Friday, August 11, 2006

France To Lead UN Peacekeeping Force In Lebanon?

There have been rumors circulating for a couple of weeks now about France possibly leading the UN force that will take positions in Southern Lebanon, to provide a buffer between Israel and Lebanon. Super Frenchie posted on this earlier in the week. But now Fox News is reporting this here.

I will go on record as saying that I am all for this, for two reasons.

1. It will give France a chance to silence critics on the weakness of the French government and the French people.

Many people still do believe that the French are a nation of cowards. I have never thought this, in spite of the fact that I have felt they did not understand the reasons for removing Saddam, were sound. This will give them chance to prove once and for all, this is but a stereotype that has little validity among educated and intelligent people.

2. It will give the French people, some of which who have been outspoken critics of the U.S., a better understanding of just how difficult maintaining a force in a predominantly Muslim country is.

If this does become a reality, do not expect or assume that the UN force will be safe from attacks from Hezbollah guerrillas. They will have to deal with the fallout of such things and will not be able to pin the difficulties on the shoulders of the United States. Hezbollah is no respecter of persons and being French does not matter to them. They do not care who you are, they do not play favorites.

So, to the French I say good luck, Godspeed, and our hopes and prayers are with you, if you decide to take this opportunity. I would also add, that this is your chance to demonstrate what you have been preaching to America for the last few years. It is your chance to shine and shine brightly.

But know and understand this, it won't be a cakewalk by any stretch of the imagination. And most of all, be prepared. Be prepared to accept the fact that for the first time in a long time, French soldiers may not make it home.

12 comments:

superfrenchie said...

LA, thanks for the good wishes. We'll see what happens. The French were there in 1982 along with the Americans when Arafat was removed from Beyrouth. I certainly think that it will be good for the relations between our 2 countries.

Strike that. It's already been good.

//Be prepared to accept the fact that for the first time in a long time, French soldiers may not make it home.//

French forces are currently in Afghanistan along with American forces, and we have lost soldiers there. They are also the "peace line" in the middle of the belligerants of the Ivory Coast civil war, and have lost soldiers there too.

LASunsett said...

SF,

You are welcome, sir.

Our two countries have always had philosphical differences, but that has never been a factor when the chips have been down. We are like two hard headed brothers that fight and argue, but when the need arises they are the best of allies.

//French forces are currently in Afghanistan along with American forces, and we have lost soldiers there.//

I am afraid this will be different than Afghanistan. This will be a command situation and Hezbollah is a much more formiddable force.

The western world needs France and all of Europe to get involved in this process, because the overall threat is growing, daily.

Flocon said...

Hello LA,

Regarding your second paragraph:
"It will give the French people, some of which who have been outspoken critics of the U.S., a better understanding of just how difficult maintaining a force in a predominantly Muslim country is."
As if the French didn't know well before the Americans, after the Algerian war between 1954 and 1962
(http://tinyurl.com/fqk6x) and after the French were in Algeria for over one century... Not to mention Morocco, Tunisia, Syria after WW1 etc.
Just like you, I wasn't yet in higher classes of University but I kind of heard about it (smile)

By and large the French have a much better expertise of Muslim affairs than Americans. And well before (about 150 years in the least) Americans even knew there was a middle eastern region called Mesopotamia (currently Iraq). (smile)

Flocon

ms. miami said...

hi flocon!

i would like to second the notion that, at least among university students, the french i studied with were very much more informed about arab and muslim culture and history versus their american counterparts.

as a student there, i was afforded the opportunity to take in-depth courses on both the arab world and the mediterranean region- courses which didn't exist at my american university.

perhaps, just perhaps, it is this relatively better understanding which has led to france's disagreement with american policy.

Flocon said...

A little supplement..

Napoleon went into Egypt in 1798 (http://tinyurl.com/oy3fo) where the battle of the Pyramids took place (of course) and which remains vivid among all French people, notably with a famous quote by the next-to-be emperor to his soldiers: "From atop of these pyramids, 40 centuries are watching you" (more or less accurate translation). Just for the record, about all French people know this sentence.
The American Republic was about... 22 years old... But the French were already dealing with the Muslims.

