2/08/2003

Our handling of the French for the past 50 years is truly remarkable. They were useless during WWII, yet we still gave them a permanent place on the Security Council. They reneged on NATO, yet we still treated them as allies and friends. They flame the fires of anti-Americanism at home, and we look the other way. We still look upon France as the France of Lafayette and Rochambeau, a France that was brutally murdered (for good and bad reasons) during the 1790s. Eventually, and hopefully before too late, we will realize that the France of the American imagination -- a great ally with beautiful women, great cheese, and plenty of wine -- does not exist. While it is true that there are two Frances, that of the elite (Paris for short) and that of the people (the Provinces), Paris runs the show, and it is Paris who we need to have the balls to stand up against. In Rumsfeld's remarks (as well as Perle, Powell, and Bush), I see an awakening to this reality, but time is of the essence. As the U.S. prosecutes its war on terror, the stakes increase, and we need to realize that Paris has answered the statement, "You are either with us or against us," with a resounding, "We are against them!" and treat them accordingly. France's turn as a player on the world stage has come to an end, and, like a drunk friend who needs to go home, we need to diplomatically remove them from the world stage before they do something really damaging.

UPDATE: Basically, the point is: there is no good reason for France to be considered a major player, so why is the U.S. allowing it to keep that position, especially considering the damage their actions are having on U.S. interests.
While Chirac and Mugabe party together, the English Cricket team announced a boycott of their match in Zimbabwe. Reason 12321 why the United Kingdom is better than France.
Chicago's Comiskey Park was renamed U.S. Cellular Field last month. While I understand the need for a team to maximize revenue generation to compete with the Yankees and I'm not one of those baseball fans who insists on tradition at all costs, a sport that sells itself on tradition as much as baseball does needs to recognize that tangible links to the past like the Comiskey name should be preserved.
Holy Cow - Just saw a preview for ABC's Are You Hot? Don't know if this is truly another sign of the decline of Western Civilization but it is sad that instead of trying to beat Fox with quality TV, ABC thinks they can out-sleaze Fox. No one out-sleazes Fox.
On a separate note, Evan should pick Zora.
On my trip to Whole Foods this evening, I was struck by the cars in the parking lot. While I wasn't surprised by the economic class of the Silicone Valley clientelle at this high end but ultra PC grocer, I wonder if any of the patrons in the store thought it was ironic driving a Porsche to buy their food (the 911 Turbo gets 13 MPG in the city) while voting democrat and complaining about drilling in Alaska. Of course the answer to this is obvious but still . . .
Just watched the Capital Gang discussion on the liberation of Iraq and, I must say, I'm impressed with Al Hunt's consistency. I’ve never been a big fan of Al’s WSJ pieces – his views on tax and economic policy are nakedly partisan and, more to the point, wrong – but he is in favor of using military force on Saddam regardless of a second resolution (although he agrees that a UN mandate would be preferable). Unlike I think many other Dems, it’s clear that he really did understand the importance of gaining international support, which we now have, as opposed to the anachronistic stamp of Security Council approval which is not the universal declaration of global will. When GW has brought Al Hunt over to our side, he must be doing something right.
Munich, Germany (Reuters) – Members of the Munich Conference on Security Policy were pleased to announce today that they had agreed on new accords to end the stand-off with Iraq. In a dramatic shift from the trend towards war, the U.S., France, and Germany announced a new proposal that was immediately accepted by Iraq. In the proposal, Iraq agrees to end its development of weapons of mass destruction (WMD) in return for an end to the UN’s violation of Iraqi sovereignty and a portion of Kuwait. In 6 months time, the Kuwaitis under Iraqi stewardship will hold a referendum as to whether Iraq should govern all of Kuwait.

Surprisingly, it was the Germans who were the last to sign on to the proposal. They were deeply concerned about the negative effect the end of Iraq’s nuclear and chemical programs would have on their already beleaguered economy. Numerous German companies depend on Iraqi weapons contracts for profitability. Fortunately, the U.S., in a desperate attempt to avoid domestic issues with the ever growing anti-war movement, volunteered to donate $100 billion in aid to Germany to help them support their extensive welfare system without the need to lower their growth-prohibiting tax rate.

After the announcement, U.S. Secretary of Defense Donald Rumsfeld said to the cheering crowd, “I would like to thank you, the German people, and your neighbors the French, for being true allies. In holding out, your two countries showed the U.S., Britain, Spain, Italy, Denmark, Ireland, Latvia, Estonia, Albania, Australia, the Czech Republic, Lithuania, Poland, Turkey, Portugal, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Israel, Hungary, Romania, and many others the error of our unilateralist ways. May your country last for a 1000 years!”

Also wanting to speak to the people was Iraqi president, Saddam Hussein. Via a satellite link, he gave another round of praise to the peace movement. “I am truly grateful to you all. It is YOU who have made this historic moment possible. And I believe it is very appropriate that these accords were struck in Munich, a city of peace.”

2,130 Palestinians have died since the U.S. began its war on “terror”.
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