- and as is often the case with good questions, I can only offer a poor answer. I do believe that the extent of the support is somewhat overstated.
There’s currently a workable majority in Parliament (“Folketinget”) for military action against Iraq, but only with a renewed UN mandate. This attitude seems to be reflected in the population, according to most polls.
(The current Gvt. does not hold an absolute majority, so they’re basically forced to get support from other parties in Parliament. There are currently no less than 10 parties and two MPs without party affiliation in Parliament, voting blocks can form in interesting ways.)
But apparently, the PM (Anders Fogh Rasmussen) recently said in an interview that there was technically already a UN mandate in place: Resolution 1441. That might have been where the idea started that Denmark was behind the US, no matter what.
The Danish reaction to the PMs unbridled enthusiasm was not one of undiluted joy. His own Foreign Minister (Per Stig Møller) voiced disagreement publicly. The parliamentary support - the “Danish People’s Party” (right-wing, despite the name) - made it clear that their vote was 100% dependent on a second UN mandate.
IOW, it would appear that the support is really being oversold just a tad.
That being said, there’s little doubt in my mind that the PM personally is trying hard to align himself with the UK/US axis. For one thing, he’s ideologically aligned with the idea of a somewhat reduced welfare state. Not that he can realistically modify the existing Danish system, but he can dream…
For another, he’s in a tough spot in the upcoming discussions re. the Thule radar’s upgrade to support NMD. There’s an interesting trilateral balance between Denmark, Greenland and the US. Getting on the US’ good side in these negotiations wouldn’t hurt.
And lastly, I believe he’s just a little flattered with the attention. He’s getting phonecalls from the White House, now. Doesn’t happen all that often that the leader of a country of 5.5 million people gets to chew the fat with the leader of the free world.
Add to that the Russian-Danish relations are at an all-time low, after Danish authorities refused to arrest an alleged Czechnyan rebel because Moscow delivered diddly-squat as evidence, and I guess we’re seeing how the PM decided what block to join.
I dunno. Seeing as the support is going to be 50 special force troops (“Jægerkorpset”) and a 30-year old diesel sub, it’s mostly a gesture anyway.