Pounding the French
: The Globe has swung back to its more clear-eyed views on Iraq, NATO and France. God, they beat the crap out of France
in this editorial, taking obligatory swats at Bush, of course, but clearly relishing the time-honored fun of pounding away against French arrogance. The Globe:
“One irony in French President Jacques Chirac's tirade Monday against East European countries supporting the US and British position on Iraq is that Chirac indulged in the same arrogance and bullying that Paris inveterately attributes to the US ‘hyperpower.’ Indeed, Chirac added an offensive tone that no American head of state could be expected to match, a condescension that only a conservative mandarin of the French governing class might express toward the new democratic countries of Eastern Europe that are eager to join the European Union.”
: See post directly below. Also, Hub Blog has finished reading Harvard prof Ernest May’s “Strange Victory: Hitler’s Conquest of France.” (Did I mention earlier that I finished it? Anyway ...) Hope to have my mini-review within the next few days.
-- Perfecto. Simply a great column by a frustrated Tom Friedman
. As a friend said to me the other day, "It's tough being a moderate on Iraq these days. Everyone's position on Iraq is hardening into pro-Bush or anti-Bush, as if you can't praise him for some things and criticize him for others." ... Or like saying we're doing the right thing but not necessarily in the right way. Or like saying you have to be sensitve to world opinion but not be necessarily swayed by it. But I'll stop there. I'm going to strive to take Alistair Cooke's anti-rant approach in the future on Iraq.
A reader responds -- 3:45 p.m.
: Reader Matt has this to say about the Friedman column:
“Unfortunately, Friedman ruins what was shaping up to be a pretty good column by trying to make the case that Bush should've taken Kyoto more seriously. If the price of support against Iraq is paying lip service to the Kyoto protocol and the dubious UN-funded junk-science behind it, we should be prepared to go it alone in Iraq or not go at all.
“I'm mildly hawkish on Iraq, but there are only so many polite fictions I'm willing to entertain (and isn't that what "multilateralism" really is?) to placate the socialists in Brussels, Paris, and Berlin. Clinton signing that treaty knowing full well he wasn't going to be the one expending political capital fighting for its ratification meant that someone else was going to have to pay the price for pointing out the unpleasant truth -- it's a treaty meant to cripple the economy of the United States while only reducing CO2 emissions by a few percent. Utterly disgusting, and utterly Clintonian.”
Hub Blog’s response
: When you agree with a column on the most critical points and its overall thrust, I think that's important. Maybe I shouldn't have said the Friedman article was 'Perfecto.' But it was ‘Near Perfecto’ in expressing a genuine, widespread complaint/concern/frustration/whatever about the administration. (I kind of glanced over the Kyoto reference, frankly, in the Friedman piece. I’m no fan of Kyoto -- not at all. However, I did read somewhere, not too long ago, that the Bush administration, today, deeply regrets how they handled rejection of Kyoto. Again, it’s always screwing up the ‘means’ when it comes to these guys.) Friedman made an awful lot of sense, and, in my opinion, you don’t throw the baby out with the bath water when you object to a few of the non-critical underpinnings of his argument.
Nothing to do with Matt’s email: Read Andrew Sullivan’s post
on the same column. Look at what he
seizes on in Friedman’s column. The utterly astonishing thing to me is how so many Bush backers adamantly reject any criticism of the president on Iraq, even from people like me who are naturally inclined to support him. This is a critical, critical flaw in the administration -- and with its most ardent supporters. One would think they would welcome good old-fashioned, as-corny-as-it-sounds constructive
criticism. Nope. Bush, good; Bush criticism, bad. They won’t even concede an ounce of criticism on the issue of whether he’s diplomatically handled the Iraq crisis well/consistently over the past year. ... Wait. Stop. Hub Blog, what did you say to yourself this morning? No ranting on Iraq. Remember: Alistair Cooke, Alistair Cooke, Alistair Cooke. No Ron Borges-like obsessions
. There, there, that’s a good Hub Blog.
Reader Matt writes in again (and it's funny):
"Well, I didn't mean to beat you up over your praise of the column. My email might have been better directed at Friedman himself. For the most part, Friedman gets it with respect to Iraq. And I have no problem with many of his criticisms regarding GWB's handling of this particular crisis. His exercise in contrasting Bush II with Bush I was pretty good. The frustrating thing is that he can't keep his inner Lefty-bot hidden for too long. I mean, jeez, Kyoto???!!!!"