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« The Vichy Chix | Main | What Have They Done For Us Lately? »

A New Cold War

For decades, our nation, and much of the western world, was at war with an ideological enemy--a socialist entity. An ally in the second world war, like us, it had nuclear weapons and the means to deliver them, with no defense against them, a factor that created a standoff in terms of engaging in direct warfare. Instead, war was waged by proxie.

Smaller nations were infiltrated and subordinated to the cause, and wars of "liberation" were fought by both sides (though such a word was egregiously 1984ish when employed by those defending the totalitarian Soviets). We often, regrettably, supported dictators because they were deemed to be a lesser evil than the even-more-dictatorial governments being imposed by force by our planetary rivals. Often, when we attempted to utilize the United Nations in its intended role as both peacemaker and arbiter of justice, vetoes were employed by our adversary to prevent it. The only exception to this was the Korean conflict, only because the Soviet representative was absent in a fit of imperial pique.

For both sides, the ultimate goal was domination of the world, and the ideology that they represented, though our ideology was one of human freedom and enlightenment.

Ultimately, we won that war, over a decade ago, without having to engage in direct battle with the adversary. It was won through sustained military pressure on our part, and by allowing the USSR to be bled white, both in its determination to maintain and expand its brutal and expensive empire, but also by it maintaining dysfunctional Marxist dogma and applying it to its own economy, which finally led it to collapse in the late 1980s.

But throughout that cold war, there was another power, in the background, a power that continued to steep in dreams of a restoration of its former grandeur, centuries ago. It was ostensibly a US ally against the Soviets and it was similarly an ally in the second world war. As a result of the latter, it was given power far beyond any rational assessment of its assets, but not sufficiently so to be a major player in a battlefield of two titans. It lay back, biding its time, pretending to be our ally occasionally, when necessary, and occasionally throwing wrenches into our works, when it thought it advantageous, and cost free.

Now, in the power vacuum left by the end of the USSR, that nation has arisen as a new adversary. Once again, we are in a cold war with a former ally, a nuclear-armed ideological rival, socialist in nature, that uses other nations as pawns in its attempt to challenge us for global supremacy. Of course, this rival is in some ways less dangerous than the Soviets, in that it doesn't have the resources or the vast weaponry that they did, and while basically socialist, it's not a totalitarian state. But in other ways, it is more so, because it is more subtle and clever, and has at its disposal finely-honed tools of diplomacy--an art that many believe to have been invented there.

And like the Soviets, this nation maintains a number of client states, primarily in Africa, brutal to their own people, and impoverishing them through failed socialist kleptocratic schemes, inspired by their masters. The ill-gotten gains, by the millions of francs (now Euros), of this thievery are spent on expensive trinkets and chateaus by their corrupt and thuggish clients in the imperial capital, thus draining Africa of much of its wealth and transferring it to the seat of the empire.

And now, Fred Barnes, on Tony Snow's panel on Fox News Friday afternoon, reports that they are aggressively lobbying the Turks to not only deny us the use of their territory to open up a northern Iraq front, but to deny us their airspace as well.

If this is true, they're not only no longer allies--they've crossed the line to becoming active enemies. It's reminiscent of the time that they forced us to fly around them when we bombed Libya in 1986, except much worse. That time, it was mostly an inconvenience, with longer flight times for the crew and increased expenses.

Here, the stakes are much higher. This isn't just a bombing raid--it's a full-fledged war, with American boots on the ground.

The loss of the northern front will almost certainly slow down our progress against the Iraqi regime, and the loss of overflight rights would further constrain our potential plans. Either of these will almost certainly result in the loss of the lives of both American servicepeople, and innocent Iraqis, who might otherwise have lived.

France has gone beyond diplomatic obstructionism on the East River, which has been bad enough. Now they are taking deliberate action that has the effect of colluding with Saddam Hussein, America's enemy.

