February 03, 2004


Looks like Germany has finally had enough of being France’s poodle:

Germany is seeking to distance itself from France's tight embrace and realign itself more closely to Britain and America, senior German officials signalled yesterday.

They said the row with Washington over Iraq had been "catastrophic" for Berlin and Chancellor Gerhard Schröder had become "a prisoner" of President Jacques Chirac's campaign to oppose the war to topple Saddam Hussein last year.

"We were more dependent on the French in that situation. But this will not be a permanent situation," said one authoritative source.

Another official explained: "We have to be careful that we are not identified with every word that the French president utters. We must have our own identity and be a little more clever."

Pushed around by the French. Man, the shame.

Posted by Tim Blair at February 3, 2004 03:10 PM

Germany has seen the future and it is not France.

Posted by: perfectsense at February 3, 2004 at 03:15 PM

Why don't they just invade again?

No-one's going to argue, least of all the French.

Posted by: ilibcc at February 3, 2004 at 03:17 PM

Oh no, now Germany's acting unilateral too! Don't they know that their actions will be fraudulent and illegitimate that way?

Posted by: Mike G at February 3, 2004 at 03:21 PM

All kidding aside, I've thought for a while that Germany's recent anti-Americanism was more of a aberration and not a deep cultural flaw. Even if they're just realising they're self-interests in aligning with America, it's nice to see they're capable of recognising where their self-interest really lies.

And it ain't with France.

Posted by: Pixy Misa at February 3, 2004 at 03:37 PM

Herzlich Wiederwillkommen! We can always use the help.

Posted by: R.W. at February 3, 2004 at 04:19 PM

German official: "We must have our own identity and be a little more clever"

i.e. "free the mind to use the brains"

Posted by: Alex Robson at February 3, 2004 at 04:31 PM

I don’t suppose that the appearance of a Chirac crony on the list of Saddam’s bribe-takers has been a factor in this. Or the scandal now engulfing Chirac, the one involving Juppé.

France has a crook at the wheel & has long known it. France has a press beholden to the government & to a major union. France has staked out & entrenched itself in a position past the edge of a precipice & has yet to look steadily downward.

Posted by: ForNow at February 3, 2004 at 04:34 PM

Hey Fornow
America has a crook at the wheel and has long known it. America has a press beholden to the government and to major businesses (particularly oil). America has staked out and entrenched itself in a position past the edge of a precipice and has yet to look steadily downwards (can anyone say 'trillion dollar deficit?').

BTW Fornow - are you advocating regime change in Paris? I bet you are aren't you, you war mongering hick. Don't worry, you aren't alone. Richard 'Prince of Darkness' (what a lovely nickname) Perle has advocated treating France as 'the enemy' too. Why?
Because they tried to stop you looting Iraq's oil because they wanted it themselves? Hey, that's the way the world works buddy.

Posted by: Jack at February 3, 2004 at 04:48 PM

Okay, I think Jack is parody - before everyone goes nuclear batshit writing 1500 word rebuttals. I mean, it must be a joke. Right?

Posted by: Dylan at February 3, 2004 at 05:07 PM

This 'Jack' person, you want i should deal with him?

Posted by: Drago Milovechek at February 3, 2004 at 05:26 PM

Because they tried to stop you looting Iraq's oil because they wanted it themselves?

Ha Ha Ha, Stop it, you're killing me.

Oh, mercy.

Posted by: Quentin George at February 3, 2004 at 08:38 PM

You're wrong, Jack. We did it for the money we could make selling our expensive wine at lunches. It was the French wine trade we feared! But no more! Bwahahahaahaa!

Posted by: Andrea Harris at February 3, 2004 at 08:42 PM

Next, we shall spill their gewurztraminers into the sea! HAIL HYDRA!

Posted by: Bruce at February 3, 2004 at 11:19 PM

Hey jack, where's mah share of da oil money? I wan' mah oil money now! Urrrr!

The American Sheeple

Posted by: Mike G at February 3, 2004 at 11:20 PM

Jack off.

Posted by: Drake at February 4, 2004 at 12:35 AM

Iraq’s oil is now, unlike before, sold on the open market in a transparent bidding process. France’s long-term governmental financial liabilities are around six times higher in proportion to its GDP than the USA’s to the USA’s GDP. France has a increasingly pro-terrorist subculture of Northern-African immigrants whom France has long been unwilling & unable to assimilate socially. France has alienated much of Europe with unilateral heavy-handed self-serving moves costly to others & has lost credibility. France has a government in which a major player or two has taken huge bribes from a sadistic expansionist despot, & France went to great lengths to defeat US policy against said despot—not only recently, but in 1998, calling for the UN inspectors in Iraq to “wrap their work up & go”—the collapse of Chirac’s government’s credibility as an honest broker. Now Chirac, already long regarded as a crook by the French intelligentsia even among his own supporters, wants, in spite of Red Chinese human rights deterioration, to remove the ban, imposed after the Tiananmen Square massacre, against weapons sales to Red China who are known to be willing to pay millions of dollars’ worth in bribes.

France is headed for a world of self-inflicted pain. No US invasion will happen unless & until fascist extremists take France over (not out of the question in a decade or two), in which case the US might intervene in order to extract the nukes.

Posted by: ForNow at February 4, 2004 at 01:55 AM

Why does this remind me of an old t-shirt I once owned?

"Poodle with a mohawk! They'll never call him 'FiFi' again!"

Posted by: mojo at February 4, 2004 at 02:30 AM

Lemme see now. An unnamed German official wants to make nice with the countries his government stabbed in the back after decades of keeping the Soviets out.

Well, now.

