So now France seems to be suggesting that they might be coming around to supporting a US invasion of Iraq.
The paper chooses to emphasise the fact that Mr de Villepin has publicly offered, for the first time, military support in the form of Mirage 4 planes and said that France did not rule out the use of force.
I suppose weâ€™re supposed to drop to our knees in blubbering gratitude over this?
The best thing we could do now is say â€œthanks, but no thanks,â€ to Monsieur de Vellepin. The Mirages wouldnâ€™t add anything to our military capability. Like most of our public allies in an Iraq invasion, theyâ€™d be along merely to show solidarity, to demonstrate that weâ€™re in this thing together, even if their pragmatic role is minimal.
And they donâ€™t deserve the benefits in prestige that they would recieve for pretending to play war alongside the US. They shouldnâ€™t be allowed, once the war is over and Iraq is deliriously grateful and the rest of the world begins to recognize in hindsight what an important necessary act it was, to posture and boast about their role as if they had anything to do with it, and to go on acting as if this somehow has extended (or arther, at this point, revived) their tenure in the roster of Nations That Matter.
After Powellâ€™s speech, the blogosphere (including myself) seemed to have come to agreement on the fact that France had made their anti-war choice and were going to stick it out, hoping that the benefits would outweigh the costs. Maybe theyâ€™re coming to realize now that those percieved benefits of them leading a new global wave of anti-Americanism arenâ€™t going to materialize post-Iraq, and are looking to clamber on the caboose before the train is completely out of the station.
I have to admit, Iâ€™m confused about what all this means. One should never make the assumption that cryptic moves in an opponent are due to simply stupidity or confusion, but Iâ€™m hard-pressed to come up with any other reason in this case. I think it would have been supremely unwise of them to throw their lot in with the decidedly anti-American crowd (that group that not only harangues, but staunchly and persistently opposes American actions), but having made that decision, it would only make sense for them to see it through. Vacillating now wonâ€™t get them the gratitude of the US or restore any simulacrum of eminence, and it certainly will squander any gain they hoped to garner from the supposed wave of anger against the US that would rise up in an invasion of Iraq.
Maybe thereâ€™s a power struggle going on among the French political elite. Maybe the recently blaring klaxons (describing the danger of being on the USâ€™ bad side) of even the typically anti-American French press has caused some to rethink their positions. Frankly (yeah yeahâ€¦), I have no idea.
Iâ€™ll say this much though. Whatever it is they want to do at this point, I donâ€™t really care. I donâ€™t want them participating in any coalition. Aside from just wimping out and not attacking Iraq, the one thing that Bush could do now to make me most upset is to accept some kind of tepid, hedged, last-minute support from Chirac.
You had your chance, fellas. Dozens of them in fact. Itâ€™s too late now.
last update : 25-3-2017