aside for the moment these self-serving and condescending
explanations for "anti-Americanism." What is remarkable
today about "anti-Americanism" in France is not
how much of it there is but how little. There is scarcely
any item on the US imperial agenda that France does not
sign on to. A little while ago French Prime Minister Lionel
Jospin was visiting the West Bank and described the Hezbollah
movement in Lebanon as a "terrorist" organization.
This faithfully echoed the US line. Arab students protested.
The Arab governments were a little taken aback by this new
turn in French foreign policy. Last year France the alleged
longstanding friend of the Serbs gleefully took part in
the destruction of Yugoslavia. France, the champion of international
law, seemed untroubled by the US disregard for the United
Nations. French politicians were as venomous about the Serbs
as any US State Department hack. Nor has France uttered
the slightest criticisms of the crippling sanctions that
have devastated that unfortunate country. Where is the vaunted
Gaullist prickliness? Where is the famous independent foreign
policy? Indeed, next to Great Britain, there is today no
power in Europe that is as meek and abject and as frightened
of incurring Washington’s wrath as France.
US policymakers suddenly turned around and accused the French
of being too "pro-Serb." The French had done nothing
to deserve such a vile slur. It was just that they still
seemed a little halfhearted about the goal of driving the
Serbs out of Kosovo. There was that Serb enclave in Mitrovica
and they were protecting it. The hideous harridan of Foggy
Bottom threw a fit and the media, as usual, parroted her
anti-French tirades. The French responded by forcing the
Serbs of northern Mitrovica to accept the return of Albanians.
Needless to say, they did not demand that the Albanians
accept the return of Serbs. Then, last week, the French
seized the Bosnian Serb leader, Momcilo Krajisnik. French
troops blew open the front door of his house. They tied
up his two sons and turned their faces to floor. And they
led Krajisnik away wearing only pyjamas and shipped him
off to the Hague.
"anti-Americanism" was always more pose than reality something
for journalists to write about and Americans to get annoyed
over. Today, the French do not even bother to pose. France
has embraced the United States. And the United States, in
turn, has rewarded France by permitting it to play the bigshot
in world affairs. The French, like the British, are vain
and therefore easily bribed, bullied and cajoled. Last year’s
Rambouillet negotiations or rather the show of "negotiations" were
an American operation from start to finish. The objective
was to provide a pretext for the bombing of Yugoslavia.
Had the United States chaired the talks the ploy would have
been too transparent. So the French and the British stepped
up to the plate and "agreed" to oversee the bogus
talks. The French and the British signed on to the Appendix
B trick. The Americans go their bombing. And the French
and the British were flattered into playing Number two and
Number three powers in the world respectively.
contemptible groveling at America’s feet began ten years
ago. Ever since the unification of Germany, the French have
been anxiously looking over their shoulder at Germany. Anxiety
about Germany has always been something of a perennial obsession
among the French elite. Despite all the brave talk of the
European Security and Defense Identity the French are more
afraid of the Germans than they are of the Americans. Hence
the appeal of US hegemony. It enables France to counteract
Germany’s economic power. As America’s loyal enforcer, France
will be able to dominate Germany. France is permanent member
of the UN Security Council. Germany is not. France has nuclear
weapons. Germany does not. The Germans are, of course, very
well aware of what the British and French are up to. That
is why American hegemony holds so little appeal for them.
Today, the fiercest and most telling attacks on America
are coming from Germany, not France. This is the reason
also why Germany is drawing ever closer to the power most
threatened by a US-dominated Europe. Russia and Germany
are emerging as the rival power bloc to the anodyne Transatlantic
Europe. During last year’s bombing, the Germans were the
least enthusiastic of the NATO participants. This was all
the more amazing given their historic animus towards the
Serbs. Throughout the bombing campaign, they were negotiating
with the Russians behind the scenes. And it was the Germans
and Russians acting in tandem that finally brought the US-led
reign of terror over Yugoslavia to an end.
Karl Lamers, the parliamentary foreign policy spokesman
for the opposition Christian Democratic Union/Christian
Social Union (CDU/CSU), suggested that Kosovo be partitioned.
This was a major departure from the official NATO policy
of proclaiming publicly its undying commitment to "multiethnicity"
while doing everything in its power to make Kosovo as unappealing
to Serbs as possible. This position also happens to be very
close to that of the Russians. It is a signal that Germany
may soon withdraw from Kosovo. The Germans are also busily
kicking out the Albanian criminals who arrived last year
posing as "refugees." Where the French are strident
in their condemnations of the Russians in Chechnya, the
Germans are relatively discreet. Where the French are insisting
on more stringent conditions on further aid to Russia, the
Germans prefer laxer conditions. Where the Americans and
the French seem to be happy at the prospect of turmoil in
Russia, the Germans are desperate to prevent this.
French want to see further expansion of NATO. The Germans
do not. The United States and Estonia recently agreed to
open a joint airspace monitoring center in Estonia –clearly
an intelligence center directed at the Russians. NATO is
unofficially integrating the Estonian, Finn, Latvian, Lithuanian
and Swedish militaries into NATO’s logistics, intelligence,
command and control networks. Lithuania has agreed to link
its air surveillance systems with that of Poland. In March
NATO held its North Atlantic Council meeting in Ukraine.
NATO and Ukrainian forces regularly hold joint military
exercises on the Black Sea. NATO and Ukraine have also been
busy building relationships between their respective officer
corps. NATO also holds exercises with Georgia and Azerbaijan.
To the Russians it seems like a scheme to prevent them from
ever becoming a serious power again. To the Americans it
is a means of ensuring their global dominance. To the Germans
it seems like needless provocation. As they see it, a war
against Russia provoked by America will as likely as not
have to be fought by America’s proxies chiefly Germany.
To the French it is the triumphant march of the West.
and Russia have a clear interest in thwarting this American-French
imperial expansion. In 1922 a defeated Germany came together
with Bolshevik Russia at Rapallo. The two powers had little
in common other than longing to overthrow the hated Versailles
settlement imposed by the Western powers. Within 20 years
Versailles was gone. The US-mandated order may have an even
shorter shelf life.