Tuesday, May 03, 2005


Pushing EU Constitution, Chirac resorts to bashing "Anglo-Saxon" countries

Faced with the prospect of a humiliating vote against the EU Constitution in the French referendum scheduled for May 29, Jacques Chirac recently took to the airwaves, staging a televised forum to bolster support.

As reported by
Christopher Caldwell at The Weekly Standard, all did not go well, and overnight polls suggested that disapproval, hovering around 53% since mid-April, spiked to 56% the day after Chirac’s appearance…which barely drew more viewers than the Clint Eastwood movie “Pale Rider” showing on anther channel.

The French are concerned about losing jobs to the eastern European nations, such as Hungary and Slovakia [go
here for a piece about President Bush’s visit to Slovakia], where labor costs are a fraction (Caldwell says 1/7th ) of those in the socialist states of Germany and France, and the EU Constitution would abolish national protectionism for most trades and professions. Costs in Turkey, which Chirac long endorsed for membership, are even lower, and, if admitted to the EU, Turkey would be the largest member. With unemployment in France at a permanent double-digit level, and according to Caldwell, 22% among young workers (25 and under) the French are understandably wary of giving up the government-sponsored protectionism of the current system.

So Chirac, his popularity sliding and the EU, for all intents and purposes a French-driven effort to create a French-dominated Europe, facing rejection of its constitution by the French people, Chirac took to the airwaves, arguing that a vote for the Constitution is a vote against “the Anglo-Saxon countries”:

Since the Iraq war, Chirac's popularity has followed the same downward spiral from dizzying heights that the elder George Bush's did after the Gulf war. Chirac, though, sought to recapture a bit of the old magic by suggesting that the best argument for passing the E.U. constitution was that the Americans (and the British) dislike it. Should France vote "No" on the constitution, Chirac warned, "the free-market trend will spread. What do the Anglo-Saxon countries want, particularly the United States? They want us to stop this European construction, which risks creating a Europe that will be stronger and capable of defending itself."

Hey Jacques, ANY TIME you want to take over paying for your own defense, you go right ahead. I think I can speak for most Americans when I say “It’s about time.”

For fifty years the US has expended untold millions of dollars protecting France, Germany, and the other countries of Western Europe from the threat of invasion. Those countries, France and Germany in particular, freed of the necessity of paying for their own defense, were able to build bloated, top-heavy socialist societies, for which they are now beginning to pay the price. While you’re at it, Jacques, how about repaying the millions (even with simple interest, surely now billions) in WWII-era war debts you still owe us?

Of course, protecting Western Europe was in the best interests of the US, you know, the policy of containment and all that, but that doesn’t change the fact that OUR military muscle made THEIR lifestyle possible. Do you suppose they’d all take the month of August off if they had to equip and support a few battle carrier groups the equivalent of ours? France’s military capability is adequate for shooting Ivory Coast demonstrators from helicopter gunships, but they can not imagine mounting anything like the air and ground campaigns, primarily made up of US and UK forces, that liberated Kuwait, ousted the Taliban and toppled Saddam Hussein.

What France envisioned in its drive to create the EU was an expansion of French nanny-state socialism, not the economic competition of the newly-liberated and capitalistically inclined nations of Eastern Europe. And the prospect of capitalism, and competition, is making many French citizens very, very nervous.

So go ahead, Jacques, keep bashing away at the “Anglo-Saxon” countries. You know, those countries that gave tens of thousands of their young men’s lives to save your country from Germany, and then spent millions upon millions of dollars protecting you from Russia. But be careful what you wish for. Because quite frankly, we’d LIKE to see you start paying your own way and protecting yourself. One day you may wake up and find that we’ve decided to let you. And we’ll all see how your people like the idea if working 40 hour weeks and twelve-month years in order to compete with the other European nations… and working a little overtime now and then to pay for their own national defense.

NOTE: I don’t have a link for the following point, I’m doing it solely from memory, so take my word for it or don’t, but several weeks back Jacques appeared at a conference for some organization or group of states related somehow to “Asia-Pacific” issues… and his speech at that one included the paranoid suggestion that the US, UK and Australia – the English-speaking peoples – were trying to take over and dominate the pacific rim and Asia.

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