Thank You, France
This anti-French business has taken some interesting turns. Many
restaurants are renaming French fries "freedom" fries. Some people
are refusing to buy French wine or French cheese. There's even a
disc jockey here in Washington who stood on a street corner selling
"Freedom kisses" rather than … well, you know.
I, for one, think the French deserve our gratitude. It took their
unique blend of hubris, cynicism and America-envy to expose the
myth that the United Nations is the place to solve serious disputes
among sovereign states.
The United Nations is in dire need of repair. Not destruction-the
concept of a forum where nations can address common problems, such
as hunger and human rights, can prove useful-but massive,
Among those repairs should be a retreat by the United Nations from
extensive involvement in matters of war and peace. In this arena,
the United Nations usually only makes things worse. Even if it
didn't, we shouldn't require U.N. approval to defend our citizens
and interests. Otherwise, we're essentially letting the parochial
concerns of other nations dictate U.S. policy.
After all, support for coalition efforts to remove Saddam Hussein
should be a no-brainer. In addition to laughing off 17 resolutions
ordering him to disarm, Saddam has gassed his own people, bombed
his own retreating troops at the end of the first Gulf War and
attacked three of his neighbors.
Now he has weapons that threaten the lives of literally hundreds of
millions of people. He works with terrorist groups who can supply
impressionable youths to serve as suicidal "delivery vehicles." And
the French and Russians wanted us to get approval for an 18th
resolution before we went to war, even though Saddam had thumbed
his nose at the first 17? Call me
cynical, but something
tells me to peel back this curtain and see what's behind.
, as the French would say. The arguments
made by Paris, Moscow and Berlin may sound positively
continental-peace beats war, etc. But it turns out their motives
are more-how to put this delicately?-situational. All three have
extensive commercial interests in Iraq, including expensive oil
contracts and, as we discovered in the opening days of the war,
sales of some forbidden weaponry.
And it's just barely possible these contracts-these deals with a
devil-might not be honored under a new government. The United
States has promised only that the oil and other resources of Iraq
will be used to benefit the Iraqi people. France, Germany and
Russia will have to wait to see exactly what that means.
The proposition that war is "illegal" unless it carries the
Security Council's seal of approval is as laughable as the
spectacle of our diplomats trying to coax Cameroon and Mauritania
into voting for that elusive 18th resolution. Of the 200 or so wars
fought since 1945, the Security Council has "approved" two-the
Korean War and the first Gulf War.
Founding ideals aside, the United Nations is a debating society
backed by one of the world's truly impenetrable bureaucracies.
Occasionally, when its peacekeeping forces and its charitable
organizations do some good, the organization rises to the soaring
ideals on which it was founded.
But when it allows self-interested states to make political points
at the expense of others while the world moves closer to
destruction, it earns not our respect, but our regret at what's
become of those soaring ideals.
, France. Quite a legacy.
-Edwin Feulner is
president of The Heritage Foundation, a Washington-based public
policy research institute.