Wednesday, January 17, 2007

Jacques Chirac The Great Underminer

One has to wonder what people, who attain the status and importance that Jacques Chirac has, are really thinking at times. Take this situation being reported by the IHT, for instance.

At a time when most world powers have forged a united front against Iran because of its nuclear program, President Jacques Chirac arranged to send his foreign minister to Tehran to talk about a side issue, then abruptly canceled the visit earlier this month in embarrassing failure.

Chirac's troubles stemmed from his deep desire to help resolve the crisis in Lebanon before his term runs out in May. To that end, he decided to seek the support of Iran, which, along with Syria, backs the radical Shiite organization Hezbollah, three senior French officials said in describing the effort.


So he planned to send Foreign Minister Philippe Douste-Blazy to Tehran, only to call off the trip two days before it was to have taken place, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because they are not authorized to speak publicly on diplomatic issues.


Sounds like he thought better of it. But if we read on, we can see that this was certainly not the case.

Both Douste-Blazy and senior Foreign Ministry officials concluded that such a trip was doomed to fail and that it would send the wrong signal just weeks after the United Nations Security Council unanimously approved sanctions intended to curb Iran's nuclear program, they added.

That put Douste-Blazy in the uncomfortable position of having to tell Chirac that he did not want to go, one senior official said.


We are getting closer, but we are still not there yet. If we read on, we can see where the real pressure came from.

When Douste-Blazy visited Saudi Arabia and Egypt this month, the foreign ministers of both countries also informed him that they strongly opposed any such initiative.

Prince Saud al-Faisal, the Saudi foreign minister, was so determined to stop the visit that he spoke to Douste-Blazy in uncharacteristically blunt terms — "I am going to tell you, do not go" — according to a senior official familiar with the conversation.


So, now we come to the realization that it was Arab and Egyptian pressure that got his attention more so than any common sense thinking, more than his advisers' apprehension too.

Here's the thing, most presidents that come to power through legitimate elections at some point in time become, lame-ducks. That is usually when they become concerned about their legacies, and this would appear to be the case here. Chirac currently enjoys little popularity, except with those that love to say how right he was about Iraq. But that within itself, is not enough, despite the fact that we do not even know if he was right, yet. History will bear that out, not present day pundits that only see the present day situation.

What history is bearing out though, is much clearer. Chirac did not want Saddam removed because he was under pressure from companies that were profiting from the "Oil for Food" scam. That will be his legacy. Therefore, there is this self-imposed pressure to reverse that somewhat.

So, knowing that an effort to alter his legacy was probably what drove him to this poor judgment (described in this article), we cannot say that this is a new strategy. Clinton tried to do it with Barak and Arafat and could have yielded some meaningful results, had Arafat truly wanted peace. With that in mind, I cannot fault Clinton for trying, although his motives may have been out of more selfishness than concern for true peace.

In my view, it's plain to see what Chirac tried to do here. He wanted to slip through the back door, undetected, while everyone else was trying to present a united front against the Iranian government. He wanted to secure a deal, independent of his European counterparts and claim the glory for himself.

What's important to note here is, Europe was on one page and Chirac was clearly on another. He was content to go behind the rest of Europe's backs, to do this. How can we aggrandize the glory of a united Europe and still play the lonewolf, when no one else appears to be noticing? To do so and fail, would have yielded disastrous results.

Despite the fact that this was an unrelated issue, he could have sent the wrong message to Tehran, had he been successful in engaging them in any kind of dialogue. In other words, he could have really screwed this thing up (not that it's going all that well, to begin with). The world could have suffered more, than his legacy was worth. But, I guess such is the case when a person is self-absorbed, like most politicians are.

I call this undermining, what do you call it?

36 comments:

L'Amerloque said...

Hello LASunsett !

Amerloque would not put too much credence into anything emanating from this reporter. She is probably one of the worst reporters in history to be covering France, French politics, and the French society. Time after time she has demonstrated partisanship and, to put it bluntly, ignorance about France and the French.

