Ignorant public

In examining the responses of 500 Greeks that were included in the EU poll made public yesterday, you would either think that you yourself have gone mad or that the respondents to the poll have. The fact that the proportion of Greeks who deem that the US poses the greatest threat to world peace is the largest in the EU (88 percent) should come as no surprise. Greeks were top of the same list during the US war on Yugoslavia. But while we lead the group of «anti-American» countries by 24 percentage points (the Dutch are next with 64 percent), we are behind others with regard to Israel, which is rated as the most serious threat in seven other EU states. Our exceptionalism is best highlighted in that we are the bottom of those who rate Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan and North Korea as a threat to world peace. The question is whether our views are the product of accurate information and critical judgment or the outgrowth of anti-American prejudice and groundless xenophobia, leavened with misinformation and confusion. If the former is true, public opinion should be praised as a sign of perspicacity, courage and independence. But Eurobarometer findings suggest otherwise. According to all previous EU surveys, Greeks were the most pro-European citizens in the EU, believing that membership brought political protection and economic benefit. In the latest poll, however, Greeks see the EU as a threat, their europhobia surpassing that of all states save Britain. Our confusion between trust and skepticism, of safety and threat is also reflected in the overwhelming proportion (90 percent) who approve of EU mediation in the Mideast. So much for those who rushed to interpret the poll as evidence of democratic and independent-minded citizens. So much for those who hand out certificates of progressiveness by exploiting ignorance and confusion.