March 11, 2003

Africa: The Key to Gaullist

Africa: The Key to Gaullist Grandeur!

The BBC has a decent appraisal of the state of play with the Africa three (remember, for Tony Blair, 5 more countries on board are still helpful even with the French veto as he allowed himself some wriggle room on going to war if a second resolution were unreasonably vetoed). He can certainly say the veto is unreasonable for this reason, or that reason, and others besides. But he needs Chile, Mexico, Pakistan, Angola and Guinea (Cameroon I'm writing off to the French). Meanwhile, Le Figaro gets carried away by Dominique's African tour:

"Aux arguments....trŽbuchants des AmŽricains, la France peut ajouter ceux du coeur, sur une terre qu'elle conna”t bien. Qui d'autre qu'un prŽsident franais peut recevoir un accueil aussi chaleureux dans les rues d'Alger ou d'Oran ? Quelle autre ancienne capitale coloniale peut se permettre d'intervenir au sud du Sahara comme Paris le fait ces mois-ci en C™te d'Ivoire."

Translation: "To the...blundering arguments of the Americans, France can make arguments from its heart, on a land it knows well. Who else but a French President could get such a warm reception like that on the streets of Algiers or Oran? What other old colonial capital can permit itself to intervene south of the Sahara like Paris has done these past months in the Ivory Coast."

I couldn't make up such saccharine romanticism if I tried! But it gets worse:

"La France n'a pas gagnŽ. Mais si un nouvel ordre international devait sortir de l'actuel tumulte de l'Histoire, elle aura dŽjˆ pris date avec l'Afrique."

"France has not won. But if a new international order arises from the tumult of History, she will already have had its reckoning with Africa."

The stakes are getting increasingly clear, aren't they? This isn't about Saddam and the perils of WMD proliferation, this is about a convenient moment to resuscitate the Gaullist project with Chirac a grand avuncular standard-bearer of the "civilized" international law approach to international relations. Except, of course, that he's making a mockery of international law by undercutting Resolution 1441 (in fact, he called it 1442 in his press conference tonight, but why be detained by mundane details when Gaullist grandeur tantalizingly awaits?).

From Jakarta to Algiers, from Buenos Aires to Oslo--Jacques' boundless courage in defending a genocidal thug against the renegade hyperpuissance might even earn him a spot near De Gaulle in French political history!

Posted by Gregory at March 11, 2003 12:30 AM
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