Thursday, January 23, 2003


I suppose it must be inconvenient for the fans of even more months or years of inspections to hear the Iraqis moan about the inspections. Notwithstanding their full acceptance and promise of more cooperation made recently (but how can they improve on full cooperation already granted you may ask) the Iraqis raise objections. They say we harass farmers and violate mosques. They even bemoan that the Iraqi scientists refuse to talk to UN inspectors despite the Iraqi government's encouragement to do so. To believe that lie is to be French, I suppose. But when a nation's government such as France accepts eleven years of inspections that have failed to find anything significant except when defectors filled them in, new failures and Iraqi hindrance are really minor matters.

Yet even as the French and Germans in particular ignore whatever Iraq says or does, they get positively outraged over Rumsfeld's dismissal of their opposition to war, who said they represent "old Europe." The article quoted him, "You're thinking of Europe as Germany and France. I don't," he said. "I think that's old Europe. If you look at the entire NATO Europe today, the center of gravity is shifting to the east and there are a lot of new members." So what exactly did he say wrong? He noted quite properly that Europe does not revolve around Paris and its satellite Berlin. The French and Germans may be annoyed that Rumsfeld said that, but was it arrogance? Jeez, French and German outrage represents the arrogance here. They think they alone can guide Europe's foreign policy. It may be inconvenient for them to be reminded of this but it is no less true. Yes, the French are upset, but what is one to make of this:

And in his anger over our Defense Secretary's remark, Finance Minister Francis Mer said he was "profoundly vexed" by the remarks. "I wanted to remind everyone that this 'old Europe' has resilience, and is capable of bouncing back," Mer told LCI television. "And it will show it, in time."

So I guess, despite his advanced state of vexocity, Mer must think old Europe has problems since he thinks Europe has the capability of bouncing back. One does not "bounce back" from being a dynamic major power that matters in the world. His comment seems more insulting by far than Rumsfeld's. Yikes, remind somebody who doesn't matter that they do not matter and they get all hissy or something. Oh, they get vexed.