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American press: shameless comment on France and Belgium

 
 
frolic
 
Reply Thu 13 Feb, 2003 05:28 am
Shameless and inexcusable. That is what US veteran soldiers, residents of Bastogne, told Belgian journalists about the attack of some american newspapers and members of congress on the dissendent behaviour of France and Belgium in NATO.

The "petulant prima donna of realpolitik" is leading the "axis of weasels", in "a chorus of cowards". It is an unholy alliance of "wimps" and ingrates which includes one country that is little more than a "mini-me minion", another that is in league with Cuba and Libya, with a bunch of "cheese-eating surrender monkeys" at the helm.
Welcome to Europe, as viewed through the eyes of American commentators and newspapers yesterday, as Euro-bashing, and particularly anti-French sentiment, reached new heights. In a barrage of insults and invective which ranged from the basest tabloid rants to the loftiest columnists on the most respected newspapers, European-led resistance to America's war plans in Iraq was portrayed not as a diplomatic position to be negotiated as a genetic weakness in the European mindset which makes them reluctant to fight wars and incapable of winning them.

The front page of Rupert Murdoch's New York Post yesterday shows the graves of Normandy with the headline: "They died for France but France has forgotten."

http://www.nypost.com/images/front021003.gif

"Where are the French now, as Americans prepare to put their soldiers on the line to fight today's Hitler, Saddam Hussein?" asks the pugnacious columnist Steve Dunleavy. "Talking appeasement. Wimping out. How can they have forgotten?" A cartoon in the same paper shows an ostrich with its head in the sand below the words: "The national bird of France."

American wrath has been reserved for those nations which oppose their leadership, particularly following the decision to oppose shifting Nato resources to Turkey. "Three countries - France, Germany and their mini-me minion, Belgium - have moved from opposition to US policy toward Iraq into formal, and consequential obstructionism," argued the Wall Street Journal in an editorial yesterday. "If there is a war [the Turks] will face the danger of direct attack that is not feared in the chocolate shops of Brussels." The front page of the National Review blares "Putsch" with a sub-headline: "How to defeat the Franco-German power grab."

While the jibes may be puerile, the possibility that the Bush administration and commercial outlets might follow them up with punitive measures has struck some as pernicious. An ad, due to come out soon, shows three German-made cars, including an Audi and a BMW, driving towards the camera with a voice saying: "Do you really want to buy a German car?"

If there has been any European country that has attracted more contempt than others, it is France. In the Wall Street Journal, Christopher Hitchens described Jacques Chirac as "a positive monster of conceit _ the abject procurer for Saddam ... the rat that tried to roar". In the Washington Post, George Will opined that the "oily" foreign affairs minister, Dominique de Villepin, had launched France into "an exercise for which France has often refined its savoir-faire since 1870, which is to say retreat - this time into incoherence".

And in the New York Times, Thomas Friedman argued that France should be removed from the security council and be replaced with India: "India is just so much more serious than France these days. France is so caught up with its need to differentiate itself from America to feel important, it's become silly." The Wall Street Journal editor, Max Boot, argues: "France has been in decline since, oh, about 1815, and it isn't happy about it." What particularly galls the Gauls is that their rightful place in the world has been usurped by the gauche Americans."

At its ugliest, the transatlantic bile is becoming increasingly personal. When France Inter radio's correspondent in Washington, Laurence Simon, started to explain her government's position to Fox News (owned by Murdoch) she was interrupted by the presenter. "With friends like you, who needs enemies," she was told as she was taken off air.
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Type: Discussion • Score: 1 • Views: 6,548 • Replies: 79
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frolic
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Feb, 2003 05:36 am
some more examples.


http://www.nypost.com/delonas/2003/02/02112003.jpg

But even decent and honorable men like the politicians in congress cant controll themselves.

Democratic Congressman Tom Lantos of California said he was "particularly disgusted by the blind intransigence and utter ingratitude" of France, Germany and Belgium.

"The failure of these three states to honour their commitments is beneath contempt," he told Colin Powell as the secretary of state began his testimony to Congress.


Republican Senator John Warner, the chairman of the Armed Services Committee, said that Congress may consider reducing financial support to Nato.

And his counterpart in the House of Representatives, Duncan Hunter, said that Germany's "tears of gladness at the sacrifice Americans have made for their freedom have dried very quickly."


He said that the House would now strongly back the plans by the Bush administration to reduce the number of US troops in Germany from the current level of 71,000.

"Anything we can do to hurt them without hurting us, I will support," said Republican congressman Peter King.

Even moderate Democratic Senator Joe Lieberman said that "the tone and volume of their dissent is in danger of drowning out the voice of a nearly united Europe."

