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Pipes misses big picture of French consistency

Reader comment on item: Weak Brits, Tough French

Submitted by John (United States), Jul 18, 2005 at 16:54

The article is right on, but Pipes misses the bigger picture: the dead-on consistency of French foreign and domestic policy. His final note about France's 'political failings' doubtless refer to its non-support of the Iraq war. However, he suprisingly shows consistency with his awareness of French steadfastness in distinguishing between Iraq and the War on Terror, of which France is at the forefront.
France has shown a strong and consistent pragmatism in foreign and domestic policy that is the exact inverse of the Anglo-Americans: the latter are weak-minded multiculturalists at home and bloody-minded idealist utopians abroad, whereas the former are staunch defenders of the national identity, national security and social cohesion at home while being pragmatic realists abroad who act decisively and effectively when the national interest is at stake. And the French do this while remaining one of the freest democracies and guaranteeing religious freedom. The French position on Iraq was the exact counter-part to its domestic fight against Islamism. The Anglo-American invasion of Iraq was the perfect counter-part to those countries' wishy-washy 'tolerance' at home.
This is the result of decades long Gaullist policies: the policies of pragmatic patriotism, of a nationalism that respects other nations' integrity and sovereignty, that does not, for example, value the national aspirations of the Jewish people any higher or lower than those of the Palestinian people.
While the US and UK pursue a foreign of revolutionary liberal idealism (which is always blind to realities on the ground, such as that it would run counter to their interests to invade and destroy an Arab country with a secular, anti-islamist gov., and that the 100,000 Iraqi civilian dead, whether killed by US bombs or jihadi ones, are the direct result), France is doing its best both to defend western civilization and to avert the war of civilizations that is the Bin Ladenists' goal. And she does this by simultaneaously stopping and killing the terrorists and Islamists at home and abroad, and by depriving them of their #1 recrutment/propaganda tool: the perception among average people in Muslim and Arab countries that the West is out to destroy them.

Blair: appeasing terrorism, inflaming the causes of terrorism;
Chirac: tough on terrorism, tough on the causes of terrorism.

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