As surveys go, its results were rather surprising: A majority of Europeans would support deterring Iran's nuclear program by military force. It's not quite as drastic as Quakers demanding plowshares be converted to swords, but it's close.
We're not looking at a large, clamorous, martial majority, though 52 percent approved of military action. Eight percent had no opinion, possibly because they were busy packing for the state-mandated three-month vacation and didn't want to be bothered.
Forty percent disagreed that Iran should be deterred by military means, and frankly, that seems low. The European spirit, bled white by two ghastly, self-inflicted bloodbaths, has settled into the warm, milky bath of passive decline. One gets the sense that most Europeans would disapprove of military action to fight off alien invaders. Hey, everyone has a colonial phase. Who are we to point fingers, let alone guns?
Of course, Europe is a big, diverse place, and different countries had different opinions. The Danes were the most bellicose: 68 percent supported a military strike.
But who would do it? Perhaps Danes believe that the United Nations has an entire aircraft carrier strike force solar-powered, natch and blue planes from the UNN Waldheim are ready to darken the skies the moment the Security Council gives the command.
Or perhaps they know the U.S. would have to do the heavy lifting. The same survey, taken by a British think tank, showed that Europeans prefer not to spend more money on their armies. Odd: Now we're distressed by a decline in German military spending.
But no one actually believes that resurgent Kaiserism will make the Sudetenland an international flashpoint again. Americans would be content if Europe decided it wanted the ability to defend itself but that would require the continent to identify a threat and conclude that its civilization was worth defending.
The survey taken after the Iranian government added piracy to the ways it flouts international norms with brazen cheer may reflect the Europeans' unease with their own impotent status. Sure, they have "soft power,'' the sort of economic and diplomatic pressure that supposedly makes American force look brutish and hobnailed. But it's hard to put a tariff on an incoming missile. Soft power works best on soft targets, and if a claque of theocrats wants nukes to rule the Gulf and eliminate the Zionist entity, it will not be dissuaded by a six-month moratorium on dental-floss sales.
Iran won't sweat the survey results. It thinks the West is weak and exhausted, that Europe is a continent full of sixth-century Roman sodomy-besotted elites dining on larks' brains while its civilization rots from within.
In the mullahs' view, America has apparently entered another of its amusing and convenient "world citizen'' phases, in which the quantity of its self-castigation is matched only by its touching belief in "dialogue.'' From where they sit, Syria's President Assad could have shot Speaker Pelosi's bodyguard and Pelosi would have insisted on additional conferences to ensure that the process of dialogue moved forward.
That's the predictable thing about appeasers: They're so intent on moving forward they don't care which body they have to step over.
Iran is probably right, at least about Europe. If the British hostage situation accomplished anything, it reminded England that John Bull is a gelding.
Goodbye Churchill; hello Hugh Grant. Goodbye roast beef and blustery confidence in king and country; hello organic salad and a deferential cringe toward the critics of Western Civ. The Beefeaters outside Buckingham Palace might as well assume the fetal position.
Prime example: At a recent Westminster Abbey ceremony commemorating the 200th anniversary of the abolition of slavery, there were protesters. Naturally. Their slogan: "1807 to 2007, nothing's changed.'' So deep and broad are the sins of the West that the acceptance of slavery is considered the equal of an age when its abolition is honored.
With those people in your corner, all you have to do is wait. Fifty-two in favor becomes fifty-two against in time. At least the Soviets thought the West would sell them the hangman's rope; the Iranians probably think the West will subsidize the payment, and forgive the loan. If absolute power corrupts absolutely, after all, what can soft power do but soften?