Meanwhile, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, J Dennis Hastert, has asked Congress to consider banning French exports of wine and bottled water on health grounds.

He says that some French wine is clarified using bovine blood, so that Americans could be at risk of getting BSE or "mad cow" disease.

The US is already involved in several bitter trade wars with the European Union, which has banned US exports of genetically modified food on health grounds.

So far, US trade officials are holding off from bringing a case against the EU to the World Trade Organisation - at least partly because the EU is already in a position to slap up to $4bn worth of trade sanctions against the US in another case, but has so far refrained from doing so.
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steissd
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Feb, 2003 07:20 am
Maybe, the tone of rhetoric was too harsh and sometimes degraded to personal insults, but the essence is right: France did not act as a loyal ally in the current situation, so Americans have all the reasons for dissatisfaction.
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frolic
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Feb, 2003 07:27 am
steissd wrote:
Maybe, the tone of rhetoric was too harsh and sometimes degraded to personal insults, but the essence is right: France did not act as a loyal ally in the current situation, so Americans have all the reasons for dissatisfaction.



The words " loyal ally" don't mean "follow like a lemming". Democracy and freedom of speech means that countries can stand up for their rights and say what they think. Who elected Verhofstadt, Shröder and Chirac? => The Bush-administration?
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dyslexia
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Feb, 2003 07:33 am
its quite simply school yard bully name calling. hardly appropriate for adults. but what could you expect?
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steissd
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Feb, 2003 07:34 am
I cannot add anything to the Thomas L. Friedman's article in the NYTimes: unfortunately, it is impossible to replace in the Security Council France with India: anti-Americanism gradually becomes the central point of any French government policies, even when pro-Americanism would be in favor of France herself. During the Cold War they were ready to collaborate with the USSR, now they try to become the best friends of the rogue regimes of the Muslim world. Hmm, I see, regime of Vichy did not appear just so, it was doomed to appear in 1940...
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maxsdadeo
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Feb, 2003 07:41 am
Sorry, but I am with the American lawmakers on this one.
http://story.news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story2&cid=524&u=/ap/20030212/ap_wo_en_po/us_na_gen_us_france_germany_3&printer=1
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frolic
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Feb, 2003 07:50 am
steissd wrote:
I cannot add anything to the Thomas L. Friedman's article in the NYTimes: unfortunately, it is impossible to replace in the Security Council France with India: anti-Americanism gradually becomes the central point of any French government policies, even when pro-Americanism would be in favor of France herself. During the Cold War they were ready to collaborate with the USSR, now they try to become the best friends of the rogue regimes of the Muslim world. Hmm, I see, regime of Vichy did not appear just so, it was doomed to appear in 1940...


I think the influence of France in Africa and the role they can play there proofs that their seat in the UN sec council is justified. India has nukes and a large population, beside that its a underdeveloped country.

The US also seems to forget that the EU is a tradezone. You can't pick out a coutry to haress because they say what they think and act like it. By the way, the EU is already in a position to slap up to $4bn worth of trade sanctions against the US in another case, but has so far refrained from doing so.
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steissd
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Feb, 2003 08:05 am
India's underdevelopment may be overcome, if the U.S. investors canalize their money from Europe there. Even now the "underdeveloped" India provides IT professionals to the whole world. Results of French influence in Africa are obvious: it is the most disastrous continent in the whole world, possessed by hunger, civil wars and diseases. And French policies are partially responsible for this: lots of primitive and bloodthirsty African dictators were supported by French, thus remaining at power positions. It would be better for the Africans if French left them alone.
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frolic
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Feb, 2003 08:32 am
steissd wrote:
India's underdevelopment may be overcome, if the U.S. investors canalize their money from Europe there. Even now the "underdeveloped" India provides IT professionals to the whole world. Results of French influence in Africa are obvious: it is the most disastrous continent in the whole world, possessed by hunger, civil wars and diseases. And French policies are partially responsible for this: lots of primitive and bloodthirsty African dictators were supported by French, thus remaining at power positions. It would be better for the Africans if French left them alone.


Also American policies are partially responsible for this. During the cold war they had allies like Mobutu. And do not forget the role of the US in South-America. Pinochet, Videla, Figueiredo,.... Every country has his dark side of history. But some countries learn from the past, other make the same mistake over and over. Chirac is not a saint, Schröder neither, but i think we should support every effort to avoid a war.
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Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Feb, 2003 09:32 am
Our diplomacy since the end of World War II has included a mishmash of alliances including Iraq.

In archaelogy you uncover the unknown. In diplomacy you cover the known. -Thomas Pickering

Why is this administration, specifically G.W. Bush, failing in any diplomacy with the former nations we saved from the Nazis? Could it be they don't disagree or dislike America but disagree and dislike its leaders?

