Thursday, August 24, 2006
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.