Bell Curve The Law Talking Guy Raised by Republicans U.S. West
Well, he's kind of had it in for me ever since I accidentally ran over his dog. Actually, replace "accidentally" with "repeatedly," and replace "dog" with "son."

Monday, February 28, 2011

Double Your Pleasure, Double your Fun With Double Mint Gum

No one needed Wikileaks to learn about the latest diplomatic flops in the world. Let’s take a minute to amuse ourselves yet again with those consummate diplomats, the French.

French diplomacy, which seemed to enjoy a pretty good reputation as reasoned and measured during the Bush administration, has taken a nose dive. It’s amateurish to the point of cartoonish. Let’s consider recent events.

This weekend, French Foreign Minister Michele Alliot-Marie “resigned” her post to be replaced by the once exiled Alain Juppé. Now this is a story that is worth following just for the pleasure of seeing that other nations have screwed up politics. Alliot-Marie had ties to now deposed Tunisian President Ben-Ali. Here is a short list:
· Alliot-Marie had accepted visits to Tunisia in the private plane of a wealthy Tunisian businessman who is connected with Ben-Ali. That created a scandal back in December.
· Her parents and she are involved in a real-estate deal with the same business man, that broke while she was in Tunisia on vacation.
· She offered Ben-Ali the assistance of French security forces in crowd control. Not such a good thing to do in a former colony.

Her replacement, Alan Juppé has been serving as Defense Minister. This has helped re-integrate him into the French political scene after being convicted in 2004 for participation in Chirac’s jobs scandal during Chirac's mayoral tenure in Paris. He was given a 14 month suspended prison sentence and a one year ban from participating in French politics. He was mayor of Bordeaux throughout the whole thing.

Then there was the holiday taken by Prime Minister Francois Fillon to Egypt last fall. Much of his week-long vacation was paid for by the Egyptian government. Oops. Joke in France now is if you want to know which regime will fall next, see where French politicians are going on vacation. As a result of this, Sarko has declared that all French officials had to take their holidays in France. Just take a moment to digest the comic irony in that. Do you get the vision of little Napoleon jumping up and down complaining that none of his ministers like France well enough to vacation in it, so he’ll make them!

If you all recall, it was Sarkozy who tried to launch a Mediterranean Union in 2008. There was one meeting at the launch and nothing since. There was an attempted meeting in November, but it was postponed. The Co-president of the barely-formed Union was none other than Hussny Mubarak. How times have changed.

The most recent and comic blunder is a tit-for-tat with the Turks. There is no love lost between French President Sarkozy and Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Again, no need for Wikileaks to know that. But it reached a comic level this weekend.

It all started with Erdogan expressed his disappointment that Sarkozy was coming to Ankara in his capacity as head of the G20 rather than as President of France. Both Erdogan and the Turkish President, Abdullah Gul have both been to France, and I suspect that they expected a reciprocal visit. Back in 2009, when Gul went, Sarko greeted him while chewing gum. Probably not very polite.

The personal rapport between Sarko and Erdogan is sour. Erdogan went on to acknowledge as much when he said, “Relations between political leaders shouldn’t erode relations between two countries.” He was disappointed that the visit was only scheduled for 6 hours. In an expression of his disappointment, he sent a Foreign Ministry Undersecretary and the Mayor of Ankara to greet Sarkozy.

Then, to add insult to injury, Sarko descended down the stairs of his plane openly chopping away on gum. Crude little habit, I’d say.

At the end of the visit, Sarko holds a press conference with Gul rather than the Prime Minister where he says Turkey's accession would “destabilize” the EU. This further offended the Turks. But they got the last word on this trip. The Mayor of Ankara, who was part of the delegation seeing Sarko off at the airport, put a wad of gun in his mouth and chewed away as he said good-bye.


Raised By Republicans said...

It always amazes me that the French so often get away with criticizing US military adventures and US support for less than perfect regimes. The French are at least as guilty on both counts.

They also get credit for being smooth and sophisticated but US West's stories show that this view is as much based on cultural stereotypes as anything else.

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