May 27, 2003

French Revisionism Watch Spinning aplenty

French Revisionism Watch

Spinning aplenty by French sources in this lengthy FT piece.

On a somewhat related note, I also had the opportunity to hear reports about the French Ambassador to the U.S. "goodwill" tour through Atlanta and Houston. In Houston, he started by stressing that France wasn't a pacifist country (Translation: France isn't Germany). He further contended that, until about mid-December, the U.S. and France were "together" on the Iraq issue.

Levitte then turned directly towards "what went wrong" re: Franco-American relations in the past months. First, the Ambassador argued, unlike the past where Saddam made "big mistakes" (Iran, Kuwait) he made "no mistakes" this go around--meaning the French Ambassador was stating that, in France's view, Saddam was in full compliance with Resolution 1441. Related to Saddam's allegedly picture-perfect compliance, Levitte talked about the lack of a "smoking gun" (was that the test for triggering 1441 or was it simply material breach?)

Second, Levitte mentioned the steady deployment of U.S. troops to upwards of 200,000 personnel, ie. Levitte was suggesting that war had become an inevitable outcome for Washington decision-makers (per the French spin in the FT piece). Note: He did concede that the troops may have helped concentrate Saddam's mind on the need to pursue serious disarmament.

All this isn't hyper-objectionable. But it gets worse. Levitte then proceeded to engage in some truly shameless revisionism regarding the diplomacy surrounding the UNSC resolution(s).

For starters, he openly states that the first resolution provided enough authority for "use of force" allowing the U.S. to go to war (now that was the French position, right?)

But it gets better. He directly states that Tony Blair's domestic pressures forced the U.S. to go for a second resolution! Put differently, Franco-American relations were going swimmingly until Tony had to spoil the fun because the hapless pol needed a second resolution to mollify his public.

Blame the Brits for the perfidious happenings in Paris--a real diplomatic tour de force by Levitte. London was forcing a French veto--and Paris wouldn't have complained a bit if the U.S. had gone to war without a second resolution. Incroyable mais vrai!

I'll have more on this when I get my hands on the transcript. At this point, however, suffice it to say that if being a good diplomat means being able to lie particularly well for your country overseas--Levitte is doing a superb job of it.

Posted by Gregory at May 27, 2003 10:37 PM
Comments
Reviews of Belgravia Dispatch
"Awake"
--New York Times
"Must-read list"
--Washington Times
"Always Thoughtful"
--Glenn Reynolds, Instapundit
"Pompous Ass"
--an anonymous blogospheric commenter
Recent Entries
Search
English Language Media
Foreign Affairs Commentariat
Non-English Language Press
U.S. Blogs
Western Europe
France
United Kingdom
Germany
Italy
Netherlands
Spain
Central and Eastern Europe
CIS/FSU
Russia
Armenia
East Asia
China
Japan
South Korea
Middle East
Egypt
Israel
Lebanon
Syria
Columnists
Think Tanks
Security
Books
B.D. In the Press
Archives
Categories
Syndicate this site:
XML RSS RDF

G2E

Powered by