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    Danish Prime Minister Lars Lokke Rasmussen (R) and US Secretary of State John Kerry (L) sit for a meeting at Christiansborg Castle in Copenhagen, Denmark, 16 June 2016

    Dangerous Liaisons: Danes Seek Close US Ties Despite Terror Risk

    © REUTERS / Scanpix Denmark/Jens Astrup
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    Terrorism Threat in Europe (269)

    Sometimes, leanings and sympathies cannot be explained logically. According to a new survey, Danes admit that a close friendship with the US increases their risk of terror, yet support the intimacy with Washington.

    While Copenhagen is welcoming US Secretary of State John Kerry with pomp, the pollster Megafon has conducted a survey on behalf of the channel TV2 and newspaper Politiken, yielding baffling results. Forty percent of Danes believe that a close association with the United States contributes to a greater risk of terrorism inside Denmark. However, 64 percent of the Danes polled concede that a close relationship with the US is vital for the nation's security and prosperity.

    Terror researcher Carsten Bagge Laustsen of Aarhus University brushed his compatriots' fear aside as unnecessary alarmism, yet admitted that their apprehension may be partially justified.

    "Anti-Americanist sentiment is high in the Middle East, and is even higher among the Middle Eastern Islamic terrorist organizations, so once you become associated with the American warfare, the attitude towards Denmark is adversely affected," Carsten Bagge Laustsen told TV2. "For a terrorist who resides or has roots in Denmark, it is quite obvious that the Danish participation in the war may be used as a pretext for ‘legitimizing' a terrorist attack," he said.

    When former US president George W. Bush proclaimed that countries were either with the US or against it, then-Danish prime minister Anders Fogh Rasmussen did not hesitate to join the US campaigns in the Middle East. Later, former prime minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt followed suit and declared that Denmark and the US shared "an unbreakable friendship."

    Given that the heads of the Nordic countries only a month ago visited the White House, where they came under a lot of praise from Barack Obama himself, it is no surprise that John Kerry's visit to Denmark has been hailed as a token of American favor in Copenhagen.

    "It means a lot. A US Foreign Minister has many things on his agenda, so it is great of him to come to a small country like Denmark so soon after the Nordic summit during which Denmark's Prime Minister and Foreign Minister received much attention from both Barack Obama and John Kerry," Torsten Jansen, former press and cultural attaché at the Danish Embassy in Washington and partner at the LEAD Agency told Danish Radio.

    The move may not be all that surprising: the Danish government's May decision to recommend the F-35A Lightning II as the country's preferred multi-role next-generation fighter option over less expensive competing bids may have played a role.

    Earlier, Kerry paid a visit to Norway, meeting with the country's Prime Minister Erna Solberg. During his stay in Denmark, Kerry is meeting Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen, Foreign Minister Kristian Jensen and Queen Margrethe II.

    Terrorism Threat in Europe (269)


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