Monday, January 03, 2005
In Other News, Pigs Fly. Film at 11
Some of the juicier bits:
Mr. Chirac's diplomats even spent October lobbying unsuccessfully for Iraqi insurgent groups - the ones now killing American troops and Iraqi civilians - to be represented at the international summit in Egypt in November. It is difficult to see how French interests are furthered in any way by this behavior, unless France is understood to believe that its own aims are advanced whenever American ones are thwarted.
Dean Acheson once was asked to recommend a course of action with respect to de Gaulle. He advised an "empty chair" policy - that is, French-American relations would improve only after de Gaulle had left the scene.
Condoleezza Rice, now Mr. Bush's nominee for secretary of state, was quoted in 2003 as telling colleagues that the United States should "punish France." This is a tempting tactic, for it holds out the promise of vengeful satisfaction. It was also the motive behind the recent campaigns to boycott French products. Unbeknownst to most of the participants, however, the consumer strategy was tried without much success in the 1960's. In truth, Paris isn't worth a boycott.
Thinking otherwise only buys into the Gaullist claim that France should occupy a place of reverence in the community of nations. But why should its views matter any more than, say, Italy, whose population and economy are nearly the same size?
Moreover, making an example of the French is precisely the wrong approach because it elevates France in the eyes of the world's anti-Americans, who will always be with us. The one thing France and the neo-Gaullists can't possibly abide is being ignored. Perhaps that's punishment enough.