France's five cardinal sins over Iraq André Glucksmann
International Herald Tribune
Saturday, February 22, 2003
Living on a cloud
PARIS The usual trans-Atlantic spats are growing into a full-blown divorce. It is time everyone swept off his own doorstep and closely examined his government's responsibilities. In my view, Paris has committed five cardinal sins.
1. Demolition. Responding to the eight-plus-10 European states that have sided with the United States, President Jacques Chirac sealed an "alliance for peace" with President Vladimir Putin of Russia on Feb. 10. In so doing, he revived in Central Europe the harsh memory of three centuries spent in the shadow - or under the heel - of the Russian "big brother."
With the European community divided and NATO splintering, the Franco-German duo calls itself "Europe" and says it speaks for 25 nations, but represents only three (thanks to Belgium). The "old European" couple criticizes American "arrogance" and "unilateralism," compliments that can easily be turned back on them. Is there a more insane way to saw off the branch you're sitting on? Is there a less productive path to European unity?
2. Moral scandal. The French-German-Russian coalition (joined by China and Syria) proclaims itself the "moral" axis, the "peace camp." But this "anti-war party" has its feet firmly planted in war. For those who may have forgotten, think of the Caucasus, where the Russian Army razed Chechnya's capital city, Grozny, and left from 100,000 to 300,000 cadavers in its wake.
No more horrific war is being waged against civilians today. The Holocaust Museum in Washington - which can hardly be suspected of spreading extremist Islamic propaganda - ranks the Chechen conflict No. 1 on its "genocide watch." What are the anti-war activists dreaming of when Chirac promises Putin his support?
In the name of "international law," Paris and Berlin are choosing curious allies. Witness the recent election, thanks to the abstention of the Europeans, of Libya to the chair of the UN Human Rights Commission! Putin, Jiang Zemin of China, Moammar Gadhafi of Libya, Bashar Assad of Syria: why is the "peace camp" attracting butchers?
3. Demagogy over democracy. Eighty percent of Westerners support peace over war. Who wouldn't? Draping themselves in "global opinion" and scoffing at other governments as "vassals" of the war clique, Paris and Berlin are recycling arguments used by the Stalinist "peace movements." The revolutionaries of yesteryear pitted "peoples" against "formal democracy." Do Chirac and Chancellor Gerhard Schröder of Germany today question the notion that, in a proper democracy, decisions are made not by polling institutes, or at the stock market, or in the streets, but in the voting booth? The elected representatives in London, Prague, Sofia, Madrid, and Warsaw are as legitimate as those in Paris and Berlin.
4. Powerlessness. The same global opinion polls, meanwhile, show that 75 percent of the world views Saddam as a threat to peace. While one actor can indeed trigger a conflict, it takes two to disarm. Yet for the past 12 years Baghdad has done nothing but deceive and delay. A malevolent state can easily camouflage instruments of biological and chemical terror, scientists agree. Dragging out inspections and adding inspectors will only allow the dictator to push the game into overtime forever.
5. Wait and not see. Well-meaning souls whisper, "Certainly the Iraqi tyrant is a villain. He's tortured, killed, gassed. But how many other leaders around the world have blood on their hands? Why pick on Saddam?" Because he is more frightening. Because he is an ever-present powder keg in the heart of a fire zone. Because we must stop him from playing with his apocalyptic matches.
Imagine Kim Jong Il, North Korea's leader, with his arsenal, ruling Iraq, threatening to pulverize not Seoul but Riyadh. The planet would be petrified! The Iraqi problem is not that of a local dictator, but a global peril. However, if you listen to the "peace party," it's always too early - "Iraq has no nuclear weapons; there's no need to intervene" - or too late - "North Korea has nuclear weapons; it's too dangerous to take action."
Paris and Berlin are living on a cloud. That does not mean American strategists are infallible or that we have to hand them a blank check.
The writer is a French philosopher. This comment was translated by Tony Paschall.
Those silly Americans are at it again, throwing their weight around and generally trying to get it all their way. But what's a leader to do in these uncertain times? George Bush is obviously a threat to the stability of the entire world, and we just bet you're feeling a little anxious about your own little corner of it. Fear not! The editors of Omnipolitan Magazine have prepared this survey to help you determine just how likely you are to be invaded by the United States:
The government of your country is:
C. "Citizen-validated" dictatorship or Monarchy
D. None of your beez-naus, you obnoxious American fart-knockher
Your economy is run by:
B. Five year plans, when not meddled with by Capitalist scum whose entire race will be erased from history if we ever catch them at it again.
