Thursday, February 27, 2003

Who Needs the French, Anyway?
By Alexander Marriott
UNLV Rebel Yell: February 24, 2003

American foreign policy. Ponder the words involved in this term. It doesn't say "American foreign policy as approved by the world," nor does it say "American foreign policy as approved by Mr. Chirac." Yet we are hearing, from all quarters, be it Scott Ritter, or communists in the streets of London, Paris, or San Francisco, that American foreign policy is to be determined, not by the government of America under the rule of its Constitution, but according to the dictates of foreign countries, international organizations not recognized by our ruling charter; or, even more odious, the will of an international public majority, a concept foreign to the spirit of our laws.

Leading the way in this foreign power struggle are the French, our old buddies right? Historically they were essential to victory in the American Revolution, displayed most obviously at the Battle of Yorktown. But soon afterwards the French Revolution occurred, in part due to the financial ruin of the French monarchy, brought on by the world war it had fought with Great Britain, of which our revolution was only a part.

The ideology of the French took a different course after their revolution. In contrast to our relatively bloodless break with England, the French engaged in the wholesale slaughter of innocent thousands. Americans were split on these occurrences at first, John Adams and the Federalists condemning the revolution as an act of barbarism that replaced a bad system with a worse system. Thomas Jefferson initially lauded the French Revolution as a moral triumph similar to the American Revolution. But reports from Jeffersonians in France, James Monroe among them, painted a much different picture of people frightened by ruthless dictators ruling and killing in the name of liberty. When Napoleon came to power the nature of what had happened became crystal clear to all rational onlookers, the pernicious ramblings of Jean Jacques Rousseau had led to murder not only within France but also on the international stage.

Now, I'm not going through all of this to provide you with a history lesson, but to provide a context for why the French are the nominal friends we see today. Since Waterloo the French have been attempting to establish a nationalist socialist country, sometimes swaying to the nationalist side and sometimes to the socialist side. But now it is clear that the French, after 200 years opportunity haven't learned anything from their own lessons. It is no accident that socialists and communists from all over the world have used Paris as a gathering point to talk about whatever non-ideas they think they have for over a hundred years. It is no accident that the Ayatollah Khomeini chose France as his home whilst in exile from Iran. This is a country that didn't allow the United States to use its airspace for a bombing raid on Libya after the Libyan government blew up a passenger airliner over Lockerbie, Scotland. The Pan Am 103 bombing still remains one of the worst acts of international terrorism in history, but the French were more concerned with appearing to condone war against a ruthless murdering tyrant, so they refused us the use of their airspace. They certainly are excellent friends though.

Why does France even matter anymore? Answer: Because in the founding of the United Nations, France was given a permanent position on the Security Council with a veto power and they were helped out in gaining nuclear weapons to defend themselves against the Soviet Union. They received such an eminent spot in international relations even though the French did nothing to win World War II. If anything, they helped cause it by insisting upon gigantic reparations from Germany for World War I, in which the French were just as responsible for as the Germans.

Whilst it must be acknowledged that without the French there might not be an America, the French government that helped us out has been gone since 1789. It was replaced by a collection of non-rational pseudo-intellectuals like Rousseau, Sartre, and Foucault who wanted nothing more than for men to give up living and disappear. The French philosophical attack on the minds of men over the last two centuries is unparalleled in all of intellectual history except for their German counterparts, Immanuel Kant especially.

At the rate France is going it will collapse within the next fifty years; simply because any producers who are still in France, will leave and go to their freer neighbor, England, or more likely, to the United States. But the French are willingly destroying themselves in front of us. They long ago gave up on reality, substituting for it a Bizarro World where they matter, not for any stands they take or anything they do, but simply because they are French. Perhaps they matter, as French Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin said, "because they are an old country that has stayed true to its values."

However, pesky reality shows us that France hasn't mattered in any meaningful way for years. They've provided no moral leadership on anything for such a long time that when they talk about values that they've supposedly lived up to I'm troubled to find any examples of it. France isn't needed for a war in Iraq, or for much else. Who needs France besides Frenchmen? They can have it.

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