France is considered by many on the left to be the ideal nation, a country with a history of atheist humanism and socialism so far to the left it nudges up against Lenin. A nation that habitually opposes the United States in almost any action, is known for its art, decadence, and wine, and which eptiomizes leftist ideals. Mind you France as a reality often violates leftist cant, such as its ghastly dehumanizing prisons, it's post-colonialist empire building, it's nuclear power, and its attacking Greenpeace. But they say the right things, oppose the United States, and seem to really feel the right feelings, so that all is OK.
So when the United States led a multinational coalition into Iraq in defiance of the incredibly insulting and arrogant French opposition, the US was wrong, it was going it alone - meaning "without France."
Recently, France elected a more right-leaning president in Nicholas Sarkozy who has repudiated the policies, statements, and attitude of the previous leader Jacques Chirac. This new administration backs the United States, is acting like an ally - something France has not done for more than 60 years - to the point of even threatening Iran for it's continuous war drum beating and attempts to build a nuclear weapon.
The response of the left? Well, here's what the New York Times said:
French President Nicolas Sarkozy made the wrong gesture at the wrong time by brandishing the possible use of force against Iran’s nuclear weapons program in his first major foreign policy address. The United States and its allies need to be stepping up their efforts to resolve the serious dangers posed by Iran through comprehensive negotiations and increased international economic pressure, not by talking about military action...What's even funnier is that this op-ed (by the NYT editors) even claims that diplomacy works better without threats:
Tehran made a deal this month with U.N. inspectors to resolve questions over its nuclear program that is just another pretense of addressing international concerns. China and Russia, the main obstructionists on the Security Council, will try to use that deal as another excuse to resist tougher sanctions. The United States and its allies must creatively push for the maximum sanctions possible. This is the time for robust diplomacy, not threats.How robust diplomacy can be without any threat behind it is difficult to comprehend. At Tigerhawk, he points out that this is part of an ongoing attempt to shape policy in France:
Well, you do if your most important intended audience is the French electorate. Sarkozy's speech was obviously intended to build support within France for a sanctions regime that will not come cheap to the French economy.
Considering that the New York Times constantly accuses the Bush administration of propagandizing to build support at home for its forward foreign policy, you would think its editors would notice when the leader of another democracy does the same thing.
And Commenters responded:
Forgive me if this seems frightfully naive, but what makes diplomacy "robust", if not threats?The sad thing is that this points out the lie that the "unilateral" complaint was all along. This was never about France as a nation joining in. It was just about "I oppose President Bush no matter what and here's an excuse." Once France signs on, well it's time to oppose France, not support President Bush.
What could the last sentence possibly mean?
-by James of England
I suppose they take the threat of layoffs, RIFs, firings, etc - before negotiating with their unionized employees?
Gawd, they say it themselves.
The United States and its allies need to be stepping up their efforts to resolve the serious dangers posed by Iran through comprehensive negotiations and increased international economic pressure, not by talking about military action...
is concluded with this:
Tehran made a deal this month with U.N. inspectors to resolve questions over its nuclear program that is just another pretense of addressing international concerns.
Talk doesn't work? No problem apply MORE TALK.
What's more, the NYT contradicts itself:
Suggesting the U.N. is the key to unlocking a nuclear-free Iran, the article says that the U.N. Security Council has to "remain united". Then, 2 sentences immediately thereafter, the article refers to Russia and China as "obstructionists" who will continue to resist efforts at meaningful economic sanctions.
How is the U.N. Security Council "united" at all in the first place, if 40% of the Council is "obstructionist" and clearly not cooperating with diplomatic efforts to punish or persuade Iran?
Maybe incoherent is the wrong word, in terms of its connotation. I use that word to describe the letters my mentally ill cousin sends to me. There is certainly a degree of logical inconsistency, which happens when there are too many cooks in the kitchen and there are multiple drafts. Could there be mild disagreement among the editorial page editors at the NYT? Is a deviation from the orthodoxy happening? Even the Politburo had its factions.
All talk about international diplomacy from the NYT has the American electorate as its audience. Whether Diplomacy Method A or Diplomacy Method B actually works better out in the world is of no importance. There is a narrative that the NYT believes which would help to elect, uh, certain people. Their goal is to convince you of the narrative.
They're just helping out by warning us, you see, or we might go astray. People might get the wrong ideas about how the world works if journalists didn't provide context for us.
-by Assistant Village Idiot
The ideal for the deluded leftist is a world where you can talk to anyone and convince them to stop doing their evil deeds, preferably with gifts and kindness that shames them into acting better. Note, this is only used against the really evil, horrible people in the world - against political enemies or people who are safe to deal with but disagree, other tactics are certainly permissible. It comes down to a sad moral cowardice, where the threat of having to actually follow through with violence or force is unacceptable, they might get hurt!
This is all part of the relativist philosophy that believes you can hold two totally contradictory positions at the same time without problem, combined with the delusion that people deep down are basically decent. All you have to do is appeal to this and bring that good side out and everything will be ok! The complaint France wasn't signed on had nothing to do with the argument at it's core. They were opposed to using force to actually back up what you said, no matter what the cost or situation, especially by a Republican President.
The sad thing for people like this is that some people are not good at all and that their evil and madness will simply consume you and all you hold dear unless they are stopped.
I should add a caveat here: there are some that people like this think are innately and unrepentantly evil. They consider President Bush to be a horror and an evil that cannot be saved, a creature so wicked that every deed, even those normally praised and lauded in others, must be considered suspicious and for dark, conspiratorial reasons. President Bush only does things that seem right for evil reasons.
This is, again, the problem of relativism: you can both hold that all people are basically decent and that some are inherently evil and monstrous. You can believe that all can be reached through proper talk and gifts, and that some can only be disposed of or shut away (preferably in "reeducation camps") because they cannot be reached. The contradiction isn't a concern because truth is relative, you see.