Friday, July 02, 2004

"Europe Could Finally Exist if It Agreed to Have Enemies"

Europe could finally come into existence if it agreed to have enemies. It would cease to be boring and colorless if it were to oppose someone.
Thus spake Dominique. Thus spake Le Monde's Dominique Dhombres. Thus spake the Dominique Dhombres column printed in France's newspaper of reference.

And you know who Dominique has in mind when he speaks of enemies, dont'cha? …Don'tcha?

No, it ain't the ayatollahs' Iran. No, it ain't the China of Tibet and Tien An Men square notoriety. Nope. It ain't the Russia that commits real torture (the bone-cracking, flesh-ripping kind) in Chechnya. Non. It ain't Ivory Coast where Laurent Gbagbo has killed untold hundreds of people. No, no. It ain't Zimbabwe where "terror teens" attack political opponents of Robert Mugabe with sticks fit with barbed wire. Non plus. It ain't the UN where a democracy was voted off the human rights commission, two countries with a history of torture (the bone-cracking, flesh-ripping kind) were voted to head same, and a graft scandal of epic proportions is unfolding. Naaahhh… And it sure as hell wasn't Saddam Hussein's Iraq.

Nope, you know who it is…

It's good ol' Uncle Sam, the unholy terror from across the Atlantic.

Listen to how DD started the above rant, by waxing eloquently about a famous Frenchman of the 1960s:

Régis Debray … started out on his career by fighting American imperialism by the side of Che Guevara, and today he invites the Europeans, without many illusions it must be admitted, to exist while daring to oppose what he presents as the modern equivalent of the Roman Empire.
Wow, what a heroic character, that Debray. Et quelle lucidité! He really knows who the true enemy of mankind is. And we all know how much humanity suffered under the Roman Empire!

Yup, it's America, folks, whom courageous people need to dare oppose, whom they need to oppose along with anyone — any person, any country, any entity — who has the gall to ally him-, her-, or itself with Washington.

Just read what Dhombres has to say about the Eastern newcomers to the EU:

A free-trade zone under America's military and diplomatic protection is quite enough for them.
Translated freely: the Poles, the Czecks, the Slovaks, the Hungarians, the Balts, and all their neighbors are timid souls without dreams and/or blind and greedy retards without vision, if not outright cowardly traitors.

No, the entity the courageous Europeans need to oppose is Uncle Sam. (Who was it who dared to hint that Europeans are lacking in courage?!)

The French need an enemy. Europe needs an enemy. The world needs an enemy. (And preferably one with a nature that is easy-going.)

The French have been saying for years that they need to oppose the true enemy (and the rest of the EU and the rest of the world ought to go along with them), and Americans, with their easy-going good nature (which is all to their credit), believe that if they are indulgent enough, and if they explain themselves enough, and if they are patient and understanding enough, and if they are self-critical enough, and if they are willing enough to make changes (at the helm, in their policies, etc…), relations will improve.

Folks! That's a fairy tale. Don't believe it. It's a fairy tale. Dominique and people like him may believe it to be true (they probably do), but you shouldn't; it's all hogwash. It's all pferdemerde.

And if you aren't disgusted enough with Dominique's words regarding France's (and Europe's) need for an enemy, can you figure out what is most ironic in all this?

The greatest irony concerns the rational, reasonable, lucid, tolerant, humanistic, fraternal, and peace-loving Frenchmen and Europeans and their desire to oppose America because its inhabitants (or their leaders) are supposedly blind, greedy, treacherous, simplistic, racist, and inhuman warmongers.

Do you remember what was coyly suggested, both in the United States itself and abroad, as the Cold War came to an end in the late 1980s and early 1990s? Who would serve as America's enemy now, now that the communists had been defeated? The sly question laden with irony implied both that the communist camp had not really been a threat, but simply a different culture (if you believe that, ask yourselves why the Poles, the Balts, and all their neighbors are such eager allies of Washington) whom those crass and intolerant Americans couldn't or wouldn't bring themselves understand, and that those irrational warmongers needed an enemy at any cost.

The older I get, and the more I look at the world, the more I notice several things: one of them is that the inhabitants of America's capitalist society are probably some of the most generous souls — generous souls, not only generous people — in the world. Another is that all the sins, real and supposed, that are generally levelled against them either are usually (if not always) worse in other countries or hide sins that are worse, and this is true not least in those countries where the criticizing is the loudest. And one of these sins is the idea that Americans supposedly need an enemy at any cost.

Because therein lies the irony. The people needing an enemy at any cost are not primarily, were not primarily, the Americans. They are the French, they were the French. In many ways, they seem to be the Europeans! Since this is obviously unfair to the Eastern Europeans, I feel pretty safe in saying that the people needing an enemy at any cost certainly seem to be the people who have been most cosseted in the past 60 years and least felt the danger of a real enemy. For all France's crowing about its logic, its lucidité, and its capacity for reasoning, its protected stance might appear to be something that has destroyed a rational sense of judgment.

Dominique doesn't realize it, but in a sense he has showed France's true colors, and exposed its agenda, and revealed its sorry sense of judgment, as well as any critic of France and its people and society ever did.

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