BY DONOVAN RINKER-MORRIS
The transatlantic “discourse war” between certain Americans and French poses an intriguing problem for international security. The Anti-France Coalition, mostly American neo-conservatives, mobilizes “freedom fries” and wine selection to signal its contempt. Talk shows mock the “French surrender strategy,” as well as the ingratitude of a country saved in two big wars by American heroism. They suggest the real French motive for opposing the U.S. on Iraq must be “corporate interests.”
The French have retaliated with a veiled assassination threat to ship pretzels to our president. (See http://www.bretzelforbush.com for details.) One wonders how far the conflict might escalate. France possesses weapons of mass destruction, so it poses a national security risk. There’s no need for weapons inspectors to search for a secret stockpile under the Statue of Liberty — we know they have nukes, and we know they might use them. Wouldn’t the French people welcome our soldiers were we to liberate them from their “effeminate” elitist masters and their existentialist gibberish?
Ironies aside, American conservatives abhor the notion of Europe acquiring an independent military force. John Bolton likened this proposal to a “dagger at the heart of NATO.” Simultaneously, American conservatives mock Europe for lacking an effective military and leaving brave Americans (and their British mascots) to do the world’s fighting while Europeans reap the benefits of Pax Americana purchased by our sacrifice. Europeans unfairly reject the Procrustean dilemma we offer them: recall that generous host who not only offered his own bed to guests, but enhanced their sleeping comfort by stretching out guests who were too short, and lopping off the heads of guests who were too tall. To America, any independent “Old Europe” security force is either too small or too large. It must be stretched or chopped to comply with our specifications. They should rest more easily knowing that we keep them safe and butt out of our business with Iraq.
The real issue is the “independence” of a European security force: if it is not under NATO (read: American) control, then it is automatically against NATO. The proof that this is a plot against America is the fact that the French support it. Harvard-trained legal reasoning, career ambitions, and American patriotism seem to demand accepting this evidence as conclusive. My colleagues, by virtue of being here, are intelligent, so when they make this argument, it must be true. Likewise, the insidious Old Europe alliance, the international human rights agenda, and all those goofy treaties that unpatriotic elites work so hard to shackle America with — all of this is part of a plot against American sovereignty.
Though it sounds unpatriotic, isn’t it possible France has a valid perspective on the dangers of “liberating” people from oppressive leaders? Along with the British, they liberated Syrians, Lebanese, Iraqis and everyone else in the Middle East from Turkish tyrants and Arab autocrats. They built schools, hospitals, canals, roads, oil fields and proto-democratic governments. They did all the democracy-building activities America now contemplates. Look how tranquil the Middle East has become as a result (but maybe those devious Europeans planned it that way eighty-some years ago in order to threaten America).I apologize for the inappropriate analogy (and hope nobody mistakenly reads this to suggest that Bush = Napoleon). American democracy-building today is obviously distinguishable from earlier European efforts. It is superior, first, because it is American, rather than French. Second, because, well, just because. Bush is much taller than Napoleon. Republics don’t become empires. It’s just different. The next time I hear an LL.M. criticize American policy, which he obviously knows nothing about (even though, since they’re also at Harvard, they must be intelligent), I’ll consider joining the Coalition to Defend America. I’ll be prepared for action should those pesky Parisians carry out their pretzel plot. After all, the French elites have as much authority to critique our culture (De Tocqueville be damned) as, well, Harvard-trained elites had to criticize Southern civil rights culture in an earlier era. On Iraq, the French are wrong and we are right. They are not with us, so they are against us. If they are against us and have weapons of mass destruction, then we must invade. Instituting regime change now, rather than later, will save American lives.
So let’s go to war. I’ll bring the freedom fries.