Jewish World Review April 9, 2003 / 7 Nisan, 5763
Debra J. Saunders
A recent poll found a quarter of the French are
rooting for Saddam Hussein to win the war. A pox on
all their maisons, but it's the majority of the French
who still want the United States to win -- after
months of Americans lampooning French military
history -- who interest me.
Some among that majority are vintners,
cheesemakers and waiters who are likely to suffer
because of American boycotts of France and French
products. Why alienate these people further?
Yes, Americans have a right to boycott France.
What's more, the rhetoric of President Jacques
Chirac and Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin
were and are bound to dampen even a Francophile's
enthusiasm for les choses francaises. To the extent
that Americans just don't feel like visiting France, I
(I also understand boycotting the Dixie Chicks, but
then again, I've been boycotting them for years
without even knowing it.)
The fact remains: An organized boycott against
France is counter-productive.
It has the potential to hurt people who support the
United States as equally as it hurts snooty French
ingrates. It's buckshot where precision is needed.
Better to hate the French politician and love the
In this day and age, an anti-French boycott also
stands to hurt American jobs as well as corporations
headquartered in the many European countries that
support the U.S.-led war in Iraq.
Besides, a boycott on the French only helps Chirac.
Despite rising unemployment, he is enjoying high
approval ratings -- with 90 percent of the French
supporting Chirac on Iraq.
I don't like that number. Chirac did more than
announce that France would not participate in the
war effort, as some have mischaracterized his
actions. Chirac and de Villepin gave Saddam
Hussein hope -- and thereby encouraged him not to
surrender when this war might have been avoided.
When the war is won, and Hussein's atrocities are
exposed anew, even Europeans will wake up.
Chirac's punishment will be the eventual global
understanding that M. le President chose to shield a
butcher, and in his zeal to defend Hussein, he
nudged France down another step in its descent into
-- I want to be gentle here -- existentialism.
America is a superpower. France is the Blanche
DuBois of power -- declining and forever dreaming of
a glory that exists mainly in her past. It is not gallant
to treat Blanche DuBois for what she is.
Besides, Americans do themselves no favor in
making it known we think we don't need the help of
Europe's little countries. Those little countries
(France aussi) have vital intelligence needed to stop
terrorism. Some of those countries -- Great Britain
and Australia -- have sent their precious troops to
Iraq. Some leaders -- like Spain's Jose Maria Aznar --
have taken great risks to defend a country that is
strong without them.
Instead of being spiteful, Americans should take the
high road. Forget minor enemies. Instead, embrace
those friends who have sacrificed and risked to help
America rid the world of menace.
Don't boycott the French. Buy British. Walk about
Australia. Visit Spain and let the Spaniards know
that Aznar's friendship is valued. Dice grazie in
To boycott France is to say America doesn't need
France. Or countries like France. That's worse, far
worse, than pouring vintage French wine down the
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© 2000, Creators Syndicate