Obviously this is a personal view, for which Amerloque takes entire responsibility. (grin)

It's very difficult, in Amerloque's view, to analyze French political maneuvering with an American perspective. In this case, Amerloque has the feeling that it is quite simply disinformation. It is generally accepted here that Douste owes his job as Foreign Minister to M Chirac, 100%. Observers of French politics will know that Douste "betrayed" his own political party when he came over to Mr. Chirac's party and demonstrated support several years ago. The foreign ministry job is said to be his reward.

In accordance with the French Constitution, the President is responsible for conducting French foreign policy, not the Foreign Minister, so it would be surprising indeed if Douste were taking any initiatives whatsoever without clearing it with the President first. It's election time here in France and it wouldn't be astonishing at all to find that Douste is rattling the bars of the cage (for want of a better formulation), since there doesn't seem to be too much chance of M Chirac standing for a third term. Douste might quite simply be out of a job in a few months' time, which would explain his current, relatively new activity.

Another thing: this whole business of anonymous sources due to some putative "non-authorization" is beginning to wear a bit thin, in Amerloque's view. It's an invitation to misinformation, disinformation, and, at the end of the day, outright lies and manipulation.

It's not particular to this reporter or to the USA – it seems to be happening here in France, too.

Best,
L'Amerloque

Greg said...

I certainly respect Amerloque's opinion on the reporter, who I do not know. Certainly wouldn't surprise me to learn a reporter is twisting facts (or ignoring them altogether) just to make a political point. I too am completely annoyed with the "anonymous source" stories.

On the other hand, I think it's a mistake to underestimate the power of the Foreign Ministry in France. Yes, the President runs foreign policy, but as in the US, he has to deal with a big bureaucracy that was there before he was elected and will be there after he is gone. The Quai d'Orsay was up to its neck in the Oil for Food rip-off. They loved Saddam, and almost anyone else who gives the US a hard time. Just a few months ago Douste Blazy praised Iran's "stabilizing role" in the region. This was right after the Lebanon conflict.

And Chirac isn't exactly opposed to the Quai d'Orsay's world view. He just gave a big foreign policy speech where he rehashed the tired european view that the Americans are ruining the world. It should not be forgotten that Chirac is a gaullist in foreign policy, which means making friends with America's enemies; trying to play both sides.

The point is, this incident with Iran is not just Chirac. It's the whole French foreign policy machine at work.

LASunsett said...

Hi Amerloque,

//Amerloque would not put too much credence into anything emanating from this reporter. She is probably one of the worst reporters in history to be covering France, French politics, and the French society. Time after time she has demonstrated partisanship and, to put it bluntly, ignorance about France and the French.//

While discrediting the person making the claims based on past performances is common, I have a hard time believing that everything a given person puts out is not credible based on their demonstrated biases in the past.

Pat Buchanan is right once in awhile, as is Ted Kennedy (both of whom, you may know very well know, I despise). Even a stopped clock is right twice a day.

//Another thing: this whole business of anonymous sources due to some putative "non-authorization" is beginning to wear a bit thin, in Amerloque's view. It's an invitation to misinformation, disinformation, and, at the end of the day, outright lies and manipulation.//

It could be that you are right, I cannot say for sure, as I am limited in my ability to speak and understand French, therefore I cannot read the wealth of periodicals that cover this kind of thing, in France. But what makes you so sure that something like this didn't occur.?

Like I said, maybe you are right and this thing is completely false. But maybe it is somewhat true and somewhat embellished. Or maybe this one time she is right and it did happen pretty much the way she describes.

We cannot know for sure, unless Mr. Chirac chooses to correct the claim with his response. And then, the question will become, is he spinning it, or is he being truthful?

With what I have read about Mr. Chirac, I cannot find it hard to believe that he would try something like this to repair his legacy, which is what many presidents are concerned about, as their time in the limelight winds down. (With the exception of Mr. Jimmy Carter, of course. He seems content to embark upon a last minute push to revise history and spin present-day data into something that it's not, just to prove that he was not as incompetent as he really was.)

LASunsett said...

Hi Greg,

//The Quai d'Orsay was up to its neck in the Oil for Food rip-off. They loved Saddam, and almost anyone else who gives the US a hard time.//

It's not so much the fact that this may be viewed as another attempt to undermine the U.S. that concerns me. It is this whole notion that the EU (something that Chirac has openly supported) may have been undermined in this process, should it be found to be true.

