Jewish World Review Jan. 27, 2002/ 24 Shevat, 5763
The clock ticks down on our brave 'allies'
http://www.NewsAndOpinion.com | Time is running out in Iraq, and not just for Saddam Hussein. The clock is running on our European "allies," too.
Our friends the French and the Germans, who never seem happier than when collaborating against the good guys, have gleefully seized on an unexpected opportunity to get to center stage, if only for a brief walk-on part. Appeasement and ingratitude are the special Franco-German talents.
The Germans, with French connivance, are determined to buy time for Saddam Hussein. They know that if they stop George W. and Tony Blair now, extending opportunities for procrastination, delay and malingering, the president will never again get a chance to pull the trigger on regime change in Iraq. Saddam will be home free, his dreams and schemes intact for building and refining weapons of mass destruction.
Gerhard Schroeder, the German chancellor, is worried that George W. could use Hans Blix's eagerly awaited report, due Monday, and the president's State of the Union speech the next day as the occasion for action.
President Jacques Chirac gives France's game away: "Any decision belongs to the U.N. Security Council and to it alone." M. Chirac presides over a nation besotted with nostalgia for long-vanished military glory, an obsessive longing to be taken seriously once more, but he understands that France is capable now only of obstructing the efforts of others to order the world enough to enable civilization to survive. If an impersonation of Pierre Laval and Jean Francois Darlan, who conspired to obstruct the successful Anglo-American effort to save civilization six decades ago, is the price of making France "relevant" again, France is eager to pay it.
Herr Schroeder, who vows never to vote for war and to use Germany's turn as president of the Security Council to make as much trouble as possible for the United States, arrived in Paris this week with a retinue of Official Germans in high-necked collars to celebrate the Franco-German friendship that goes back 40 years to the signing of a friendship treaty - farther back than that, if you count Vichy.
Three planes, flying from Berlin, Cologne and Hanover, transported the entire German Cabinet and 400 deputies of the national assembly to Versailles. Nine-hundred Franco-German pols supped on stuffed duck leg and Santenay Burgundy or pike with a Riesling (and a vegetarian dish smothered in tofu for the visiting Greens). The Germans, more than half of them women, as stuffed as duck legs themselves, and the French, mostly old men in funereal ranks of dark blue suits, united in hostile resentment of America.
"My friend Jacques" and "my friend Gerhard" couldn't have been happier with themselves, exchanging vows of amitie and freundschaft, trading back-slaps and arm squeezes like American pols and proclaiming the era of Franco-German domination of the new Europe at hand. Europe, said "my friend Jacques," needs only the "Franco-German motor."
"Today," he said, "the chancellor and I invite our two peoples to proclaim their desire to pursue the European venture hand-in-hand." The chancellor answered in kind, displaying the lighthearted banter and playful wit for which Germans are celebrated, quoting a line from a French pop song of the '60s: "May the time of blood and hatred never return."
But when it was time to go, many of the celebrants, sated on wine and duck leg, had to be roused from drowsiness (M. Chirac suppressed a yawn during his standing ovation) for the singing of the national anthems. The Germans lifted the ceiling of the gilt-and-red velvet Hall of Battles with a cleaned-up version of "Deutschland Uber Alles" and the French, armed with Burgundy courage, sang "La Marseillaise" with its promise to "soak the furrowed fields" with the blood of France's enemies. Or at least with the blood of whomever comes to rescue France, as the Americans and the British did, twice in one century.
All the Anglo-American allies actually need from France and Germany is for them to get out of the way. George W. Bush moves ever closer to manfully undertaking what must be done, and doing it. The president let his contempt for the U.N. sausage-and-cheese men show through this week in St. Louis, referring to Mr. Blix and his crew as "the so-called inspectors" and sneering that Saddam Hussein "wants to play a game" - and vowing not to let him.
The president can blame his State Department for this fine
mess. Colin Powell persuaded him to put the nation's interests
in the hands of the United Nations Security Council, and the
secretary of state and the president should have known, as
the rest of the world could have told them, that the cooks at
the U.N. can't produce a decent meal because they can't
stand the heat of the kitchen. They only know how to spit in
someone else's soup.
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