverage: while many think current extensive media coverage is a major difference to earlier foreign missions of the Dutch military, 60% feel the information they receive is biased (in the sense of being filtered by the Dutch Defence Ministry, so people think apparently).
An encouraging indication of some very clear thinking; excerpt: "It is now clear that the deployment in Uruzgan is exacting a heavy toll on the armed forces, in terms of both personnel and equipment. Cutbacks would appear to be unavoidable, but an overwhelming majority of those consulted feel this would be unacceptable. They do not beleive that the high cost of the Uruzgan mission should be allowed to have major financial implications for the Dutch army."
It's all a matter of political will and the right allocative decisions, isn't it?
So, the big question seems to me, if I take the text of this RN article as the basis of analysis: Will Dutch troops stay for one more year, till mid-2009? (I outlined several other compromise scenarios on this site already, actually, so look them up if you're interested, here.) Or, will the Darfur effect set in, with the Dutch leadership happily turning its attention to a dreadful part of the world, in Africa, where it's okay if you actually don't do all that much once you are there? (I'm being ironic with that latter question of course, especially regarding Africa.)

1 comment:

Péter MARTON said...

I received a comment to this post, which was very brief, very critical of, and actually potentially offensive to, Radio Netherlands' staff. I have no problem with harshly put statements, within certain reasonable limits, but such comments first of all shouldn't be anonymous. If somebody wishes to express a very critical opinion, that person should register with Blogger at least, I'd suggest, and even then be more considerate about the potential effect of the way a comment is formulated.
To the commenter whose comment I rejected: in this case it was one adjective in particular that made me reject your comment. I thank you for your understanding.