Wednesday, August 06, 2003

The French Are A Pain

The Russian Dilettante doesn't get why all the French bashing. He also points out that they aren't all that fond of surrendering.

Well, I liked the French well enough to take French in high school. I know that the French surrender jokes are no more true than the previous Italian ones. (Note: I am half Italian, so I could be biased.) Both fought hard and died like crazy in many wars. Like everybody, including the English and the Americans (at least the Confederates, including some of my ancestors) they occasionally were forced to surrender. Maybe I can explain it.

The Free French were a pain during WWII. Patton wanted to bypass Paris and attack the German Army, but De Gaulle would not have it. The French were a pain during Vietnam. We should have bought off Ho Chi Minh so he became our ally against the Chinese (whom he really feared), told De Gaulle to stuff it, and never had to fight in Vietnam. The French were a pain about NATO, pulling their forces out, etc.

The French have always been our least reliable allies. Sure, they fight hard, but they seem to believe their vast experience gives them a Senior Partner Veto over everything the US does. The French way of doing things, however, with its utterly cynical power politics and its elitist intelligentsia, does not play well in Peoria (or with me). Right now the French are working at deliberate cross purposes to the US in terms of national security, trade, the EU, Kyoto and international law. Their obvious goals are to maximize French power at the expense of US power. To pretend that we are allies now rubs me the wrong way. It ain't just about Iraq.