Saturday, April 14, 2007

The French are a bit down:

The national mood now, as France enters the final week before Sunday's presidential election, is far less exultant. To Roland Perrossier, whose great-great grandfather fought for Napoleon, the arch has become a symbol of decline.

"It's a feeling of lost glory," said Perrossier, sheltering under the arch from a spring squall. "The French have lost the aura they once had, and France — barring a few small exceptions — no longer occupies the place it used to internationally."

Philippe Souleau, a history teacher shepherding a party of schoolchildren, was gloomier still: "France no longer has military strength worth speaking of. It is no longer economically competitive, and all this means is that it has become a second-tier nation internationally and diplomatically. Its voice is no longer heard by all."

I suppose it doesn't help that the French once considered Africa their personal fiefdom and now China is extracting resources with Chinese troops on the continent to defend their interests and America has formed AFRICOM to look to our interests on the continent.

I hope that this recognition of reality will lead to the French ceasing their obstruction of our policies just for the sake of promoting the idea that France is a leading power in competition from us. We should be allies yet the French persist in being so ... French. This has led to shameful French deals with despots like Saddam in an effort to punch in our weight class.

I have to disagree,however, with the idea that France has no military power to speak of. The French have the best carrier--though trouble-plagued--outside of the US Navy, they have nuclear weapons, they can deploy globally, they have fine aircraft and troops, and while they are hardly a leading power they are a military force to be reckoned with.

May this mood in France lead to an end to pining for the days when French armies marched on Moscow to be replaced by a sense of their Western heritage and their role in defending the West.

We have problems enough today without one of the major Western powers pouting about lost glory days and passively watching the Long War being waged against fascist Islamism in the Middle East, North Africa, and Parisian suburbs.