Poli-Sci 101 teaches us that every nation looks out for its best interests, first and foremost. That, I can understand.

But in this case, I fail to see what good could have come of this in the larger picture, where the entire EU is concerned. That leaves me to believe that Chirac is only concerned about what people think of him, not what is best for France, or even the EU.

L'Amerloque said...

Hello LASunsett !

/*/ //Amerloque would not put too much credence into anything emanating from this reporter. She is probably one of the worst reporters in history to be covering France, French politics, and the French society. Time after time she has demonstrated partisanship and, to put it bluntly, ignorance about France and the French.//

While discrediting the person making the claims based on past performances is common, I have a hard time believing that everything a given person puts out is not credible based on their demonstrated biases in the past./*/

(grin) It's not so much a question of bias as it is of ignorance. Time after time, over the past three years, she has made errors in very basic facts (not opinions – facts). Her spoken French is evidently lamentably bad and one is entitled to wonder if she even understands what she sees and hears around her. The IHT, apparently, has even assigned a reasearch assistant to her so that her more egregious errors can be corrected.

One reads and believes this reporter's comments and articles at one's peril, in Amerloque's view.


As LAS points out, even a broken clock is right twice a day. (smile) This reporter's work, in Amerloque's view, must only be considered valid in the light of other reports confirming her words. If there are no other reports relating the same alleged events ... the circular file beckons, gapingly.

Much as LAS might look at Noam Chomsky's work (Hi Greg !) with a certain level of skepticism, Amerloque looks at this NYT/IHT reporter and says to himself "Well maybe, maybe not. Probably not." (smile)


/*/It could be that you are right, I cannot say for sure, as I am limited in my ability to speak and understand French, therefore I cannot read the wealth of periodicals that cover this kind of thing, in France. But what makes you so sure that something like this didn't occur.? /*/

Oh, it could have occurred, certainly – no problem with that. (smile) The fact that these alleged events are being reported by this particular journalist is what makes Amerloque think that it is, in fact, simply common disinformation, designed to mislead and obfuscate. There are other reporters at the IHT with more credibility – and seemingly better introductions into French society, especially within the French Foreign Ministry, which, as Greg so rightly points out, is a kingdom unto itself.. This reporter has been denigrating France systematically since she has been covering it: why would she change now ?


/*/We cannot know for sure, unless Mr. Chirac chooses to correct the claim with his response. And then, the question will become, is he spinning it, or is he being truthful? /*/


M Chirac's policy is never to comment on such reports. It's been a hallmark of the man's political career for nigh on forty years. (smile)Insofar as M Chirac's legacy is concerned: of course he's polishing it up, burnishing it, revising it, as LAS points out. Once he's no longer president, he'll be on the Constitutional Council (it's automatic under the French Constitution, as far as Amerlque is aware). There will then be the thorny question of his activities when he was Mayor of the city of Paris. That's another kettle of fish, entirely.

- - - - -

Hi Greg !

/*/On the other hand, I think it's a mistake to underestimate the power of the Foreign Ministry in France. Yes, the President runs foreign policy, but as in the US, he has to deal with a big bureaucracy that was there before he was elected and will be there after he is gone. /*/

Yes indeed, the FFM (French Foreign Ministry) is a huge bureaucracy, which outlasts presidents and governments with ease. There are some families which have sent their sons and daughters into "the diplomatic" for decades and decades and parts of it are simply a "closed shop". However the FFM is not so much anti-American as it is pro-French, which is something else entirely.

- - - - -

Hello LASunsett !

/*/But in this case, I fail to see what good could have come of this in the larger picture, where the entire EU is concerned. /*/

In some higher spheres the EU is considered less a priority than it used to be, although politicians still pay the required lip service to it. The views have been changing over the past several years, and with the results of the referendum on the European constitution, a sort of writing on the wall became visible, in Amerloque's view.

