Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Dien Bien Phu Redux

About 50 years ago, on November 20, 1953, France committed itself to a grand and risky venture, designed to halt its slide into geopolitical irrelevance. I submit that, a half century later, France is doing the same thing today.

In Dien Bien Phu, the idea was that France, because of its inherent greatness, could occupy a piece of land that was militarily defenseless, and achieve victory over numerically superior forces. The area that they occupied was lowland, without any natural cover, surrounded by mountains. They made no attempt to take the high ground, but gambled that America would change its policy and come to their rescue at the last minute. France lost then. They shall lose now.

Their gamble today is to place both the United Nations and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization in jeopardy. Their calculus must be that, rather than sacrifice these two venerable organizations, the Americans will come to their aid. Rather than learning the lesson that history provides, they are raising the stakes. This time it is not merely a 16,000 strong garrison that France is putting in harm's way. She is betting the very vitality of two organizations that have held key positions for the maintenance of postwar world peace, such as it is. If France is afraid of unilateralism, why is she is giving America such a stark choice, and so little room for compromise.

France is in effect saying that, either the U.S.A. change course immediately on the matter of Iraq, and fall into line, accepting the leadership of France and Germany, or face world diplomatic Armageddon. She is threatening to bring NATO down, and make the U.N. irrelevant. I say, it's about time. Neither organization has supported American interests for a long time. This is not only my view, it is the view of many, if not most, conservatives in America today. It would be political suicide for Bush to abandon his political base by caving in to these craven political moves by the two losers of WWII. (Note to nitpickers: Before you email me, note that I call France a WWII loser is because they were defeated and occupied. I have not forgotten that they were on the winning side at the end.) It is time for Bush to ride high in the saddle. It is inevitable that these two dinosaurs and their two champions fade from the scene. Bush should take de Gaulle's advice: Anticipate the inevitable, and take credit for it.