Will the 'war on terror' go on after Bush?

Ahmed El Hadeka - in Cairo, Egypt

US President George W. Bush left Washington last week for what was likely to be his last official diplomatic tour of Europe. His itinerary included three major countries: Germany, France and the Britain.

He was probably trying to ensure that Europe will continue in his "war on terror," specifically focusing on Iran, after he hands over the reins of government next January to the winner of this year's American presidential election.

To put our hand on a probable future European action toward the war on terror, we had to turn to some new surveys, and then analyse them. Of course, this year's US election will have a major effect on the results we will gain. But that's probably and only if the Democratic Party wins with Senator Barack Obama. Let's take a look at the countries which Bush visited.


According to Gallup's annual World Affairs survey, today's level of favourability of Americans toward Britain is a bit lower than it was from February 2005 to February 2007, when Britain was led by Prime Minister Tony Blair, who was one of Bush's strongest allies in the Iraq war. That's because the current prime minister, Gordon Brown, did not show until now such a real strong support toward the war on terror and specifically Iran.


As Germany was a leading adversary of the United States over the decision to go to war with Iraq in 2003, the perceptions of Americans toward it was more unfavourable than it is in 2008, because right-wing Chancellor Angela Merkel is considered a strong supporter of the American warnings to Iran.


Although the former French president, Jacques Chirac, was against the war on terror, which led to an unfavourable view of France by Americans, the latest change in French leadership may reflect a positive improvement in these views because of the friendly relationship between Bush and President Nicolas Sarkozy.

As the war on terror is currently focused on Iraq, so we can come here to different opposite results.

Either Americans support the war on Iraq, or Americans do not support the war on Iraq, but they need the support of their government's policy from other countries to make them feel that their government is doing right.

When we know that in 2008, 63 per cent of Americans feel that the US has made a mistake in sending troops to Iraq, we can conclude that Americans do really they need foreign support for their government's policy over Iraq, which will lead them to feel that their government is doing the right work on the war on terror.

That's what the statistics really showed, that most Americans - about 67 per cent of them - do not trust their government.

Of course, this distrust in the government leads to unsafe feelings among most Americans. All democratic governments need the support and trust of its citizens, so what are the possibilities for Americans to regain their feelings of being safe?

During the first week of June, Americans continued to show near-unanimity in that the economy continues to deteriorate, with 89 per cent of those making less than $90,000 a year saying things are getting worse and 83 per cent of those making $90,000 or more saying the same.

- Because most of America's economy is focused on the war on terror, less focus on this war's economy will be appropriate to improve the economic level of most of the Americans.

- Less focus on the war's economy will totally improve the focus on internal national security.

- Also, less focus on the war will decrease the probable amount of feedback from terrorists on the United States.

This is only if the US has ended the war on Iraq, or at least is less focused on it.

Finally, if American Democratic presidential candidate Barack Obama is really planning to end the war on Iraq and invest the savings gained from military withdrawal to help the United States economy, I assume that Europe will follow him in ending this war, because nowadays Europe cannot continue in such a war without the support of the world's strongest political leader - the US.