Jewish World Review March 17, 2003 / 13 Adar II, 5763
Ultimatum's moment of truth
By pushing for a war resolution vote he might lose,
President Bush has issued an ultimatum not just to Saddam
Hussein, but to the United Nations. The president has made it
clear to the Chiles and Cameroons that their votes won't
determine whether Saddam will be disarmed. They will
determine only if the Security Council will insist that its
resolutions be taken seriously.
If the Security Council does not so insist, then the U.N.
likely will join the League of Nations in the dustbin of history.
The United Nations was created by the United States, and
cannot survive without our active participation.
And if the United Nations will not oppose aggression,
terrorism and the proliferation of weapons of mass
destruction, or encourage democracy and human rights, there
is no reason why we should continue to participate in it.
America's foremost opponent in the United Nations has
been France, which long ago ceased to be either a "friend" or
an "ally." Four understandable, if ignoble, reasons have been
advanced to explain French opposition to war with Iraq:
- France has a large Islamic population and fears
terror attacks. "European investigators have evidence that
over the past six months, Islamic militants have been
recruiting hundreds of fellow Muslims to carry out attacks in
the event of war," a French anti-terrorism expert told the
New York Times Jan. 29.
- France has lucrative business deals with Iraq and
fears losing them if Saddam is ousted. In 2001, the last
year for which statistics are available, France did $650 million
worth of business with Iraq, more than any other European
country. The telephone system in Baghdad is French, as are
most of the cars on the streets. The state-owned oil
company, TotalFina ELF, has sweetheart deals to develop
two huge oil fields in western Iraq. It is likely those deals
would be renegotiated, or abrogated altogether, if there were
a change in regime.
- French politicians fear embarrassment for their
country and for themselves if the extent of their
dealings with Saddam's regime are made public. French
journalists Claude Angeli and Stephanie Mesnier interviewed
Saddam for their 1992 book, "Our Ally Saddam." They
quote Saddam as saying: "As for financiers, industrialists, and
above all those responsible for military industry, the question
must be put to French politicians: Who did not benefit from
these business contracts and relationships with Iraq?"
Saddam goes on the describe French participation in Gulf
war I as a "betrayal," and adds "if the trickery continues, we
will be forced to unmask them, all of them, before the French
- France wants to establish a global coalition to
serve as a counterweight to U.S. influence in the world,
with France at its head. The vehicle for reclaiming France's
lost glory was to have been the European Union, which, the
French hoped, would become a superstate dominated by
France and Germany. But the expansion of the EU to include
most of the formerly communist nations of Eastern Europe -
who do not share French hostility to the United States, and
who are not especially fond of the French themselves -
seems to have doomed this ambition. Still, the French enjoy
poking a stick in America's eye whenever the opportunity
These are all reasons we in America can understand, even
if we do not like them. What makes no sense is why France
would pursue its opposition to the United States to the extent
of pushing itself off the world stage. We think of the French
as arrogant, immoral, cunning and cowardly, but not as stupid
France has a middling economy that is perpetually
sputtering and stalling because of its socialist economic
policies. The French military is nothing to write home about,
and hasn't been since the time of Napoleon. Gen. George
Patton is reported to have said: "I'd rather have a German
division in front of me than a French division behind me."
So France can strut on the world stage only by virtue of
its status as a permanent member of the U.N. Security
Council. If the Council becomes irrelevant, than France will
fall into a well-deserved obscurity.
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JWR contributor Jack Kelly, a former Marine and Green Beret, was a
deputy assistant secretary of the Air Force in the Reagan
administration. Comment by clicking here.
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© 2002, Jack Kelly