Friday, October 14, 2005

Concensus, French Style

The arrest of the former French ambassador to the UN for taking bribes from Saddam is the tip of the iceberg of France's covert alliance with Saddam. A reminder that consensus will never be achieved in a UN infested by corrupted governments.

Today's WSJ (subscription) comments:

In June 1995, Mr. Mérimée, then France's ambassador to the U.N., announced he was largely satisfied with the progress Iraq had made on disarmament and wanted sanctions lifted sooner rather than later. And this week, a French investigative magistrate brought Mr. Mérimée in for questioning on an allegation that he took a bribe from Saddam in the form of 11 million barrels of oil.

Others who have been linked to the oil handouts (while denying any wrongdoing) include Charles Pasqua, a senator and former interior minister; Serge Boidevaix, the former secretary general of the Foreign Ministry; Patrick Maugein, chairman of oil company SOCO who is close to President Jacques Chirac; Michel Grimard, leader of the Christian Movement of the French Fifth Republic -- the list, as they say, is long and distinguished.

Nor is it relegated to individuals only. Charles Duelfer's Iraq Survey Group reported last year that French oil companies Total and Socap obtained a combined 198 million barrels in Iraqi oil vouchers. We have also learned from Paul Volcker's Oil for Food inquiry that Saddam Hussein steered $4.4 billion worth of oil contracts to French companies and $3 billion in "humanitarian" contracts.

So now we know what French officialdom means by the word "multilateralism": One part involves speechifying about the need for international "consensus" and "legitimacy"; a second part involves doing business with dictators and doing their bidding at the U.N.

Corruption and its bedmate hypocrisy is endemic not only to France, but to most nations outside the Anglosphere, Holland and the Nordic nations.