Viva la France?
I have a french-manufactured double barreled shotgun I use for bird hunting. It's a beautiful shotgun, but I take some ribbing for it when people learn it is French-made. I usually offer my pat answer, "Yeah, made in France, never fired, and dropped only once."
Because if you can't bash the French, who can you bash?
Based on recent events, I may need to rethink that view.
This WSJ opinion piece offers some insight into French President Nicolas Sarkozy's rebuke of Obama's performance at the UN last week:
President Obama wants a unified front against Iran, and to that end he stood together with Nicolas Sarkozy and Gordon Brown in Pittsburgh on Friday morning to reveal the news about Tehran's secret facility to build bomb-grade fuel. But now we hear that the French and British leaders were quietly seething on stage, annoyed by America's handling of the announcement.
Both countries wanted to confront Iran a day earlier at the United Nations. Mr. Obama was, after all, chairing a Security Council session devoted to nonproliferation. The latest evidence of Iran's illegal moves toward acquiring a nuclear weapon was in hand. With the world's leaders gathered in New York, the timing and venue would be a dramatic way to rally international opinion.
President Sarkozy in particular pushed hard. He had been "frustrated" for months about Mr. Obama's reluctance to confront Iran, a senior French government official told us, and saw an opportunity to change momentum. But the Administration told the French that it didn't want to "spoil the image of success" for Mr. Obama's debut at the U.N. and his homily calling for a world without nuclear weapons, according to the Paris daily Le Monde. So the Iran bombshell was pushed back a day to Pittsburgh, where the G-20 were meeting to discuss economic policy.
So let me get this straight. President Obama declared his dream of a world without nuclear weapons at the UN (I guess he is a fan of Superman IV?). He even chaired (a first for a sitting U.S. President) a meeting of the UN Security Council and presided over the passage of a nuclear non-proliferation resolution. I get why he thought that revelations of Iran's SECOND nuclear enrichment facility would spoil the mood. It would.
In fact, it did. It made a mockery of the resolution and the UN Security Council - a tall order to be sure. Yet, the administration's only concern was its "image of success."
President Sarkozy was right to admonish President Obama saying:
I support America's "extended hand." But what have these proposals for dialogue produced for the international community? Nothing but more enriched uranium and more centrifuges. And last but not least, it has resulted in a statement by Iranian leaders calling for wiping off the map a Member of the United Nations [FYI, Mr. President, that is Israel he is talking about]. What are we to do? What conclusions are we to draw? At a certain moment hard facts will force us to make decisions.
At this present time, in this present crisis, Sarkozy is almost channeling Winston Churchill.
But, we must not "spoil the image of success." I am afraid that little phrase explains much about the Obama administration's goals. If our allies understand this, no doubt our enemies perceive the point as well.