I think it should be clear to all that the Atlantic Alliance that has been dominant for the many decades since the end of the second world war is dead. The fault lines have shifted, and we now face cultural enemies on two fronts, both of them inimical to our own values of freedom--both religious and economic. During the first Cold War, we were defending the values of the Enlightenment, and the ability of the governed to have influence over their government, and for the negative rights of speech, thought, and economic freedom. While our wartime surrogates didn't always support such values, they were considered vital to the overall effort, just as individual battles may be compromises, yet ultimately lead to victory in the war.

This new Cold War is the same in that regard, and those values remain under threat, both by Islamists and Arab nationalists who revile them, and by European bureaucrats determined to put into place a transnational structure that is increasingly unaccountable to its people. And both groups seem to be coordinating and cooperating more and more, from Chris Patten's determined and studied indifference to Palestinian corruption, to French interference with our national defense.

In fact, the modern muslim world, with the complicity of the transnationalists and neo-Gaulists in Paris, has started to undo the work of Charles Martel, who stemmed the tide of Muslim expansion into Europe twelve centuries ago--an act over which Osama bin Laden, if he lives, continues to seethe. It could be said that France has actually ceded some of its sovereignty and been colonized by Islam--it is said that there are neighborhoods in Paris where the gendarmerie fear to go. This all, of course, is in addition to and beyond the long-time personal connection between Jacques Chirac and Saddam Hussein, going back decades, and continued sales of banned items to Iraq by France.

While it's important to shift our perspective on the relationship between what Secretary Rumsfeld called "old Europe" and ourselves, it is of course equally important to not overstate the case. Obviously, the French are not the former USSR. They are a true Republic (five in the time that we've had one, and perhaps going on six after the unintended side effects of Chirac's misguided policies become clear to the French populace), and they are certainly not a totalitarian state. The Soviet Union truly was, in Reagan's words, an evil empire. France is merely an empire of cynicism and mendacity. But in order to deal with them appropriately, it's important to focus on the similarities rather than the differences, and for that we can draw some lessons from the Cold War.

While containment won't work with a capricious dictator like Saddam Hussein, it did work with the former USSR, and it can work with France as well. It's time to recognize that it is not to our advantage to any longer provide most favorable trade terms with them, particularly in military matters, and it is also time to finally strip them of the remainder of their bloody empire.

The American people have already started to respond spontaneously, but in the interest of NATO cooperation, we continue to purchase many items from France that are, or could be, easily and cost-effectively manufactured here. This must end. NATO itself, in its present form, has outlived its purpose, and must be reformed or replaced by an alliance among ideologically-compatible nations. For now, this means the Anglosphere and much of eastern Europe, but not France, Germany or Belgium. Whether Turkey comes in will depend on their behavior over the next days and weeks, particularly with respect to the Kurds. Headquarters should be moved from Brussels, and troops from Germany, to the new center of gravity, Poland.

Since the UN is clearly now nothing but a squabbling, childish debating club, the US should remain within it to keep an eye on it, but it should be evicted from New York, where the real estate could be used to much better purpose. It might be able to move into the newly-available former NATO HQ in Brussels. They have plans for a nice new building there--perhaps France and Germany can put up the money for it.

US contributions, of course, will drop to a much lower level--the budget times the reciprocal of the number of "united nations" would be appropriate.

In the meantime, a new, effective organization, consisting of governments accountable to their people, should be planned and formed. France will be welcome to such an organization, but not on its equivalent of a security council.

And after we've deposed Mssr. Chirac's favorite dictator, we should start the liberation of Africa, actively aiding rebels against his precious pets, starting with Robert Mugabe. Just as we did with the Soviets, we will make France's brutal little empire too costly to sustain.

France's behavior over the past few months has made clear their agenda, and their interests, and it's clear that we do not and cannot share them. Looking at that nation through this new prism shines their behavior over the past several decades in a new light as well. It is time that our own policies, finally, start to reflect it.

[Update at 1 PM PST]

Francis Fukuyama also says that NATO and the UN are on their last legs.