In no particular order ...

a) The expansion of the EU to 25 countries (and to 27 since January 1st) from the former 15 put a mechanical brake on French influence. It's harder to swing a majority among 27 than it is among 15: it's as simple as that. Reporters and observers might say that the negative vote on the referendum "significantly reduced France's influence" in Europe but Amerloque fees that this only partially true, and that any reduced influence is more due to the voting equation. One plus one is always two, after all.

b) The whole continuing brouhaha over Iraq and the "coalition of the willing" and the American intervention there demonstrated clearly that there were deep, deep divisions among European countries. Perhaps the divisions are healed now, or perhaps they aren't – but there's no guarantee that such divisions – or even deeper ones -- will not appear in the future, and probably sooner, rather than later, given globalization.

c) Though the politicians are not screaming it from the rooftops, they are wary indeed about globalization. Jobs are disappearing, technology is being exported (and with Segolene Royal's statements about exporting technological know-how to China the other day, one must indeed wonder what the future will hold, should she become president) and, quite importantly for the future, there is a kind of brain drain in progress. Only yesterday in Le Parisien, a daily paper given more to facts then to opinions, there was a detailed article about how many young French people living in the suburbs (yes, many of the same ones where the rioting took place) were emigrating to succeed, because of real - or perceived - acts of discrimination against them here in France. The article didn't specifically states that the "winners" are leaving France and the "losers" are staying, but when Amerloque spoke to a few others about this, he found that the feeling that globalization was working against France rather than for it was only reinforced by this reported emigration of "immigrant youths", the "winners" who could have contributed to France and, at least "paid back" what their education had cost the country. Quite worrying, indeed.

d) The euro, although portrayed as a huge "success" by politicians and media, has not been embraced by the French people with the enthusiasm that was expected at its adoption. The shine is off Europe, monetarily speaking, in some respects. Some people of other countries-- notably Germany and Italy – are not particularly enthused about the results of the euro, either. There is more inflation for the average person than the official statistics indicate: this has been demonstrated time after time in the press.

e) Finally, the French defense budget has been on the increase for several years now. In Amerloque's view, this reflects the deep uneasiness in high places over the lack of European unity insofar as both a common diplomatic representation and a united military force is concerned. A second large nuclear aircraft carrier is being planned. The cost of building, equipping, and manning it has been estimated to be equivalent of ten to twelve times the annual deficit in the French health care and retirement system. This seems to have slipped under the radar of many French people: one might've expected a huge outcry in the press. The fact that there has been no voluble and continuing disagreement with it from the Socialists might mean that there is indeed a consensus that France should look much more to itself rather than rely on "Europe" for defense.

- - - - -

Best,
L'Amerloque

JPH said...

Thks LA and " amerloque" for these comments. It was very interesting.
I will add there is no majority polls in EU, but only Unanimity, imagine 27 countries with 27 languages ( !!) . It was possible at 6 countries, hard at 15, but it is impossible with 25 and now 27 countries. These ( EU) countries are very divisive. I thought a common defense could have been a goo d begining, but they are not even able to do that . Only France and Germany has a common division. Better to look on ourself for our defense ! ( sorry again for this scholar English !)

LASunsett said...

JPH

//sorry again for this scholar English !//

1. Your English is a million times better than my French.

2. Most of us here certainly can understand what you are saying or trying to say. If we don't we'll ask for clarifications. (This is a smart bunch here.)

3. No one will hold you accountable for anything that you misstate, through poor translation. We do not make a man an offender for a word, around here, if the word was not intended. Typos and rough translations are not nearly as important as content and quality of thoughts.

4. Your comments are always welcome here.

5. Regardless of how passionate a debate becomes around here, never forget these first four principles, you have my word on all of them.

superfrenchie said...

LA: //Chirac did not want Saddam removed because he was under pressure from companies that were profiting from the "Oil for Food" scam. That will be his legacy.//

That might be his legacy in some part of the US' right wing, but his legacy in the rest of the world will be to have spared us from this disaster that is Iraq. He certainly doesn't have to worry about that.

Besides, the French were only the 13th-largest participant in Oil-for-Food. The U.S. under that program bought more than 50% of Iraq's total oil exports, the French 8%.

Greg: //The Quai d'Orsay was up to its neck in the Oil for Food rip-off.//

There is absolutely no evidence of that. None whatsoever.

Some French businesspeople were involved. So were some US businesspeople. Admittedly more French than US. But they had nothing to do with the Quai d'Orsay. There was one diplomat involved. At the time of the scandal, he had been retired for something like 10 years.

superfrenchie said...

