“Meanwhile, the peacenik predisposition of the other Continentals is a useful cover for French ambition. Last year Paavo Lipponen, the Finnish Prime Minister, declared that ‘the EU must not develop into a military superpower but must become a great power that will not take up arms at any occasion in order to defend its own interests.’ This sounds insane. But, to France, it has a compelling logic. You can’t beat the Americans on the battlefield, but you can tie them down limb by limb in the UN and other supranational bodies.
“In other words, this is the war, this is the real battlefield, not the sands of Mesopotamia. And, on this terrain, Americans always lose. Either they win but get no credit, as in Afghanistan. Or they win a temporary constrained victory to be subverted by subsequent French machinations, as in the last Gulf War. This time round, who knows? But through it all France is admirably upfront in its unilateralism: It reserves the right to treat French Africa as its colonies, Middle Eastern dictators as its clients, the European Union as a Greater France and the UN as a kind of global condom to prevent the spread of Americanization. All this it does shamelessly and relatively effectively.” —Mark Steynposted on February 12, 2003 1:42 PM