Foreign Policy has ‘weakend UK’s moral authority’ – poll….
Politics Home has details of this poll which shows a considerable support for reducing military commitments. Even 53% of Labour supporters took the view that the moral authority of the UK on the international stage was weakened by it’s foreign policy. Overall only 30% took either an equivocal or supportive view that either the UK’s reputation had either been enhanced or not effected.
Of course the phrasing of the question makes it a bit abstract however what this does show is that the moral dimension to foreign policy has been tainted mostly one would assume by the murk surrounding the decision to go to war in Iraq. When asked to draw specific conclusions there were contrasting results; a clear majority (54% overall) supported the line that the UK should;
“‘reduce its capability and willingness to commit armed forces to international military operations’, even if it meant not being a major international power.”
However, a clear majority also expressed ‘somewhat’ support for the concept of humanitarian intervention; 57% overall (16% strongly supporting). Even 40% of Conservative supporters somewhat supported the concept and although this was lower than amoung the other parties (Labour and Lib Dems tied on 46%) it could potentially sit somewhat at odds with the more ‘cautious’ notes sounded by William Hague
So, while support remains for noble ends there is less enthusiasm and will behind the means which invariably will lead to a deeper questioning of whether direct military interventionism is the way forward. It is a shame that the poll didn’t do more to track the impact of specific issues on peoples preceptions and see how their views generally compare and contrast with views on a specific issue like Afghanistan. However, I think that we can say in general we are moving to a situation where there will be less public support for commitment to military missions especially for regime changes.