Friday, September 24, 2004

Kerry's Friends the French (and Germans)

Why is Kerry obsessed with pleasing France and Germany? "Who knows?" to paraphrase Tom Donnelly in Allies Uber Alles in The Weekly Standard:
Or perhaps we should consider a psychological explanation. Kerry is obsessed with European approval--it is "the only way to succeed!"--in ways that defy logic.
Its certainly not because of their military prowess as pointed out by both Donnelly:

Western Europeans, the British always excepted, have a hard time projecting and sustaining military force to the eastern end of their own continent, let alone the Middle East. The plucky Poles have contributed a larger force to the mission in Iraq, and kept it there longer, than the Germans could have.

The second possibility is that Kerry really doesn't know any better. Though he's the son of a professional foreign service officer and is renowned for his appreciation of the "nuances" and "complexities" of international politics, he hasn't exactly been a frequent presence at Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings, as committee chairman Sen. Richard Lugar recently observed. Maybe Kerry lost track back in the 1980s, when the western Europeans were really on the front lines and the Bundeswehr was better prepared for combat.

and fellow Weekly Standard contributor Gary Schmitt (in Kerry's Phony Foreign Allies):
If Kerry indeed knows anything about Europe, he knows there isn't the smallest chance that these countries will provide troops, not even to their friend John Kerry. Anyone familiar with the state of German forces knows that Germany cannot and will not send troops to Iraq. The Germans are already hard pressed to keep a few thousand troops in Afghanistan. They are not going to deploy significant new numbers to Iraq even if they wanted to--which they emphatically don't.

As for Paris, well, French president Jacques Chirac made it quite clear on Monday, while in New York for the opening of the U.N. General Assembly, that Kerry's possible victory in November would have no impact on France's decision to stay out of Iraq: "French policy with regard to Iraq has not changed and will not change." ("La politique francaise a l'egard de l'Irak n'a pas change et ne changera pas.")
If Kerry is saying that France will send troops to Iraq if he becomes President, does that mean he's calling Chirac a liar? Given his penchant for insulting our allies, both those countries with troops currently in Iraq, and Iraqi Prime Minister Allawi, that would be par for the course.