In 1983, Denmark’s national soccer team came to England for a crucial qualifying match for the 1984 European Championship. Although the upstart Danes had been playing great, the English soccer establishment was confident they would be put in their place and, in the words of one sportswriter, return “to doing what the Danes do best: making sandwiches, drinking lager, and watching English football on the telly.”
Instead, Denmark gave England a footballing lesson. They went on to make the semi-finals of the European Championship (a competition they would win in 1992) while England stayed home.
By European standards, there’s much to admire about the Danes in addition to their soccer prowess and their lager. For one thing, according to Helle Dale, recent studies show them to be the happiest people in the world. For another, they have resisted, perhaps more than any other country, the imperial designs of the European Union. As Dale observes, Danish membership is subject to various caveats and exemptions from common social mandates and defense cooperation requirements. The Danes have not been asked to vote on the European Constitution because there has been little reason to believe they would ratify that monstrous document. Meanwhile, the Danish Constitution sagely requires that treaty obligations of this type be put to a popular referendum.
The Danes have also held the line on immigration. Immigrants comprise only five percent of the populatiomn Few Danes want that percentage to increase, so the government has enacted some of the strictest anti-immigration laws in Europe. Denmark also requires its immigrants to learn Danish.
But here’s my main pitch on behalf of Denmark: a poll shows that 68 percent of Danes would support an attack on Iran as a last resort to stop it acquiring a nuclear bomb. That’s the highest percentage of any European country. Via John Hood at NRO’s Corner.
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