Skip to comments.Chirac basks in warm glow of adulation (gag)
Posted on 03/11/2003 6:34:56 PM PST by Pokey78
President takes plaudits for veto promise
Jacques Chirac basked yesterday in an unprecedented show of adulation as newspapers, commentators and politicians of all hues showered the French president with praise for his promise to veto a UN resolution giving the green light for an attack on Iraq.
The possible longer-term economic and political consequences for France of the president's move, as well as the impact on world order as expressed in the United Nations, were largely ignored as the nation rallied proudly round a leader whom the Catholic newspaper La Croix compared to Nelson Mandela.
The contrast between Mr Chirac's domestic popularity and the travails of the British prime minister yesterday could not be more extreme.
But analysts warned of severe diplomatic turbulence ahead as the United States, in particular, works out how to respond to what many here see as France's most deliberate challenge yet to US international ambitions.
"Chirac: No" screeched the bright red front page of the left-leaning Libération, followed by the verdict: "A decision that will secure his place in history ... In step with public opinion, Chirac is the incarnation of opposition to American unilateralism."
The populist Le Parisien went with "Chirac to Bush - It's No", and described the president as appearing "astonishingly calm under the circumstances", while the rightist Le Figaro unblushingly called him "utterly sure of himself; a white knight for peace, herald of the world's oppressed, ardent defender of a multipolar world".
Even Le Monde, among the most hostile of Mr Chirac's critics, denounced American "neo-imperialism" and said Mr Chirac's "noble and pertinent" aim was to "affirm a conception of world order in which the use of force is the last recourse and multilateralism is the rule".
The leaders of every major party, from the Communists to the far-right National Front, were equally effusive, reflecting opinion polls that consistently show more than 80 per cent of the French oppose war.
The Communist leader, Marie-Georges Buffet, praised a "just and dignified decision". The opposition Socialist party's François Hollande hailed the president's pronouncement as "principled and proper", Mr Chirac's own UMP party lauded his "authority, clarity and strength". Even his arch-enemy, Jean-Marie Le Pen, said that he "approved such firm resolution to act against war".
But amid the trumpet-blowing, few questioned whether the French president had any coherent vision of exactly where France's "battle against US hegemony" may lead. Similarly, few speculated on the bilateral consequences for France.
During a television interview on Monday, Mr Chirac played down the significance of a French security council veto, pointing out that the US had employed the tactic 76 times since the UN's foundation in 1946, Britain 32 times and France 18 times - the last in 1989 over Panama.
He also insisted France was not anti-American. "To suggest so would be absurd," he said.
But France has not vetoed a US initiative since the Suez crisis in 1956.
The political commentator, Alain Duhamel, said a French veto would be "a form of divorce" between America and France.
Guillaume Parmentier, of the French Centre on the United States, said the political cost could be high. Washington would very probably "freeze France out on any number of political and diplomatic questions".
French companies, which between them exported more than $28bn (£17.5bn) of goods and services to the US last year, fear a backlash.
But companies, such as those in the defence and aerospace industries, that deal directly with the US administration will be hit, and France's tourism industry may suffer. Some analysts also say that France has little idea of the impact on the UN of the current crisis.
"What's at stake for them here, the bottom line of all this, is the way the international community manages future problems - France's whole vision of the way the world should be run," one diplomat said. "But what is that vision?"
One of the first words the French president uttered during his TV interview was "multipolar". The idea of four or five more or less balanced power blocs in the world had been "very much part of Chirac's thinking since the end of the cold war", said Mr Parmentier.
The problem, said another commentator, Philippe Moreau Defarges of the French Institute for International Relations, is that no one - least of all Mr Chirac - seems to have worked out clearly how this new "multipolar" world might function.
The UN will probably survive the crisis, but only after radical reform, Mr Defarges said. What it will look like afterwards is anyone's guess, "but if Mr Chirac has a coherent strategic vision on that question, he certainly hasn't exposed it".
So the New World Order finally comes out and says it. Chirac has described the driving spirit behind the EU as well as NAFTA, in my opinion.
The Bible prophecy folk will love this admission.
Just wait til those little Paris eateries and hotels are empty this summer.
And American Airlines cancels its Airbus orders.
And Americans suddenly prefer Ozarka to Evian.
These cheese-eaters ain't seen nothin' yet. When France drops into recession, what will Chirac's "subjects" think of him then?
I'm bookmarking this thread. I want to be able to reference it quickly twelve months from now. Let's just see how much French adulation for Chirac exists a year from today.
This is the UN's dance of death. In the minds of France and Germany, there is no longer a need for the UN. With the inauguration of the EU controlled "International Criminal Court" and the Franco/German dominance of the EU leadership the UN has outlived its usefulness.