I see no other course of action despite the dissent for a war than to do something militarily with a coalition of nations through the U.N. and NATO to disarm Iraq. Doing it unilaterally is out of the question and I believe Powell, for one, has not supported this action. If the Iraqis are in gross material breach and unwilling to cooperate, they're sealing their own fate.
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frolic
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Feb, 2003 09:57 am
Lightwizard wrote:
Why is this administration, specifically G.W. Bush, failing in any diplomacy with the former nations we saved from the Nazis? Could it be they don't disagree or dislike America but disagree and dislike its leaders?


I agree

And dont forget Rumsfeld. I think he is a real Germanhater. First he calls the two most important EU-countries "Old Europe". And then he lumps Germany with Libya and Cuba on Iraq.
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fbaezer
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Feb, 2003 10:59 am
Americans are respected in the world. But they are not loved. They often wonder why, if they have done so much for democracy (mainly in WWII).

The answer is their arrogance. The "he who is not my lackey is my enemy" attitude.

Days ago, as the Mexican representative was giving his country's stance in the UN's Security Council, Richard Grenell, the US spokeman, urged the chairman to hurry him up (Nigroponte was due to speak next), with the following words: "Who cares about what Mexico has to say?".
Later, the US Mission apologized and said Grenell's words were not fully understood in the context, but the damage was done.

I don't know about Americans, but we miss Clinton.
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steissd
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Feb, 2003 11:11 am
German leadership is in the situation that can be called a stalemate. From one side, it could be very favorable for Germany to improve her relations with the USA, and to support the military action: this could give the German businesses certain advantages in the post-war Iraq. From the other side, Schröder is a democratically elected leader, and he cannot ignore feelings of his voters, majority of which object the U.S. military action. And, of course, Germany is under heavy French diplomatic pressure. I think, anyone that mentions Germany in the same list with Cuba and Libya, errs. Under differing circumstances German government would surely support the U.S. effort of forceful replacement of Saddam.
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Lightwizard
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Feb, 2003 11:15 am
It's our diplomatic burden to convince the German and French governments. If we are unable to do it by no other means than art twisting such as boycotting their products (why not call that what it is -- an informal embargo), then we need to send our leaders back to diplomatic school. Well, wait on -- their positions and experience is government is their school! I give the administration a Cee in diplomacy. Sound familiar?
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Feb, 2003 11:27 am
Just thinking, how many people in the mentioned countries are against a war at all. The - by them - elected governments have the same opinion.


Seems, we should say "good bye" to democracy and install some general from the world's leading nation as head of state and government there.
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steissd
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Feb, 2003 11:49 am
Why general? PFC Schicklgruber was more efficient dictator than many of the generals could be... By all means, there is no reason to say "good bye" to democracy: temporary restrictions will help to defeat the enemy, and later they will be abolished as non-necessary.
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Walter Hinteler
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Feb, 2003 12:39 pm
"U.S. general would run Iraq" - you think, a Hitler-type would do the job better?
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steissd
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Feb, 2003 01:13 pm
No, Hitler would just send all the Iraqi population to the gas chambers: Arabs are Semites, therefore they would be considered an inferior race.
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mamajuana
 
  1  
Reply Thu 13 Feb, 2003 01:14 pm
How quickly you forget. Bush has said it many times - "if you are not with us, you are against us." By this reasoning, everything falls into place. Either we play by US rules, or we are ruled out of the game. Another Bush basic is also evident here. The Bushes - father and son - said quite clearly that the primary requirement for being on the Bush team was loyalty. As it turned out, that loyalty meant loyal to the Bushes.

In this world, we all owe something to each other. Sure we came in - reluctantly - to both World Wars, and we were a major force. But we were not the only ones. But going back a little, during our Revolutionary War, the French came in to help us fight against the British. And most later victories have generally had to do with a collaboration of allies.

One of the difficulties is that the Bush league seems to see everything in black and white, while a large part of the rest of the world has learned about different shades of gray. But the Bush league is uncomfortable dealing with anyone except their own. I would have thought that if building a coalition was so important, than Bush himself, as president, would have given it much of that importance by personally visiting with, and talking with, the various world leaders. Rumsfeld, disastrously, has shown himself to be an abrasive, impatient bully, and should not have been the spokesman. Powell undoubtedly had better standing, but even that has eroded. So, there has been no actual presidential presence. Diplomacy that works has yet to show itself.

fbaezer - a lot of us miss Clinton, too, and he is beginning to be more in demand on some responsible media programming, as well as being asked to speak to more and more groups here. I think there's a problem, here. The more Clinton appears in public, the more of an audience he gathers. But Bush seems to be retreating, defended by fewer and fewer.
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