Different Risk Perceptions in Denmark and Why

 Risk is a man made calculation based on facts of costs (input) and profit/casualties (output) by acting. Here three types of risks are identified: A political, military and a public risk approach. The political risk perception is the international security or risk situation of Denmark defined by politicians. The military risk perception is that of Danish Army senior officers deployed in the IFOR/SFOR multinational mission in Bosnia from 1996 to 1999. The third type is the Danish public opinion of fear of a terror attack against Denmark based on two public surveys published shortly after September 11, 2001 by Gallup, Denmark and by the EU-Commission. One would expect a low Danish risk perception of politicians and population, in general, after the end of the Cold War and a somewhat higher risk perception by Danish soldiers deployed abroad in conflict areas. However, this is not the case. Danish (and in particular American) politicians often define threats of terror while Danish soldiers abroad having experienced casualties are less inclined to do so. Two explanations are presented. One is the new active role played by smaller nations offering their soldiers to enter areas of humanitarian crises/conflicts around the world. This, in return, expands the military role for soldiers and armies serving in peace support operations, PSO. Another explanation is the public demand for faster military intervention. But both explanations can be criticized. PSO operations are not that important for our national security even if it is so argued by our politicians and political abuse to intervene in our private sphere is a possibility. We have the right to question each and every counter terror initiative. It is no criticism of the battle against terror but a defense of our democracy.