Random commentary and senseless acts of blogging.
The first Republican president once said, "While the people retain their virtue and their vigilance, no administration by any extreme of wickedness or folly can seriously injure the government in the short space of four years." If Mr. Lincoln could see what's happened in these last three-and-a-half years, he might hedge a little on that statement.
Prisoners of Azkaban
Tuesday, February 18, 2003
The massive anti-war protests around the world last weekend were wrong, in my opinion, but they do provide one more demonstration of the striking incompetence of the Bush crew. After all, the prospective war is about enforcing Security Council resolutions and getting rid of Saddam Hussein, two objectives that really shouldn't upset large numbers of people. Bush's inability to sell such a war to the population of pretty much any country except the US - and he's barely sold it to us - is striking at first glance. But how credible can this administration possibly be on preserving UN authority when they've nearly said that the UN can remain relevant only so long as it marches in lockstep with US policy? Bush has no credibility in preserving international order, given his willingness to ignore treaties and international bodies he disapproves of. And foreigners are justly skeptical of the claim that democracy will be restored in Iraq by an administration which shows little enthusiasm for it in its own country. The war debate has gotten locked into a strange symmetry where, just as Hussein is the best argument for war, Bush is the best argument against it.
Meanwhile, Chirac is reminding us that there's no monopoly on stupidity and arrogance. When I read this in Instapundit, my first response was to check the source to be sure it wasn't actually from The Onion (it's real):
BRUSSELS, Belgium - French President Jacques Chirac launched a withering attack Monday on eastern European nations who signed letters backing the U.S. position on Iraq, warning it could jeopardize their chances of joining the European Union (news - web sites).
"It is not really responsible behavior," he told a news conference. "It is not well brought-up behavior. They missed a good opportunity to keep quiet."
So daring to disagree with the French position "is not well brought-up behavior", while actually having opinions that Chirac disagrees with is "a good opportunity to keep quiet". France and Germany also insisted on keepin the countries that will be joining the EU next year from being represented, even informally, at the emergency meeting to discuss the Iraq crisis that began yesterday, a step those countries will surely remember when they become full voting members. He threatened as well to exclude countries that backed the US position from joining the EU - which may, of course, be a blessing in disguise.
Overall, a display of vanity, bluster, and stupid threats to make Rumsfeld or Dubya himself proud. If imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, there is definitely an opening for a renewal of close US-French relations at the head of state level.