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August 20, 2006

French Promises Mean Diddly-Squat

Topics: Middle East News and Perspectives
"The shamelessness of France knows no bounds. They have a domestic Arabic population and business interests in the Mideast to satisfy. They desperately want to be taken seriously as a major power. So they sat down with the United States and hammered out a peace plan. Then, before the ink was dry, they shrugged a Gallic shrug."
112414.gifJules Crittenden's French lesson for today is rather straight forward and sobering: "If we, those of us who enjoy conducting business in English rather than say, Chinese or Arabic, want it to stay that way, I'd suggest step one is that we should continue to state clearly our intentions and do what we say we are going to do. Even when the world doesn't necessarily like what we are saying."

And clearly stating our intentions, then doing what we said we would do, is not to follow the French model of diplo-speak. In recent weeks, France stepped forward to act as a broker of peace in Lebanon, "Act" being the key verb, however it now would seem that the only other verifiable part of the sentence is "in recent weeks."

After reading Crittenden's article and thinking about France's bizarre push to lead the UN force in southern Lebanon, only to quickly surrender to their own internal political forces before surrendering to Arab and financial self-interests, almost on cue, as though summoned up by Crittenden to compliment his piece, up pops the news on the wires that French Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy has called for a meeting of European Union countries next week to "determine rapidly the number of troops they are prepared to contribute to an expanded UN peacekeeping force in Lebanon." You know, the one France had been expected to make a significant new contribution to that would form the backbone of the expanded force - the one that they are now "leading the way" to find someone else to do what they promised, no - committed themselves, to do. Damned, I remember now, I should have paid more attention to Crittenden's French lesson, the one the French have failed to learn themselves throughout their entire history.

As Crittenden suggests, the shamelessness of France knows no bounds.

France needs to front up - f it weren't so dangerous, it would be tempting to laugh about France's paltry commitment of 200 additional peacekeepers for Lebanon. After insisting for years that they be treated like a superpower, the French are behaving like they have no responsibility for helping dig out of the Lebanon mess.

France leads ... sort of - "In a world of uncertainty, it is comforting to have something on which one can rely. So don't sneer, don't carp and don't laugh; instead raise a glass to toast . . . the French."

Posted by Richard at August 20, 2006 9:44 AM

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