D. I cannot bee-leeve you. Onlee ig-no-rhant Americans would not understand the true way to Fhre-dhom is through zee kindness of zee state.
Your military is:
A. A well oiled, well controlled machine capable of striking anywhere on the globe
B. The most fearsome proof of the innate superiority of the prolitariat's true power. Except when the minisubs wash up on someone's shore.
C. Manned by illiterate draftees, lead by my best friends, equipped by France or the US.
D. Sacreblu! Our militaree ees second to non! Jes because our haircraft-caree-er had to be towed back to zee harbor twice ees no sign of our pre-pahred-nas. [book falls from shelf, BANG!!] AAG! I surrender! I surrender!
The women in your country are:
A. Equal or near-equal participants in all aspects of political, social, and legal life.
B. A part of the worker's paradise just like the men. When they aren't busy watching their children starve to death, that is.
C. Only allowed out with their cousin's-uncle's-mother's-brother-in-law, and even then only when covered by three layers of cloth (if it's below 120 at least).
D. Mon dieu! How ees ze way a so-sy-itay's tratemon zepposed to haf any bear-eeng on zee discu-shee-on? Ze weemon, zey are, how do you say, ha-pee. Who caires what the rest of zese monkees do with zaire weemon.
The children in your country are:
A. As safe and protected as we can possibly make them
B. Ensuring the continuation of the glory of our wonderful, all-powerful, and joyous leader. When they aren't busy starving to death, that is.
D. Hee-den away so zay cannot be corrup-ted by zee crass an 'orrible American cul-tyoor.
When your people disagree with your government they:
A. Vote the scoundrels out the first chance they get.
B. Are obviously defective and must be taken quickly to a re-education camp for an indefinite period of time.
D. Are seemplee confused by zee enlightened policees of ze unelected beuracracy whose sole inte-rest is thaiyr libartee.
When threatened, your country's first response is:
A. To make a lot of noise, convince as many of our friends as possible of the danger, then start kicking ass.
B. To threaten the corrupting capitalists with utter annhiliation.
C. To secretly strap bombs to kids, cars, buildings, women, and donkeys, while wailing away about how our fourteen century old
D. Culture is about to be wiped out by Zionists and Americans.
To negotiate, but of course, while our crack special forc-es find out wheech official eet will be most efficiant to bribe.
A. If attacked, your country's first response would be to:
B. Pull together, bury our dead, heal our wounded, then start kicking ass.
D. Ha-ha! Onlee zee Americans, because of zayre eegnorant and boorish ways, haf anything to fear from zee world. Our enlight-eend policy of briberee and pro-test protects us from [cat knocks over vase, CRASH!!] AAG! I surrender! I surrender!
If some citizens of your country organize so they can more effectively disagree with your policies, you:
A. Are required by law to allow them to assemble. You also listen to what they have to say, modify your policies (if only a little) to try and accommodate them, and arrest anyone who's smoking pot, if only to thin the crowd a bit.
B. Roll tanks into whatever village or neighborhood is full of these dangerous spies and traitors to show them the consequences of disagreeing with our benevolent and enlightened policies.
C. Use gas. It's faster.
D. Allow zem to para-lyze zee entire countree because zay tink zay need forty more hou-ers of vacation.
If shown an inkblot, an average citizen in your country would think it was:
A. A burger. MMmm... burgers...
B. What was left of their husband, who disappeared six months ago because he said the glorious leader might need a haircut. No! Wait! I didn't mean that he-[BANG!]
C. What was left of your sister after she nobly sacrificed herself in the name of God ensuring the Zionist conspirators infesting that daycare center were taken care of.
D. Pah! EEt iz obvious-lee zee work of an enlight-ened arteest, only zee ignorant American would theenk it was a bur-ger.
A answers: 0 points
B answers: 10 points
C answers: 25 points
D answers: -5 points
0-20 points What the hell is wrong with you? The US might be loud, annoying, and obnoxious but you know damned good and well what would happen if something really bad happened to your country. Hint: it won't be the French offering you the biggest airlift force in the world, and it won't be MADE IN JAPAN stamped on the tons of relief supplies raining down from the sky.
