Sunday, November 19, 2006

The Self-Loathing French

The current French mood is much as it was in 1938 - they're demoralized and trying to compensate by bullying Jews. That was lousy strategy then, and an even worse one now the Jews have nukes.

The mood (my ellipsis);
Whoever wins (the coming Presidential election) will face a particularly daunting dilemma: how to revive the world’s sixth largest economy and restore optimism to a country going through a crippling bout of self-loathing.

Signs of the malaise are everywhere, from the welter of doom-laden titles in bookshops to the political protests and riots that set ablaze the immigrant suburbs last year in the worst street violence for four decades.

The all-powerful state that once seemed to serve France well under the so-called dirigiste model has become bloated and inefficient.

Unemployment is stubbornly high and growth is sluggish — French GDP has been surpassed by Britain’s. France has lost its footing in so many domains that it once dominated, from diplomacy to cooking, that people are growing dispirited and restless.

Many French people fear that despite its nuclear weapons, seat on the United Nations security council and privileged place at the bosom of Europe, the country risks becoming irrelevant, a depressing prospect for a proud people with a deep- rooted attachment to the concept of national glory.

In an attempt to revive that glory, the French Army is threatening Israel (hat tip LGF):

TYRE, Lebanon (AFP) - French UN anti-aircraft batteries have taken "preparatory steps" to respond to Israeli jets violating Lebanese airspace, despite global criticism of such incursions.

"The anti-aircraft unit of the (French) battalion took initial preparatory steps to respond to these actions," Milos Strugar, spokesman for the UN Interim Force in Lebanon (UNIFIL) told AFP on Friday

He said "UNIFIL observed and reported 14 Israeli air violations this morning, on November 17, 2006, and 11 of these violations occurred in the area of operation of the French battalion with UNIFIL."

UNIFIL Force Commander General Alain Pellegrini "strongly protested to the Israeli authorities and asked them to cease these actions which are unacceptable and in violation of Resolution 1701," the spokesman said.

Strugar said the French battalion took action to respond "in accordance with UNIFIL rules of engagements and UN Security Council Resolution 1701."

Of course resolution 1701 requires the French-led UNIFIL to disarm Hizbollah, which France has declined to do, and the Israelis are monitoring their complicity. Still, the French army has fairly good anti-air missiles, so what if they shoot down an F-15I or F-16I?

The IAF will just take out all the French radars, missiles, and supporting troops with anti-radiation and GPS-guided missiles - just as the USAF and RAF did to Saddam's anti-air in the old No-Fly zones. That will embolden the rearmed Hizbollah to fire more Katyushas at Israeli civilians, and the IDF will respond with the nasties it's been cooking up since the ceasefire.

Then you have a full-scale Mideast war in which UNIFIL has declared itself an enemy of Israel, thus allowing the IDF to continue, unhindered by the UN, until it has achieved its objectives.

And that will really depress the French.