Friday, November 12, 2004
I don't ordinarily spend a great deal of time thinking about France and French politics. It's basically a weak and irrelevant country, except it is a pretty place to visit and the food is a treat. It's sad to say that France only becomes geopolitically relevant when it behaves badly or stupidly. It has long been forgotten that the French were actually our enemy for most of WWII under the political leadership of the Vichy (i.e, French Nazi) government and Petain. I suppose that they were relevant then. The Germans found the architecture and food charming too. Let's not forget that not a building in Paris was blemished by the Germans, while London was subjected to endless bombings. Paris was and is much more pleasant than Stalingrad and Berlin. Is Chirac Petain? If you asked that question of a full time elite jouranlist, would he understand what I am asking? Could he spell Petain?
Maybe there is something to this. Chirac is clearly appeasing his Arab population at the expense of his relationship with the US, Israel, the UK and other European countries. While it is not shocking that he has to deal with this political reality, at some point he gets exposed. It was politically clever for him to break with the US on Iraq, but at some point the cost gets very high. If, for instance, his main ally in this position, Gerhard Shroeder (my goodness, the German analogy holds up), get chucked out on his ear, Chirac will be pretty lonely in his stance. It looked good for awhile -- Aznar is voted out in Spain for Zapatero, Chirac has momentum. But suddenly John Howard wins, Bush wins and Blair looks good again. The German and French economies suck wind...maybe Chirac doesn't have staying power. Can he resist the American position forever?
Thus far, Ariel Sharon has demonstrated the keenest understanding of history, and a willingness to refer to it. Recall his reference to the fact that "Israel will not be Czechoslavakia." That reference undoubtedly had Peter Jennings calling history professors to figure out Sharon's meaning. He meant Israel won't be sold out as a token of appeasement without dragging alot of people down with him, as Chamberlain sold out the Czechs to Hitler. It was a message to Bush and Blair more than anybody.
A couple of years later, he tosses out a recommendation to his French/Jewish brothers that they might want to consider purchasing some real estate elsewhere. He's telling us that he thinks Chirac might sink the French ship in favor of the Algerians and Moroccans. Throughout history, states have at some point scapegoated their domestic Jewry because it has been a convenient sop - and those states have paid a big price for their bigotry. Right now France is the finest example of a state about to drown itself in this folly. Let's watch it play out. Does anybody seriously think that the North African Muslim underclass in France will uplift French economic, social and intellectual society? I guess there is a price to be paid for French colonialism.
It is increasingly extraordinary to me how this Islamofascist War (WWIV) is playing out as a dramatic reenactment of WWII, but within tighter political guidelines and with far casualties on both sides. Of course, this time we have far better allies, as some of our former enemies have changes sides, Japan being the best example. Italy started out on the winning side this time. But the geopolitical ambiguity of the French and Germans is the most interesting element here. When will they roll over?
That is a damned good question.
Great post, TigerHawk, and thank you for sharing it.
This posts illustrates, in part, where the MSM is naive about the whole Middle Eastern question. Israel is a democracy, and, as a result, the MSM has free rein to report on anything it chooses. In stark, stark contrast, none of the Arab countries are democracies, and media access is very limited to say the least. There can be daily reports out of Jerusalem or Tel Aviv, but are there any out of Riyadh, Damascus, Amman, Tripoli? Haven't all of the Arab countries purged themselves of their Jewish populations and stripped away rights of the aging Jews (if any by this time) who remain? And aren't those countries kicking the crap out of anyone who dissents, and aren't the elite ruling classes basically depriving most of their populations of a good chance for future betterment?
So France falls for the ruse, as does a good part of Western Europe. Instead of focusing on the massive problems that the Arab world creates, the West (and some MSM) focus exclusively on alleged Israeli abuses. This is the anti-Semitic baiting trap -- get everyone to focus on the diversion that is Israel, instead of the huge problems in their own countries.
Let's face it, the leadership of the Arab world is threatened by any democracy in the Middle East, especially a Palestinian one. Why? Because the "masses" in the other Arab nations will want one too.
Let's hope that with the U.S. leading the way, there will be a practical resolution in the Middle East that stands firm against Islamic extremists and that continues to promote open, Democratic societies -- free of religious hatred -- everywhere.
The Centrist (who is somewhat "hawkish" too).
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