- Oh, and by the way, have you heard about the Battle of Poitiers on October 732? Again, about all French people know about this historic battle which prevented Europe to be invaded by the Muslims as Spain has been for about 740 years.
(http://tinyurl.com/nsw79)
That was more than one thousand years before the American Republic!!!
Hell, I wasn't yet in high school... (smile)
That's the problem with too many Americans, LA. They think they know better and don't need the knowledge, expertise and experience of Europeans who've been here before (between centuries and milleniums before...).

Regarding your second paragraph, you're very mistaken if you think the French do need a "better understanding of just how difficult maintaining a force in a predominantly Muslim country is." They've known that for centuries...

Flocon said...

Bonjour ms.miami!

Quelle bonne surprise! Je découvre votre commentaire au moment où le mien s'affiche.

Das Wetter ist schrecklisch hier in Paris, mit Regnen und fast frische Temperaturen. Im August! Talk about global warming!

Have a nice Sunday evening then!

Flocon

superfrenchie said...

Flocon:

"Du haut de ces pyramides, 40 siecles vous contemplent!"

How right you are about that one. I can't think of anybody who wouldn't know that one, although there are probably many who would have no idea of the circumstances.

Talking about the battle of Poitiers, here is an interesting personal tidbit: every once in a while in my family, someone is born with dark hair and dark skin. That includes my brother and my cousin. So much so that when they go to Northern Africa, people have trouble recognizing them from the general population. The family originates from the Central region of Auvergne. No question that a few Arabs stopped there on their way to Poitiers, or maybe on their way back, and left a few of their genes.

PS: We miss you on superfrenchie.com. Not just me. Everybody! Serious!

ms. miami said...

hi flocon- es tut mir leid mit dem Wetter. hier regenet es auch viel, aber es ist noch heiss!

et il est vrai que vous manquez a tout le monde [au moins ceux qui compte..:)]

sf- indeed, there is a reason that so many of western ireland have jet black hair (think bono)- the arabs made their way there as well.

ms. miami said...

merde... ceux qui comptent...

LASunsett said...

Hello Flocon,

I understand your point. And I do know the history you mention.

But there is now a generation that has never experienced the wars and the battles that you cite. The people that fought in the conflicts you cite are either dead or retired. Algeria was a war of independence. It was not guided by jihadist principles. Understanding in a historical or theoretical sense is not the same as it may be in reality.

G_in_AL said...

That's the problem with too many Americans, LA. They think they know better and don't need the knowledge, expertise and experience of Europeans who've been here before (between centuries and milleniums before...).

Actually, this mentality is the real problem in relations with Europe and the US.

I've posted at length about this very subject HERE, but to paraphrase:
I reject the notion that the relatively short history of the United States in any way reflects on their ability to pull experience from history. Our nation was not suddenly born. I was built from the expansion of Europe’s oldest and most powerful empires. It contains probably more diversity and “experience” than any other nation in the world. If looking at the realities of lessons learned, the United States has more combined experience than any other state on the planet.

Also I reject that Europe somehow holds the answers we need. I reject that Europe has any sage advice that the United States needs to listen to. In the time the United States has been around, Europe has caused two global depressions that caused millions to go homeless and hungry for years to come. It has caused and been the stage for two global wars that caused devastation on a scale unprecedented. It was the birth place for Nazi fascists and their death camps for millions of Jews. It was the birth place for Marxist communism that then turned into brutal Stalinism which opened the door for famine, poverty, the gulags, and eventually the global threat of nuclear war with the cold war.


This is copy/paste from that post, and if something seems a bit out of context, it is just because I'm lazy and didnt want to proof read the enitre comment, but I think the idea is sill portrayed.

superfrenchie said...

Have we learned from our tragic history? That's a good question.

There are many arguments in favor of yes, for example the EU integration, and voluntarily renouncing nationalism.

On the other hand, the Balkan crisis is not even a decade old...

Looks like we're on the right track, though!