Thursday, March 13, 2008

France Has Lost That Loving Feeling For U.S.

France's new Foreign Minister belongs to the Junior High School of diplomacy -- complete with narcissism, the back-biting, and an assumption that popularity is everything.

That's the only explanation for Bernard Kouchner's interview with the International Herald Tribune, via Drudge. Kouchner says that "whoever succeeds President George W. Bush may restore something of the United States' battered image and standing overseas, but that "the magic is over." (Emphasis added.)

Kouchner is a left-wing appointee in a right-wing regime; this is a guy who wants to negotiate with Hamas, even though Hamas denies Israel's right to exist. Even given Kouchner's perspective, his comments are perplexing.

First, what magic died? The U.S. and France do not have the same close relationship as the U.S. and Britain, a relationship forged by a shared language, philosophy and common law tradition -- a relationship where there actually is some "magic."

France came to our aid during the American Revolution, and we have returned the favor (over and over). Our relationship of France is dysfunctional: France surrenders; the U.S. rescues France; France resents the U.S. and looks down its nose at our boorishness.

Second question for Kouchner: Assuming "the magic"once existed, when did it die? Seems like it's been dead for some time. I saw no magic when I studied in France as a junior in college. The French loathed Reagan and wanted the U.S. to capitulate to the former U.S.S.R. so France could get cheap gas. I wish I had a franc (or a Euro) for every time a Frenchman reminded me of America's treatment of our Indians. Or America's crime rate. Or how uncouth JFK was to put his feet upon his desk. Or how weird it is that we shower daily.

Final question: Why should America care if the "magic" with France has died? The compulsion to please other people can lead to some very self-destructive behavior. The same holds true for nations. It is not America's job, it is not our President's job, to make the French like us.

Kouchner's hint that France should somehow be given a say in America's selection of our next president offends our sovereignty. But for many like Kouchner, "a longtime humanitarian, diplomatic and political activist on the international scene," sovereignty has no place in the Global Community.

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