Wednesday, April 30, 2003
This is shabby treatment for an old friend who came to our rescue as far back as the American Revolutionary War. I'm thinking of France's Marquis de Lafayette who came to aid George Washington in 1777 in our war of liberation from England. Then there was the French navy that reinforced Washington's army and helped to defeat the British at Yorktown in 1781. Not that we didn't express our gratitude by defending France from Germany in two world wars in the last century. We did.
I would also argue that we defended France from Germany because it was the right thing to do. Thomas thinks it was payback. In the intervening two centuries since the American Revolution, French assistance to the US has been a little scarce.
But reverence for our history is not a distinguishing characteristic of this administration. It also has displayed an acute allergy to dissent, internally and externally. Now that the United States has conquered Iraq, the Bush administration is trying to make good on the president's high noon philosophy: "You are either with us or against us."
The administration is more allergic to propping up dictators to guarantee lucrative oil contracts. But this kind of criticism is in remarkably short supply from the likes of Thomas unless it is leveled at a Bechtel or Halliburton. TotalFinaElf? TotalSilence. Good use of the rancorous "conquered," Helen. John Pilger would be proud. But spare us the cowboy-inflected "high noon." It's hackneyed and very European.
The New York Times reports that the neo conservatives on the presidential and vice presidential staffs are planning to freeze out the French by turning for decisions to the NATO Defense Policy Council which does not include France. It may also snub the North Atlantic Council, NATO's governing body of which France is a member.
Well, congratulate the "neo" conservatives for me, Helen. I think it's an appropriate time the let the French know that our military protectionism doesn't necessarily come free of charge. The thought that the French may have to pony up for their own military costs at the expense of their welfare state may put a little chill in Chirac's champagne, don't you think? Thomas would have us believe that because the French sit on the NAC that they are somehow an equal partner in NATO. Think again.
Russian President Vladimir Putin also has been given a chilly shoulder.
Well, seeing as Vlad's countrymen helped supply almost 60% of the weaponry that Iraq used against us, it's hard to drum up much sympathy for him. Remember that old liberal argument that we (the US) armed Iraq, so therefore we were getting our just desserts? Now that it has been revealed that over 3/4 of those arms (not including the parts that the French provided over the past several years surreptitiously, in violation of UN sanctions) came from France, Germany, and Russia, none in the liberal media seem too keen on talking about who armed Hussein. Where is the outrage? Oh, I forgot, that is reserved for America.
In its frenzy to make sure that no one else share in the spoils of victory, Bush is determined to bar the world organization from playing any significant role in the reconstruction of Iraq.
What exactly is the "world organization," Helen? The UN? Why don't you just call it the UN, then? The UN didn't do its job, Helen. The UN was too feckless to enforce the very measures itself had passed. The UN is interested in one thing: giving power to those who don't deserve it (Cuba, Libya, Syria, etc) and maintaining the status quo. It is a bureaucracy of the worst kind. Because the logical result of the UN actually accomplishing anything that it pretends to want to accomplish spells ultimately the end of the UN--and, by extension, to cushy jobs and living quarters in fashionable parts of the Upper West Side. You know, the very people that Helen likes to hobnob with.posted by the wolf | 4:39 PM