21-100 points Well, the US probably isn't all that interested in invading you, but you shouldn't be surprised if mysterious airplanes so full of electronics you can pick them up from your fillings patrol off your coasts.
100-200 points Probably not any time real soon, but I'd make sure to pack some fresh underwear in your [pinky to mouth] super-secret escape capsule [/pinky to mouth], because if you don't straighten up soon you're probably next.
-50-0 points You're French, which makes you annoying, effete, two-faced, deceitful and an ingrate, but it doesn't make you a target. Go back to eating cheese and boinking your mistress and let the real countries take care of business. We'll let you know when it's safe to come out and play.
Chirac blasts eastern Europeans over pro-American stance, warns on EU membership Mon Feb 17, 5:45 PM ET
By PAUL AMES, Associated Press Writer
BRUSSELS, Belgium - French President Jacques Chirac launched a withering attack Monday on eastern European nations who signed letters backing the U.S. position on Iraq, warning it could jeopardize their chances of joining the European Union (news - web sites).
"It is not really responsible behavior," he told a news conference. "It is not well brought up behavior. They missed a good opportunity to keep quiet."
Chirac was angered when EU candidates Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic joined pro-U.S. EU members such as Britain, Spain and Italy last month in a letter supporting Washington's line on Iraq against the more dovish stance of France and Germany.
Paris was further upset when 10 other eastern European nations signed a similar letter a few days later.
France argued that the moves aggravated splits in the 15-nation EU and backed the ideas put forward by U.S. Defense Secretary Donald H. Rumsfeld who had earlier spoke of France and Germany as "old Europe" in contrast to the easterners seeking to join the EU and NATO (news - web sites).
"Concerning the candidate countries, honestly I felt they acted frivolously because entry into the European Union implies a minimum of understanding for the others," Chirac told reporters after an emergency EU summit on Iraq.
He warned the candidates the position could be "dangerous" because the parliaments of the 15 EU nations still have to ratify last December's decision for 10 new members to join the bloc on May 1, 2004.
Chirac particularly warned Romania and Bulgaria, who are still negotiating to enter the bloc in 2007.
"Romania and Bulgaria were particularly irresponsible to (sign the letter) when their position is really delicate," Chirac said. "If they wanted to diminish their chances of joining Europe they could not have found a better way."
Britain, Spain and other EU nations had suggested the candidate nations attend Monday's emergency summit on Iraq, but France and Germany opposed the idea.
Although Spanish Prime Minister Jose Maria Aznar and British Prime Minister Tony Blair (news - web sites) were the driving forces behind the letter backing America and EU members Italy, Denmark and Portugal also signed up, Chirac saved his wrath for the candidates.
"When you're in the family you have more rights than when you're knocking on the door," he said.
Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia, Cyprus and Malta are set to join in May 2004. Lagging behind economically, Romania and Bulgaria were told to wait three more years.
Instead of attending the EU summit, the candidates are due to travel to Brussels Tuesday for a briefing on its outcome by Greece, which currently holds the EU presidency.
Greek Prime Minister Costas Simitis denied they had been excluded from the summit because of their backing for Washington, insisting rules require the treaties be signed first.
"We will not discuss pro-American or anti-American positions," Simitis told a news conference. "The candidate countries will be members" soon, and "we have to proceed together."
France is so tolerant and peace-loving, isn't it? Hypocrites.
France has finally chosen sides in the war on terrorism.
France's top General - General Pepe dePants - has arrived in Baghdad in efforts to train the elite Republican Guard on the best methods of surrender. When asked about his military history, General dePants cited his 54 battlefield surrenders as proof that his methods work better than any others tried throughout history.
"You can't refute my claims that I am the quickest surrenderer in the history of the world," said Gen. dePants.
General dePants will be in Iraq helping the Iraqi army in its regimented training exercises to better be able to physically raise their arms without tiring out too quickly. "When a soldiers arms tire out, they are unable to keep their hands where they can be seen and risks losing their lives," he Gen. dePants was overheard saying.
I just thought I'd post a link to this article that I wrote last year about anti-Semitism in France, for the simple reason that it is chocked full of French-bashing goodness:
Saying au revior to anti-semitism in France by Owen Courrèges
The Rice Thresher
Fresh off the presses from the French Tourist Office: "Welcome to France, where anti-Semitism flows like wine and burning synagogues illuminate the night sky. Where the city of lights becomes a city of license, where the Kristallnacht life really heats up."