At any rate, I certainly don't see what's wrong for Chirac to try and establish some back channels of conversation with Iran. The most efficient diplomacy has always been done that way, when people are less likely to lose face because it's not public. What the hell is wrong with talking? You wanna bomb them and not even attempt to solve the problem peacefully?

Ahmadinnehjad has his own internal opposition to deal with. Being isolated on the international scene is not necessarily good for him. At the same time, he can't back off publicly. What could be better than trying to explore what can be done to help him and help us at the same time.

I must say that I find this mostly American attitude of constantly dismissing every attempt at settling things peacefully to be very disturbing. Warmonging at its worst! Don't you guys ever learn?

I for one am very glad that we have a prez and a foreign service that has some remaining common sense!

LASunsett said...

SF,

//I certainly don't see what's wrong for Chirac to try and establish some back channels of conversation with Iran.//

For what purpose? The Iranian President has already said he isn't going to stop. Do you really think that Chirac is going to change his mind? He isn't going to stop funding Hezbollah. There's not a lot Chirac can do about that, either. What good purpose is it going to serve?

Europe has tried and tried, but to no avail. Time after time we read the news stories about how he pretends to negotiate, only to say that he has no intention of resolving the issue. Chirac walking on the water in the lake of his own grandiose mind, isn't going to do anything but give the guy positive reinforcement, at a time when he deserves none.

What about trying to do an end around the other EU countries that he stood with publicly? If you are going to have an EU, why do it on the sly, independently of the other nations? That to me, signals to the membership that Mr. Chirac's government cannot be trusted.

SF, the only thing that will stop this bozo, is for the world to isolate him. Note I didn't say bomb him, I said isolate him. To do that we need the US, Europe, China, Russia, India, Japan, Australia, and others to take a damned stand and stick with it. If he has nowhere to turn, then he will get the idea that the world isn't going to stand for his hostile actions and words.

Chirac is the quintessential, finger-in-the-wind, waffling, vascillating, no principles kind of politician. He has flip-flopped so much on this issue and others, he has no credibility left. By trying to pull a stunt like this, he can set back everything that has been gained (which isn't a hell of a lot to start with) so far.

Reinforcing bad behavior, leads to more of the same. Giving false hope to a hostile government, undermines the process. This issue is bigger than the US, bigger than France, maybe even bigger than both the US and Europe, put together.

Anonim said...

I can't seem to be able to hang around as much, and I know next to nothing about Chirac or French politics. But, SF made a point with which I couldn't agree more. Democratic republics were supposed to be different from autocratic monarchies. We the people were supposed to rule, rather than be pawns in the hands of capricious, whimsical or egoistic kings, rather than be swept by the kings' pride, etc. No matter how you cut it, dear LA, the totalistic rhetoric prevalent in the Bush foreign policy is troublesome. A fundamental rule of successful diplomacy, that of allowing an exit route for your opponent, a way for him to save face if you will, appears to be stricken off the books. (Same goes for my home country vis-a-vis the Iraqi Kurds by the way.) I am afraid, "isolate him" is not a working preposition (look at North Korea, Cuba, Iraq from 1990 to 2003), and "bomb him" may well turn out to be what happens in the end (look at Iraq post-2003). I can't help but ask: all this going to be a self-fulfilling prophecy for 22nd century historians? Are there really secret cabals conspiring behind closed doors? Are our leaders to proud to be seen learning something after a certain age? What is it? Last but not least, what is our role in all this as free thinking citizens?

L'Amerloque said...

Hello JPJ !

/*/I will add there is no majority polls in EU, but only Unanimity, imagine 27 countries with 27 languages ( !!) . It was possible at 6 countries, hard at 15, but it is impossible with 25 and now 27 countries./*/

Well, sure: decisions in the EU are taken by the unanimous vote. (smile) What Amerloque means when he says "majority" is simply a "majority" that puts pressure on holdouts.

In a 15-country EU, if France (or any other country) manages to convince 13 other countries to think like it does, it's quite easy to say, "Look – there are fourteen of us and only one of you ! So why don't you just be a good boy/girl and line up with us, so we can make this vote unanimous and move along to something else ?"

