Tuesday, June 14, 2005

France learns humility

This is rich. The Chirac government's petulance appears to have run smack into immutable reality. After badgering reluctant E.U. member states to vote on the constitution by November of 2006, the French now feel that other nations can decide for themselves when and if they'll give the 500-page travesty the old "up-or-down." French Foreign Minister Douste-Blazy made this rather novel statement regarding the French attitude toward the sovereignty of its neighbors: "Our humble and modest position says we simply respect the position of each member state."

Arrogant? ... moi?
This is certainly a change of tack. Back in 2003 the governments of Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Denmark, Estonia, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Macedonia, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, Spain, and the United Kingdom all signed open letters supporting Washington's stance on Iraq. Chirac's response received wide media attention and pretty much universal derision. He said, in Brussels, in front of reporters and diplomats, in English: "They missed a great opportunity to shut up."

So if France's new position is "humble and modest," I think it's fair to say that the old one was "prideful and arrogant." Too bad the change comes a little late to undo Chirac's weakening of the coalition and emboldening of the Baathists in Iraq.

Does Douste-Blazy's announcement indicate a new French approach toward autonomy in the still-incubating political identity of the E.U.? Not likely. Chances are that Chirac has finally stopped pouting and taken stock of his credibility in light of France's resounding "non" to the constitution. And being so freshly humble and modest, he's not about to miss a great opportunity to shut up.


Blogger Fausta said...

I don't believe for a moment this sudden attack of humility.

8:48 AM  
Blogger tompain said...

I agree ... I think Chirac is merely laying low. Have you heard that now the Russians have sent an envoy to meet with al-Sadr in Iraq? If it's not one of the Old Europe clan stabbing us in the back, it's another.

8:54 AM  

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