And "Dalite" over at Free Republic comments on a related aspect about the currency war:

The Cold War alliance of the EU with France at the head has already launched an attack against the US dollar. Starting in October 2000, Iraq has only accepted Euros in payment for oil. Jordan was next on the bandwagon to only accept Euros.

Last year the topic of OPEC only accepting Euros was brought up. Overseas banks are looking for the right time to increase their holdings in Euros. This could signal the shedding of some of their US debt that they hold in reserve for trading reserves.

The EU seems to sense the frail condition of the post 9/11 US money system, and are poised to "capitalize" on it's weakeness.

This is the French way of doing battle, attempting to engage something that is weakened. They just don't have the internal courage at taking on anything at face value, and in the open.

This begins to shed some additional light on the posturing of France and other EU beneficiaries against any US intervention in Iraq. They have business ventures there, and are using Iraq as a stepping stone to EU prominence.

Today's summit in the Azores should take some of the wind from their sails, and will hopefully also preempt their attempted coup against the US dollar in their battle for supremecy in the world's currency.

I personally hope that the alliances between France and Iraq for the past two decades will be factually linked and put out in the public eye for all the world to see. France needs to concentrate their efforts on something they are more adept at doing; not doing anything.

Posted by Rand Simberg at March 16, 2003 10:20 AM
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The New Cold War?
Excerpt: Rabd has some thoughts re: how to deal with France. In return, I offer some key tests.
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That's too complicated. The best way to crush France is via economics. Since France can't compete with the U.S. Hammer French products. America should use its hyperpower and browbeat any country with the same sanction that trades with France. Once the country's economy tanks from isolation and the society explodes in consequence, there'll be no more France to challenge America.
Finally, Leeden's hypothesis is ludicrious.

Posted by xavier at March 16, 2003 05:39 PM

As one of about 40,000 laid off Boeing employees, I would like nothing more than to see airbus subsidies and it various other unfair trade practices dealt with.
The problem is, American corperations like Boeing see them selves not as American entities, but global ones, and thus no longer view America, it's interests, and it people with any affection or patriotism.
We must deal harshly with the french. We must also deal with their American coporate collaberators.

Posted by Steve Ramsey at March 16, 2003 06:56 PM

NATO ceased making sense a few years after the fall of the USSR. What does NATO do for anyone these days?

Posted by Karl Hallowell at March 16, 2003 08:48 PM

The price for Turkey intransigence is EU membership? Maybe Cypress as a bonus?

Posted by Sandy P. at March 16, 2003 11:13 PM

I'd agree with the point that the French have at times acted more like adversaries than allies. But not all the time. The fact they came on board in '91 was pretty important to rallying others.

Also, you shouldn't cut off your nose. Does America *really* have an interest in allowing the formation of a France-Germany-Russia axis? It would seem to be much of the gains of the Cold War without a shot.

Posted by Andrew Boucher at March 17, 2003 05:14 AM

As part of the NATO alliance we have some rather large bases in Germany. Why not just move them to one of the newer EU countries (say in the Balkans) we could start out on one of the old USSR bases. They?ve supported us in this conflict and I?m sure they would appreciate the economic benefits of having a large U.S. presence in there country. Conversely Germany would lose that economic benefit at a time when there unemployment is rising.

Posted by Shawn at March 17, 2003 05:50 AM

Andrew, a France-Germany-Russia axis already exists. The question is not whether we will permit it (that's a fait accompli), but what we will do about it. Pretending not to notice isn't the best response.

France's leaders have defied and insulted the U.S., and done everything in their power to sabotage our efforts. We should make an example of France so that the world will know that crossing the U.S. carries a high price.

Posted by Pat Berry at March 17, 2003 12:31 PM

One of the blogs had a good comment, the US should move into French West Africa where the French still like to play colonial masters. Open up free trade throughout Africa (maybe not all) and the US will gain influence at the expense of Europe.

If some of these nations actually get up on their economic feet not only will the US be getting cheaper goods, our taxpayers won't have to pony up for the foreign aid money.

Posted by ruprecht at March 17, 2003 02:43 PM

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