In a 25-country EU, this is far more difficult. Just to achieve some kind of "majority" to apply pressure (say, 22 to 3, or 23 to 2...) is harder to do. Of course something like twenty to five isn't a "pressure majority" at all – it's just a total. The five "holdout" countries don't feel too much pressure at all from that 20 country "majority". (smile) Now that there are 27 countries ...

Sorry for the confusion!

Best,
L'Amerloque

LASunsett said...

Anonim,

//A fundamental rule of successful diplomacy, that of allowing an exit route for your opponent, a way for him to save face if you will, appears to be stricken off the books.//

This was tried before and didn't work, either. Remember the Munich Pact?

Megalomaniacs are not interested in saving face.

superfrenchie said...

LA: //Megalomaniacs are not interested in saving face.//

What in the world makes you think Ahmadinejhad is a megalomaniac?

From everything I've read, he is very close to the people's concerns, and spends a lot of time in town hall meetings in small cities across Iran. Not at all like a megalomaniac.

His country has thousands of years of history and over time, they repelled the Greeks, the Romans, the Arabs, the Mongols, the Soviets and the British. Now they have a 200-year old power at their doors, led by a true megalomaniac idiot, behaving as a colonial power and they want to protect themselves against it. That's not megalomania. That's common sense!

superfrenchie said...

SF: //true megalomaniac idiot//

Let me correct my own shortcomings:

A true delusional megalomaniac idiot.

Greg said...

s-f: There was one diplomat involved.

Yeah, France's most important and revered diplomat, just by coincidence. Has he been thrown in jail yet, by the way? What's the hold-up? If France were really serious about investigating oil-for-food, we'd be hearing all about how Merimee used his Quai d'Orasay contacts to get himself a nice pile of cash from Saddam. As long as it's fair game for the French papers to report that US funded islamic fundamentalists in Afghanistan, supplied Saddam with WMD, and other various and sundry myths they regularly report, I'll cling to my deep suspiscion that the FFM actively supported Saddam in many ways, including oil-for-food.

As for Iran, the problem is that those who are supposed to be our allies are making it easy for Iran to thumb its nose at the UN, the IAEA and the NPT without consequence. Remember the Europeans told us that they were going to show us how much better their approach is? Months and months of wrangling and negotiating has finally resulted in the most insignificant of sanctions against Iran's nuclear program alone. And even after we allies all agree, France says the sanctions aren't nearly as heavy as the out-of-control Americans say. Nice. That should help things tremendously. It's only slightly better than Russia sending them anti-aircraft missiles this week.

But like I said, this is France's middle east policy par excellence. Tell the US you're on their side, then turn around and quietly tell the US' mortal enemy that you don't really like the US as much as you say in public. France is constantly hedging its bets like this, especially in the M-E. It's the only thing I really really hate about France.

Other than that, I note you think Ahmadinejad is not a megalomaniac, but that Bush is that, and an idiot, and delusional. Are you sure you don't work for the FFM? Because the idea that Ahmadinejad isn't so bad, but that Bush is really really a danger to world peace is I'm sure a particularly popular view over there at the Quai. I know it is in Europe in general.

Greg said...

I also wanted to say that the western countries have given Iran many different ways to get out of this conflict while "saving face", notably by the package of incentives provided to them last summer, which of course they turned down b/c they have no interest in a civilian nuclear program they have no need for. The Euros can't claim we didn't try it their way. We did, and it was an embarrassing failure that only emboldened other dictators who seek the ultimate weapon. I wonder what the "foreign policy genius" Chirac is going to tell us the day Iran tests its first nuclear device. I'm sure he'll find some way to blame it on America and/or Israel.

LASunsett said...

SF,

Saying that Iran will obliterate Israel isn't delusional?

Saying that Iran and Hugo Chavez will bring down the US, isn't delusional?

How much more delusional material do you need for him to qualify as delusional?

JPH said...

Greg, Your point is too partisan to be serious and to have an answer. Yes, Greg, everything is France's fault. Feel better ?

JPH said...

