Tuesday, 15 March 2011

The trouble with no-fly zones....

..is that someone has to police them.  Given that the Royal Navy and the RAF can project two choppers and a custard cream between them, we are not going to be much use to any coalition of the willing and the French (who can project force) lack the will, which leaves, just for a change, our Uncle Sam.

And Pew Global has been kind enough to ask what Americans think and to publish the results.

First up, there is less desire to 'do something' than there was over Darfur, Bosnia and Kosovo - currently 27% think that the US has a responsibility to act. 

Secondly the only option with majority support is increased sanctions - 51%Y/40%N/10%DK - and that is predicated on those coming from 'the US and its allies'.  Enforcing a no-fly zone splits 44% pro and 45% anti. Heavy majorities are against more active involvement, with 23% pro arming the opposition, 16% pro CNN raids bombing Libyan air defences and 13% in favour of sending troops into Libya.  It would be utterly remiss of me not to note the opening verse of the Marine hymn, which might call for a slight reworking if the boots on the ground option was taken up :

From the Halls of Montezuma,
To the shores of Tripoli;
We fight our country's battles
In the air, on land, and sea;

Meanwhile, back at the plot, the breakdown of opinion by voters has 33% of Democrats deeming the US to have a responsibility to 'do something', as against 27% of Republicans.  Being of a cynical bent, I suspect that those figures would switch were there a Republican in the Oval office at the moment,

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