This would be the same German government that gave US military intelligence to Saddam; tried to sneak crucial bits to Libya for its nuclear weapons program; has a foreign minister, Fischer, who was up close and personal with the murderous Bader-Meinhof(sp?)Gang and who seems to have been run by the Romanian secret police, and whose former justice minister called Americans Nazis while her own people destroyed Holocaust memorials.

This is the same government of a nation where the two best-sellers say the US government either knew 9/11 was coming and did nothing to stop it, or actually conducted the attacks. This is the same government whose television network recently aired a program that made heroes of Bader-Meinhof while blaming their victims and which only canceled a major art festival in Berlin that depicted Bader-Meinhof as some sort of Robin Hoods only after the families of the victims protested loudly enough.

Yeah, that's them, the same volk who began the boycott of American products by destroying them and assaulting Americans, verbally and otherwise, for daring to liberate the people suffering under yet another Nazi-like regime.

The Germans aren't France's poodle. They're equal partners. If you have any sense or outrage, boycott 'em both.

Posted by: Gary at February 4, 2004 at 02:57 AM

Bush must be dumb, if he invaded Iraq to loot the oil rather than just taking out Mexico and Canada (wouldn't stop infiltrations into the US!) or Venezuela (Marxist) and taken their oil. Logistically it would have been a lot easier and would have made as much sense as the new immigration plan.

Either he's really dumb, or perhaps he had another reason for invading Iraq.

Posted by: ruprecht at February 4, 2004 at 05:14 AM

ForNow writes:

France has staked out & entrenched itself in a position past the edge of a precipice & has yet to look steadily downward.

But when France does look downward: SPLAT!

Posted by: Tongue Boy at February 4, 2004 at 08:03 AM

Pushed around by the French. Man, the shame.

that's like being beat up by your little sister.

Posted by: Geoff Matthews at February 4, 2004 at 08:22 AM

There were no German's named on Saddam's bribery list.

OK it isn't much compared to Gary's laundry list of reasons not to trust Germany. It just seems to me that we have used Germans as our scape goat for fifty years, much more so then Japanese, Chinese or Russians.

Lets achnowlege the positive, the good.
No Germans were bribed by Saddam because...?

Just sspitt ballinng here ... No Germans wweere bribed because, Germans don't have any pull at the United Nations? Could be it. What do u think?

Posted by: Papertiger at February 4, 2004 at 10:00 AM

What was it Patton said about preferring to have a German division in front of him rather than a French division behind him . . .

Good point about guys like Fischer - he was a bad guy in the Cold War and he still is now. Red, green, no fucking difference.

Reality is that Schroeder and Fischer won't be in government forever - the CDU will get back in sooner or later.

Posted by: steve at February 4, 2004 at 11:00 AM

Yeah, I think it would suck to be France's Mini-me.

Posted by: Jerry at February 4, 2004 at 12:31 PM

Germany's political system is chaotic and has numberous parties allowing every little radical fringe group to gain representation. Germans are also a bit naive (sorry for the dig) and are followers. They are also overly cautious, what a paradox. But I think they'll grow-up before they totally scew themselves. The french seem to be proving otherwise.

Posted by: aaron at February 4, 2004 at 12:34 PM

Yep, France is Daffy Duck without the modesty.

One reads many reasons for the advanced state of dementia & decay in the French press in “Silence of the Lambs” by Denis Boyles, EuroPress Review, in National Review Online Jan. 9, 2004 at http://www.nationalreview.com/europress/europress200401090953.asp

I’ll quote just two passages:

Regarding French journalists’ personal beholdenness to the French gov’t:

Stein's reporters found that journalists routinely were helped by the government to find cheap apartments, fix traffic tickets, get free transportation, gain entrance for their kids into prestigious schools. That relationship hasn't changed. Hertzberg was at the Métro in those days and remembers the story well. "Sometimes we had reporters from the French newspapers bring us stories they were afraid to show their editors," he said.

By comparison, it’s ridiculou to say that NY Times reporters, reporters at ABCCBSNBCCNN, etc., are getting all kind of perks from the US government. Many of them are persistently anti-Bush & frame stories io a liberal-to-leftist perspective.

Regarding the union stranglehold on French newspapers, actually it keeps them from attaining greater financial independence rather than directly constraining their politics:

French newspapers, Blunden says, are the captives of one of the strongest unions in France, the Communist CGT, which, like an old-fashioned Italian fascist union, simply strongarms the papers for cash — a deal going back to the days following the liberation. "As a result, the press in this country has never had the money, never had the finances to become truly independent, because eating away at the bottom line was the need to write the unions this huge check." In addition, France is one of the few nations in the world where newsstand distribution is controlled by a monopoly, the NMPP. In other words, if French papers made money, Rupert Murdoch would own a few.

Posted by: ForNow at February 4, 2004 at 12:41 PM


I think Germany's attitude is consistent. First they bravely made themselves independent from the Americans, who had earned their support, and now they contemplate bravely freeing themselves from the French, who were counting on their support.

I don't think the idea of genuine support resonates very well in German culture. Historically, when they wanted consent, they beat it out of other countries. Now, when they support other countries, they feel like they're being pushed around or tricked, so they resent it.

I don't think the Americans should assume that the Germans are coming to their senses and it's time to go back to counting on them. That time may never come.

Rather, this is the time to be amused at the situation that the French have put themselves in. Look behind you, Mister Chirac, and you will see people incapable of understanding that it is possible to be independent and clever, and loyal too.


Oh, and Drago Milovechek? Deal with him? Not yet. ;)

Posted by: David Blue at February 5, 2004 at 12:20 AM