Greg " he will find some way to blame it on America and/or Israel "
Why Israel ? French jews give full support to Israel. French Jews are the first jewish community in western Europe. There's a lot of jews in the french government and politic from right to left. Good stereotype isn'it ?

superfrenchie said...

greg: //I also wanted to say that the western countries have given Iran many different ways to get out of this conflict while "saving face", notably by the package of incentives provided to them last summer, which of course they turned down//

It's not Iran that turned down anything. It's the US that turned down Iran concessions.

superfrenchie said...

LA: //How much more delusional material do you need for him to qualify as delusional?//

I didn't say that Ahmadinejad wasn't delusional, I said he wasn't megalomaniac.

In terms of being delusional, his statements on Israel are delusional indeed.

LASunsett said...

SF,

//I didn't say that Ahmadinejad wasn't delusional, I said he wasn't megalomaniac.//

MEGALOMANIA

1. A psychopathological condition characterized by delusional fantasies of wealth, power, or omnipotence.

2. An obsession with grandiose or extravagant things or actions.

LASunsett said...

SF,

//It's not Iran that turned down anything. It's the US that turned down Iran concessions.//

I wouldn't give much credence to what Wilkerson has to say. He has an ax to grind with the administration and has turned into a partisan hack. Even if it were certifiably true, the last thing Iraq needed at that time, was Iranians snooping around and getting involved in the new Iraqi government, all at the invitation of the US.

Greg said...

JPH, perhaps you missed your future president go to Lebanon and hang out with some of the most vile, anti-semitic serial killers on earth and say she agreed with their view of the middle east, "including the role of the US." Perhaps you were unaware that Hezbollah is a neo-nazi organization whose sole goal is to kill every Jew in Israel.

Let's take a poll in France and ask them what they think of Israel. Oh, wait, the EU already did that! They found Israel is seen as the biggest threat to world peace, with big, bad, evil America #2. Amazing window into a growing European mentality that frankly frightens me.

Your view that Iran is some type of victim of America in this nuclear affair is really what is too ridiculous to take seriously. Unfortunately, I am convinced it is the majority view in France and Europe in general.

In short, you just proved my point.

Greg said...

"La situation est tragique mais les forces en présence au Moyen-Orient font qu’au long terme, Israël, comme autrefois les Royaumes francs, finira par disparaître. Cette région a toujours rejeté les corps étrangers."

Dominique de Villepin, automne 2001, PM de France.

("The situation is tragic, but the forces present in the Middle East work over the long term. Israel, like the "Royaumes Francs" will eventually disappear. This region has always rejected foreigners").

Jacques Chirac: "I have a simple principle in foreign affairs. I see what the Americans are doing and I do the opposite. That way, I’m sure to be right."

superfrenchie said...

Greg: regarding what de Villepin said, I can't find but one site that says he said that. Considering that all speeches are public record, it should be easy to find it elsewhere. Do you have a source?

LA, a megalomaniac might say things that are delusional. That doesn't mean that someone who say certain delusional things is a megalomaniac.

L'Amerloque said...

Hi SF !

/*/Greg: regarding what de Villepin said, I can't find but one that says he said that. Considering that all speeches are public record, it should be easy to find it elsewhere. Do you have a source?/*/

It should be noted that the site referred to by SF is that of the (Israeli) "Metula News Agency", which is somewhat mixed up (whether voluntarily or involuntarily has not been established in court yet) in the lawsuits undertaken by France Televisions against various websites and organizations which have accused FT (A2) of "falsifying" a report about a Palestinian child killed deliberately by IDF gunfire. (It's the whole Charles Enderlin affair, which has been going on for quite some time …).

Any "news" from this source should be approached with extreme prudence, in Amerloque's view.

Some of its reporting during the recent war appeared to be top notch, while other of its reports left a taste of, er, dubiousness (to put it politely) in the media.

Caveat emptor, as the old saying goes …

Best,
L'Amerloque

Anonim said...

LA,

//This [exit (face saving) route] was tried before and didn't work, either. Remember the Munich Pact?

