Just about every Peanuts television episode I ever saw had a Charlie Brown football scene. You know the one -- Charlie Brown gets all set up to kick the football, but Lucy, after promising not to -- yanks the football away at the last second, leaving poor ol' Charlie Brown to fall flat on his face. I always used to think that Lucy was just a B. . .but as I got older, I wondered why poor ol' Charlie Brown was always sap enough to fall for it.
Fox News reports tonight that the French, true to form, are yanking away the Football. The ballyhooed Franco-American deal on a cease-fire in Lebanon has, it seems, collapsed, because the French striped-pants set have ". . . joined with Arab nations and is now calling for a complete and immediate Israeli withdrawal from Lebanon as a condition of any cease-fire. . ." Oh yeah, and no "international force" because the French have agreed with the Arabs that the Lebanese forces that would move into southern Lebanon be accompanied by the fearsome forces of UNIFIL -- the "United Nations Interim Force in Lebanon" which has spent the last twenty five years being as effective as wet noodles at "restor. . .[ing] . . .international peace and security, and help[ing] the Lebanese Government restore its effective authority in the area."
The Israelis should move in NOW. . .while the Hezbollah guys are all outside their bunkers falling all over themselves laughing.
Why is anybody surprised ? The French have just won themselves another twenty years of arms deals from various and sundry Muslim countries, paid a few weeks of Danegeld so that there are no Muslim riots, and humiliated those insufferable American cowboys, not to mention their Jewish colony.
Am I the only one who thinks this sounds all too familiar ? Anybody remember how the French tricked Colin Powell, in the run-up to the Iraq war, allowing him to believe that they would support eventual armed enforcement of UN Resolution 1441 -- and then yanked the football on him when it came time to stand up and be counted ? Why are we shocked now ?
To be sure, I like the French. They know how to play the game. They can always be relied on to do what they think is best for their state interests, and French statesmen are extraordinarily good at playing a weak hand. The Quai d'Orsay's mastery of the media and diplomatic game consistently allows the French state to punch out of its weight. Unlike the State Department, the French don't have hang-ups about public opinion: in fact, they are clever enough at managing it that they come off looking well to the chattering classes, and the French can always convince the doofus Charlie Browns at Foggy Bottom to line up on command for another whack at Lucy's football. Why are we surprised that our fools of diplomats are flat on our faces in front of the whole world, yet again ?