Monday, March 14, 2005

The French Definition of 'Help'

From an editorial in the LA Times:

President Jacques Chirac said to NATO leaders in late February that "France wants to contribute to stability" in Iraq. The contribution? Some $660,000 to a NATO fund for military and police training in Iraq and one French mid-level
officer who's being assigned to the training mission at NATO headquarters in Brussels. Not 1,000 officers. Not 100. Just one.

France's attempt to carve out a distinct foreign policy has been distinguished by little more than rank opportunism. During the Cold War it tried to play the U.S. off against the Soviet Union, and in 1989, French President François Mitterrand even thought he could stop the steamroller of German reunification by traveling to East Germany and exhorting it to remain an independent state.

Smilarly we have this from regarding the German committment:

Germany's decision last November to offer 3,900 soldiers for the U.S.-led war on terrorism was preceded by a wrenching national debate over the most far-reaching deployment since World War II.

More than 700 German soldiers are part of the international security force deployed in and around the Afghan capital.
Bear in mind that this grand force is a "robust" version of last years "committment" which stood at 3100, with only 305 of them actually deployed in doing anything. Quite a sacrifice for a combined population of 140 million people, don't you think?

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