Megalomaniacs are not interested in saving face.//


This is not about personas (or it shouldn't be). Actually, I am disturbed by your "isolate HIM/bomb HIM" language. You seem to join in with the deafening drumbeat of warmongers. There is a whole nation (millions of people with quite diverse worldviews) behind this HIM that is Ahmedinejad. Don't forget that. And, study the lessons of bombing Saddam (another HIM) long and well. Briefly, co-opting oppressed or dissenting segments of the target society is no sound strategy to militarily topple a dictatorship and build a stable democracy in its stead. I am not denying insurgent underground foes that work against you in such an enterprise. But you shouldn't deny them, either. It's a law of nature almost: your enemy will not cease and desist because you are right and they are wrong.

superfrenchie said...

ano: //your enemy will not cease and desist because you are right and they are wrong.//

Or, as Frenchman funnyman Pierre Desproges said:

"The enemy is stupid: he believes that we are the enemy, whereas it is him! I'm still laughing about it!"

LASunsett said...

Anonim,

// I am disturbed by your "isolate HIM/bomb HIM" language.//

I looked back to see where I said that I wanted to bomb Iran and all I could find was this:

the only thing that will stop this bozo, is for the world to isolate him. Note I didn't say bomb him, I said isolate him.

I said I wanted him to be isolated, not bombed. So how does that make me a warmonger?

Anonim said...

LA, I didn't mean to say you are a warmonger, which you are not. I clearly was way past my purpose with that imprecise language there, and I wholeheartedly apologize for that. Yes, those were your sentences where I found the essence of what I should be disturbed by. To me, your language didn't allow peace or diplomacy enough chances although you state your preference for these, rather than bombs, to work. I see you have misgivings, which is fine. Each one of us have such thoughts on a variety things, but unexamined and hardened misgivings, I am afraid, sometimes make it harder to reach desired solutions through desirable means. (Remember also my original "self-fulfilling prophecy?" question). So, if there was anything I could accuse you with, it'd be that your misgivings were severe. (Looked quite hardened; unexamined? That I don't know, but possibly; not sufficiently examined anyways by my measure. Sorry for this personal engagement. But I don't believe in a 100% intellectual forum; no need to pretend otherwise.)

SF, that funnyman quote is a good one; thanks. Somewhat related to this thread's subject... I have been thinking for some time now that Rumsfeld forgot the fourth combination of knowns & unknowns: there are also "unknown knowns." I.e., things that we don't know we know. This isn't very funny though.

LASunsett said...

Anonim,

//I didn't mean to say you are a warmonger, which you are not. I clearly was way past my purpose with that imprecise language there, and I wholeheartedly apologize for that.//

That's okay, sir. I am not offended, I just sought some clarification.

//Yes, those were your sentences where I found the essence of what I should be disturbed by. To me, your language didn't allow peace or diplomacy enough chances although you state your preference for these, rather than bombs, to work.//

Like I said, I am not for attacking Iran at this time. I think that if there were more international pressure on Iran, that would be enough. But even at that, the questions become, how long is long enough? And do we want to reward bellicose and threatening behavior?

Anonim said...

OK, LA. It's not about us. Though it'd be okay if it was. Nothing wrong in seeking agreement in such a matter.

What I'm saying is, this Iran debacle needs serious thought. If it isn't too late already, that is. IMO, Bush, with his "axis of evil" speech, unwisely and unnecessarily alienated Iran (bellicose and threatening?). Pressure is okay, but where is the pressure release valve? A self-righteous and uncompromising stance will hardly lead to a diplomatic solution. Such attitude doesn't do any good in human-to-human communications, either. It's not rocket science.

LASunsett said...

Anonim,

//Bush, with his "axis of evil" speech, unwisely and unnecessarily alienated Iran (bellicose and threatening?).//

I probably would have chosen my words more carefully had I been the one making this speech. I always think it best to describe behaviors and not assign moral values to them. But, the President didn't ask me, no one even called. One can certainly do that and remain firm at the same time.

From another angle (and I admit this is a bit of a stretch, but valid nonetheless), he watched Reagan get away with the "evil empir" statement, then witnessed the fall of that empire. So, maybe, he thought it would have the same effects. (Just a guess here, I still haven't received a call from the White House yet)

Jean-Philippe said...

"the only thing that will stop this bozo, is for the world to isolate him. Note I didn't say bomb him, I said isolate him."

Isolation ?
How ?
We separate Iran for the earth planet ?
We stop consuming petrol ?

Stopping interacting, or "isolationism" is rarely a good idea.