May 6, 2002


America knows who its friends are (Andrew Sullivan, May 05, 2002, Times of London)
In crises or periods of personal turmoil, you find out who your friends are. And your enemies. That¹s why our friendships and relationships can change
more profoundly under stress than in any other condition. And that goes for countries too.

I was thinking about this recently, observing the coverage in the American media of two critical allies: Israel and France.

If you want an insight into the future of US foreign policy, you could do worse than notice how attitudes towards these two have hardened in recent months.

And in these relationships, the growing gap between Americans and Europeans is particularly marked.

While Israel's battle against Islamic and Palestinian terrorism is regarded across Europe with dismay, most Americans cheer the Zionists on.

And while France remains central to the European project, and its flirtation with the far right has alarmed other Europeans, many Americans saw in Jean-Marie Le Pen confirmation of what they already believed: France is an essentially untrustworthy, hypocritical repository of posers and bigots.

The American relationship with Israel and France can be explained adequately by just two incidents. First, Israel : when Jimmy Carter launched the ill-fated Desert One operation to try and free the hostages in Iran, the Israeli military picked up American radio transmissions, realized the mission was so screwed up that we were broadcasting over open frequencies, and immediately began jamming them for us. Then, France : when Charles DeGaulle came to power he called LBJ and demanded that all American troops be removed from French soil. LBJ, in his finest moment, asked : Including those who are buried in it? Posted by Orrin Judd at May 6, 2002 8:59 AM
Comments for this post are closed.