Likelihood of Success

Ron Coleman’s pretty good blog

Statute of limitations

Posted by Ron Coleman on June 14, 2007

Does World War II give us a free pass on all foreign-policy decisions for the rest of time? I don’t think so. But many hawks (I am a hawk), including Democratic Representative Tom Lantos, do. First, via James Taranto today, the perfectly good part.

“I am so glad that the era of Jacques Chirac and Chancellor Schroeder in Germany is now gone,” [California’s Rep. Tom] Lantos said to applause.

He said when the United States asked Schroeder to support its decision to go to war in Iraq “he told us where to go.”

“I referred to him as a political prostitute, now that he’s taking big checks from (Russian President Vladimir) Putin. But the sex workers in my district objected, so I will no longer use that phrase,” Lantos said. . . .

Fair enough. I like the sound of this. This Lantos, he’s a Democrat? Yes, he’s a hated “Democratic Hawk,” and indeed if there are any such things left he seems to be an excellent specimen. Oh, he co-sponsored the surrender resolution in February — yes, I guess I about get it. Anyway — here’s where he loses me:

Lantos said Chirac “should go down to the Normandy beaches. He should see those endless rows of white marble crosses and stars of David representing young Americans who gave their lives for the freedom of France.”

I’m sure that would do Chirac a world of good. But how on earth does that mean that half a century later, France is obligated to support every foreign policy choice the United States makes?

This is such an intellectually dishonest argument, and at the same time so rich in jingoism, that only a politician could make it.

I think if you roll back the obligations and chip-cashing calculus, the U.S. owes about as much to France, which made victory in the Revolutionary War possible, as France does to us. But both actions are part of history. France has its own rotten, swinish and, yes, whore-like national interests, and will pursue them as we pursue our noble, selfless ones.  So much the better if that country recognizes, as it should, that its interests in the long run are indeed closer to ours than its previous leadership has believed.

But World War II? Very old war. Way over.  Our foreign policy arguments have to be made on the merits — at least with our allies.


5 Responses to “Statute of limitations”

  1. I believe that the principles that made our invading Normandy the right thing to do are just as true today as they were then. France doesn’t ‘owe’ us for us doing what was right then, but they do owe it to everyone, themselves included, to do what is right now. We all have that obligation.

  2. But that would be true regardless of D-Day, right Dave?

  3. Foobarista said

    The problem was that Chirac and most of the French “elite” were on Saddam’s payroll, so there was no way we were going to convince them “on the merits”. The same thing was true for the Germans and the Russians, who were not only in bed with Saddam, but were in bed with each other, as Lantos points out.

    And we need more jingoism from our politicians, especially Democrats. I’m tired of “citizen of the world” horsepucky.

  4. hydralisk said

    But better than being told they owe us for Indochina.

  5. Ron,

    Of course it is true regardless of D-Day. But D-Day is an inspiring example that perhaps can serve to motivate us (whether we are French of not) to try to live up to the example those brave men set.

    I have never been to the beaches at Normandy, but in visiting places like Arlington Cemetary or Gettysburg I have been inspired to try to live up to the ideals displayed by fallen heroes. I would imagine a similar reaction from most people, including Chirac.

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