Unlike many frustrated Americans – especially right now – I like the French, I love France, I love the way French women dress and move, and I love French electronic pop (Mellow, Air). The French do seem ot have an unfortunately grand vision of their place in history, but I can live with that – so do we.
But I am having a hard time coming to terms with their stance toward Iraq: either it is cold calculation for mostly domestic political gain, knowing full well that that they cannot stop a war against Iraq; or they really do think they can stop the march of history, and seek to do so for fear of what will be discovered of their complicity and duplicity regarding Iraq when the dust settles.
I hope and believe it is the former, but if it is the latter then no amount of female sex appeal will save their place in history from what could be the moral equivalent of a second Vichy.
Even mild-mannered internationalist diplomat Colin Powell is turning against them:
- “It cannot be a satisfactory solution for inspections just to continue forever because some nations are afraid of stepping up to the responsibility of imposing the will of the international community,” Powell said in comments that followed weeks of increasingly irate exchanges across the Atlantic.
….Powell’s comments, in an interview broadcast on Wednesday by French public radio France Info, were a clear reproach to French President Jacques Chirac, who has pushed hard for a longer, more intense inspection process in Iraq.
….”It is not a matter of more inspectors or a longer inspection process. French colleagues think that that is the issue. That is not the issue in our judgment,” Powell said. Baghdad must provide answers to specific questions such as the fate of banned weapons it previously admitted having.
Some of Chirac’s critics accuse him of turning Powell, a fellow advocate of the United Nations’ role in the Iraq crisis within an otherwise skeptical U.S. administration, against Paris by taking too hard a line against war. [Reuters]
Right now he doesn’t seem to much care.