April 30, 2003
Time for regime change in France
The French are being ill served by their leader, Jacques Chirac, who, let's remember, received only 18% of the vote in the first round of their last election. The Chirac position, that it is better to be a counter-balance than an ally of the US, may be popular but it is ill fated and bears some scrutiny in France. L.T. Smash sums up the history of our relations with France well in this open letter to M. Jacques Chirac and, rightly, challenges Chirac's honor.
It is certainly true that the Chirac position is popular in France, but while Chirac is reflecting his people's attitudes he is not representing their interests. And, as Kenneth Timmerman points out in a recent piece in Insight, there is a fair amount of brainwashing and delusion going on in France--lead in part by state-run media. Chirac was desperate for a quick path to approval, but it's a cheap trick to Jerry Springer your way to popularity (what a distinction between the qualities of leadership of Blair and Chirac!) while ultimately undermining your own people. It may be popular to oppose the US, but a counter-balance strategy won't work and it is France's surest path to global irrelevancy. France should pay a price for their subversion, but not a heavy one. Better to work to repair the bonds between our two great nations and hope that the forces of reason in France choose to respond by ousting this charlatan who has led them astray.
Excerpt from Timmerman:
The sense of national hallucination that has gripped France is being driven by the nation's leaders. President Chirac showed during last year's runoff election against LePen that he has the demagogue's talent for demonizing an enemy. In demagoguing the war in Iraq, Chirac realized he could rally France's diverse political parties behind him by denouncing U.S. "unilateralism" in favor of "international law" and "legitimacy," areas where France feels it can play as America's equal. With the media and government piled on, America has few defenders in France today.