French View of Iraq Election

Discussion in 'Middle East - General' started by Adam's Apple, Feb 7, 2005.

  1. Adam's Apple
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    Adam's Apple Senior Member

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    Spreading the Burden
    By Jean Daniel, International Herald Tribune
    Saturday, February 5, 2005

    For Europe, Iraq's election changes everything

    PARIS One would have to be truly of bad faith not to accept the courage with which millions of Iraqis went to the polls in spite of a considerable increase in terrorist attacks and the danger of even more attacks.

    But there is also a certain indecency in declaring victory, in rejoicing with abandon over this world of grief and ruin; in finding in the courage of the Iraqi people a justification for President George W. Bush's peace plan for the Greater Middle East. If that were so, the Iraqi people would have been voting for a continuation of the crusade. In fact, it was exactly the reverse.

    On the eve of the election, a colleague of ours at The New York Times, Thomas Friedman, thought he had deduced after a brief visit to the French capital that the French hoped that the elections would fail, and thus so would Bush, for the sole pleasure of spitting out an "I told you so" in his direction. The idea is that a hatred for Bush would push the French toward a politics of failure and to ignore the consequences that a terrorist victory would have on the Muslim community in France. This shocking idea is accepted as self-evident by our esteemed colleague.

    In fact, the French seem to have had the same reaction as other Europeans - and for that matter as many Americans who voted against Bush.

    In any case, on Monday morning the world found itself faced with a country strewn with ruins where the dead are counted in tens of thousands and where the Americans have rarely been so unpopular. But also faced with a people singularly firm in its realism; a people, if we are to believe certain of their ministers, that wants to claim through negotiations everything that the insurgents failed to achieve through violence.

    We can now expect that rival regions in Iraq will adapt their attitudes to the successful election, and that the major powers will look with more patience and interest on Bush's initiatives. If we listen to the more recent declarations of the president, the sudden turn of events in Iraq puts the debate on the export of democracy back on the agenda. To all who said that the war in Iraq would never be won if there was no peace in the Middle East, Bush replied that both would be achieved through "the war on terrorism and for democracy." Today, it looks as if this will be his position.

    Whether the American president is right or not, whether he chooses to ignore all the sacrifices imposed on his people and the troubles imposed on their progeny, he does have some aces in his hands. Bush can, in effect, obtain the "legitimacy" that up to now had eluded him because of his disdain for the United Nations and the EU. He can now tell them all, "After these elections, there will be an assembly, a constitution and a government in Iraq. They will ask the American forces to leave, which was always part of the deal. The ball is now in your court; it's for you to help us leave, since you always wanted us gone. From now on, the responsibility for keeping the peace is yours."

    This is a situation Colin Powell perfectly understood before he handed over his office to Condoleezza Rice. When he said, "We'll leave when they ask us to," everyone thought that no one would ever ask, and if they did, no one would leave. Suddenly everything is changed, everything is different.

    What can change this new diplomatic situation - that is to say, the new distribution of power - is obviously the situation on the ground in Iraq and in the Near East. Short of a miracle of wisdom (and who can exclude this possibility after the elections in Baghdad last Sunday?), everyone expects guerrillas and mobs to make a grab for territory. If people like Henry Kissinger and George Shultz believe it is necessary to counsel Bush and his advisers against a withdrawal of American forces anytime soon, it's because plans were already being made for this at all levels of the U.S. administration. To accept the departure of the occupiers, which risks a new Rwanda, or to replace the American force with an international one in Iraq, along with an intensified focus on the Palestinian questions, these are the new, and feeble, parameters of international diplomacy, and European diplomacy in particular.

    Personally, I do not hesitate to opt for the second approach, but on the condition that the modalities are carefully defined. That means in particular the European Union, which can very well make a list of the measures it promotes both in Palestine and in Iraq in order to match the substantial financial role it already plays with equivalent military and political responsibilities. In other words, if there is a political victory for Bush in the unexpected results of the Iraqi election, it could take the form of passing this new-born Iraq off to the Europeans and others. The situation in Iraq was catastrophic for the Americans. It could become disastrous for everyone.

    (Jean Daniel is the co-founder and director of the French magazine Le Nouvel Observateur. This comment was translated from the French by the IHT.)
     
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  2. Johnney
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    Johnney Senior Member

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    i think the frogs live for this for some reason. imo they think if they arent at the forefront of some action, in charge if you will, they are against it. they want all the glory to fall directly on their sholders. well they had their chance(s), so they can think what they will. everyone else knows what they are about.
     
  3. Adam's Apple
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    Adam's Apple Senior Member

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    Does that remind you of anyone in our own country?
     
  4. rtwngAvngr
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    rtwngAvngr Guest

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    So he prefers to internationalize the forces. Oh and what's feeble about the parameters exactly? He doesn't say. It's just typical leftist unsubstantiated negativism.
    What the hell kind of qualifier is this?
    It could become disastrous for everyone? That's the spirit. Care to back up your negativism, frog?
     
  5. CSM
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    CSM Senior Member

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    More Bush bashing from our European cousins. They just cant stand the fact that maybe, JUST MAYBE, this will work out and that maybe, JUST MAYBE, Bush is correct in his approach to the war on terror. Which means of course, that the Europeans might just be WRONG!
     
  6. Johnney
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    Johnney Senior Member

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    yeah, everyone against Bush.
     
  7. Johnney
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    Johnney Senior Member

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    what kind of a sack of dog shit is this? there they go trying to pry in on something without doing any of the actual work.
    yes it was catastrophic, but it wasnt a failure. we can handle it.
     

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