Probably the most important lesson my father told me was to “Listen to people’s words, but more importantly, listen to their actions.” Now more than ever, Americans need to look closely at our “Allies’” actions and words.
According to Jacques Chirac, in a September 2002 article in The New York Times, “French and Americans have always stood together and have never failed to be there for one another.” Maybe it’s time for Chirac to examine his own words, or at least we should. One doesn’t need to try hard to find examples of anti-Americanism in France and French policy. According to a January 2003 New York Post article, “A book claiming that Osama bin Laden attacked the World Trade Center as part of a U.S. government conspiracy shot to the top of the bestseller lists in France.”
Is Chirac aware that in 1986, when the U.S. retaliated against Libya for sponsoring terrorism against American interests, France did not allow U.S. fighter planes to use its airspace? This forced the U.S. aircraft to fly a much longer route, which lead to the loss of an American aircraft and consequently the only American fatalities during that operation. I know that Chirac is aware that his nation is currently trying its best to postpone American military operations in the Persian Gulf. Is he aware that, according to Jane’s Information Group, “military actions in the summer, (as opposed to a winter operation) would greatly increase risks to the U.S. and British military personnel.” Do the French remember that billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars helped France’s economic recovery after World War II?
As recently as several months ago, after much pressure by the United States and Israel, France finally put Hizbullah (the Party of God) on its list of terrorist groups. Before this happened, the organization had legal permission to raise funds on French soil, something it took full advantage of for many years. Is Chirac aware that in 1983 Hizbullah was responsible for the bombing of U.S. barracks in Lebanon, leading to the death of more than 200 Marines? It seems that Chirac and the French have forgotten that thousands of American soldiers died on French beaches in order to, or at least in part to, liberate the French from their Nazi occupiers.
The Washington Post stated in a November 2002 article that the French were entirely responsible for going out of their way to provide Iraq with all the nuclear know-how it needed to produce the Osirak nuclear facility. Luckily, in a 1981 preemptive attack, Israel destroyed the nuclear reactor. If the French had their way, Saddam would have nuclear toys to threaten, or possibly use, against whomever he wanted.
At this point, I must speculate on why the French have an anti-American leaning and why they oppose its actions in the Middle East. First, the French maintain strong economic ties to the Muslim world. For instance, the Middle East provides most of their petroleum needs. The French profit from supplying billions of dollars of military equipment to much of the Arab world. The French culture has a long history of arrogance toward other cultures and nations. Lastly, according to The Brookings Institution, France has the largest Muslim population–4.1 million–in Europe. Thus France’s current position in world affairs must be carefully examined.