The contradictory French. Again


American Thinker's editor Thomas Lifson believes that French haughtiness and its selfishly destructive foreign policy may be somewhat offset by France's style, its culture its oh, je ne sais quois

OK.  But this blunt analysis by Barry Rubin explains why even the Statue of Liberty and other French admirable cultural contributions don't balance the country's moral emptiness, its contradictory tolerance of evil which harms so many.

Just before the Iraq war, one of France's most impressive strategic analysts correctly predicted that the invading forces would find mass graves and other evidence of the terrible brutality of the Saddam Hussein regime. Can you imagine, he asked me, what will happen when this evidence comes out and French intellectuals demand to know why our government protected such a brutal dictatorship?

But that accounting has never taken place. Indeed, it says something about the nature of our current era that French President Jacques Chirac has managed to portray himself as an international hero while American President George W. Bush is widely seen as some sort of ravening beast.

Now France is entitled to base its policy purely on narrow and material national interests; but it cannot then pretend (successfully!) that it is nevertheless acting in the interests of high morality, justice and the benefit of the international community.

A government which has frequently pursued policies that go against the views and interests of most of Europe has been able to posture as Europe's leader. The regime that has carried out dozens of military interventions in Africa without consulting any other country or institution has been able to pose as the champion of international legitimacy.

Ah, the French are clever.  Pragmatic even.  As Rubin points out they've managed to pacify the left and establish its progressive credentials by opposing Europe's and the world's favorite bogeyman——the US.  And it works

One might think that propping up and protecting many of the world's most viciously repressive dictatorships would draw fire in a country with traditions like France's. Yet the reinvention of reactionary rulers as revolutionary heroes has worked very well for the French government. It appeals to France's growing Muslim minority too — but that was merely a side benefit, not the motivation for the policy.

Oh sure, France has toned down its hostility to the US and while its revolutionary heritage once proudly proclaimed liberte, equalite, fraternite the domestic problems caused by the Moslem population from their former North African colonies has resulted in treatment and laws that would make any nominal American civil libertarian screech.  At most a few French civil libertarians, such as they are, whisper their opposition.  And of course in the former French colony of Lebanon (France, unlike the US, had an extensive colonial empire) the assassination of Hariri and subsequent turmoil will affect France. 

So even as the French blithely sell weapons to Iran they might need the US.

C'est la vie.

Ethel C. Fenig   4 20 05