CIA report into shoring up Afghan war support in Western Europe, 11 Mar 2010
This classified CIA analysis from March outlines possible PR strategies to shore up public support in Germany and France for a continued war in Afghanistan. After the Dutch government fell on the issue of Dutch troops in Afghanistan last month, the CIA became worried that similar events could happen in the countries that post the third and fourth largest troop contingents to the ISAF mission. The proposed PR strategies focus on pressure points that have been identified within these countries. For France it is the sympathy of the public for Afghan refugees and women. For Germany it is the fear of the consequences of defeat (drugs, more refugees, terrorism) as well as for Germany’s standing in NATO. The memo is a recipe for the targeted manipulation of public opinion in two NATO ally countries, written by the CIA. It is classified as Confidential/No Foreign Nationals
Public Apathy Enables Leaders To Ignore Voters. . . (C//NF)
The Afghanistan mission’s low public salience has allowed French and German leaders to disregard popular opposition and steadily increase their troop contributions to the International Security Assistance Force (ISAF). Berlin and Paris currently maintain the third and fourth highest ISAF troop levels, despite the opposition of 80 percent of German and French respondents to increased ISAF deployments, according to INR polling in fall 2009.
• Only a fraction (0.1-1.3 percent) of French and German respondents identified “Afghanistan” as the most urgent issue facing their nation in an open-ended question, according to the same polling. These publics ranked “stabilizing Afghanistan” as among the lowest priorities for US and European leaders, according to polls by the German Marshall Fund (GMF) over the past two years.
• According to INR polling in the fall of 2009, the view that the Afghanistan mission is a waste of resources and “not our problem” was cited as the most common reason for opposing ISAF by German respondents and was the second most common reason by French respondents. But the “not our problem” sentiment also suggests that, so for, sending troops to Afghanistan is not yet on most voters’ radar. (C//NF)
. . . But Casualties Could Precipitate Backl