Thursday, August 24, 2006

"Cheese-eating surrender monkeys" to the rescue

No more "Freedom Fries?"

We all recall how in the aftermath of the "liberation" of Iraq Condi Rice stated that US policy towards Europe should be: “Encourage the Russians, ignore the Germans and punish the French.” It was "go fly a kite" you Old Europe (France, Germany and the rest). Poland, Estonia and Bulgaria, the New Europe would now be placed at the center of the "transatlanic alliance." And I can go on and on about the "Freedom Fries" and the "Cheese-eating surrender monkeys", those Euro appeasers, Arabists, anti-Semites, etc. etc. It all sounded like the Vichi regime was back in power. Well... what do you know... It sounds like Estonia won't be able to deploy its troops to Lebanon to help disarm the Hizbollah....Did you notice how Jacques Chirac and the French have suddenly become the Good Guys in neocon "narrative. Oh, please, please, we really want to see your presence in Lebanon after all the mess the Israelis and us have made there. Yep, "It's Up to You, President Chirac." Even Bush is sucking up now to the Frogies."France has had a very close relationship with Lebanon," Bush said during his Monday press conference. "There's historical ties with Lebanon. I would hope they would put more troops in. They understand the region as well as anybody." What I found really interesting is the fact that everyone, including the guys from the Weekly Standard didn't challenge the notion that the U.S. won't be sending its troops to Lebanon. Well, you know, there was that 1982 bombing in Beirut and so many marines were killed. But the French also suffered many casualties at that time. It seems to me that the Americans are sending a message that "we can't do Lebanon; we are passing this portfolio to the French" Are we to conclude that perhaps the Bushies are beginning to feel that we're indeed overstretched in the Middle East? I believe that this is a very important development since from now on it's the French that are going to be "in charge" in Lebanon, something that the Israelis have accepted. If this works, I won't be surprise to see the French and the Italians (who are also sending troops to Lebanon) and the Germans (who have good ties with the Syrians AND the Israelis) becoming more active in the region. The American Hegemon has been humbled.


Anonymous said...

"But here's the good news, the events of 9/11 have had a bigger impact than you might think. They have intensified something I would call "the conversation" among Arabs and Muslims. It has been going on in private for years - but lately some courageous voices are taking it public - shouting in their own press, "Death to the lies." Thomas L. Friedman 12/15/02

PithLord said...

What's in it for the French?

Global Paradigms said...

well, at least the polls in this country show that lies are not working here anymore. The French see the Mideast as their strategic backyard and want to assert their influence there.

Anonymous said...

It's still hard to see how the French will gain anything from their deployment.

Leon - You've had many 'I told you so' momments.

Read this from 1997 - it will give you a good summary of all those moments:

Global Paradigms said...

It's not so much a question of short-term gains or costs. What I think you're seeing now is a very small step in the beginning of a process in which Europe -- especially east-med countries as well as Germany getting more involved in the Mideast. I won't be surprised if they would try to play a similar role in Gaza/West Bank at some point. The competition/cooperation between the U.S. and Europe over the mideast is one of the central issues in my book, "Sandstorm." What happened in Lebanon reminds me when in 1947 the British basically told the Americans that they can't "do" Greece/Turkey anymore and shifted the responsibility to Washington.

Anonymous said...

What do you think about the idea of Israel making peace with Hizbullah and then all of lebanon.

The Shia are the rising power in the Mid East. Iran will eventually have to mend relations with Israel and vica versa. The nuclear program started before the Mullahs came to power and it may be finished after they leave.