Wednesday, December 06, 2006

I'm sorry, I thought we were above that. I guess not.

I was dismayed to see this kind of thinking endorsed by other Progressive Bloggers:
if Dion's dual-citizenship was American and not French and I'm sure we would be up in arms about it. We sure as hell were with Ignatieff and we sure as hell treat Harper like he's an American. Citizenship CAN matter depending on the political climate. The closest countries to Canada are Britain and America. Our policies tend to follow one or the other, but rarely is it neither.

France however is a nonissue, not only in Canada but in the world. In order for it to become an issue France has to at some point do something that matters. France is a lame duck nation, they do not do anything for the world anymore. Instead they are kind of like the color commentators who sit abroad and criticize other foreign nationales while having no solutions themselves.

On Afghanistan the French position is if your allies need you in an emergency, they will not help you. That is if France's neihghbor's house was on fire and they were holding a ladder they would choose to see you burn rather than extend the ladder to you and help you out of the burning house.
As obnoxious as this kind of thinking is when it leaps from the mouths of Americans, it's delusional when it comes from Canadians. Canada matters in the world, but France doesn't? What the hell are you smoking? Which nuclear arsenal, aircraft carrier, or indigenous weapons industry did we conjure up while I was sleeping yesterday? France has all of these things, and we have nothing comparable.

As for helping our allies in need, it may have escaped your notice everyone, but Canada is not, not, not doing anything close to what we could be doing in Afghanistan if this were the great noble cause that demands France's attention. This implies one of only two possibilities - either we're failing just as badly as France is, in which case honor requires we shut the hell up, or this isn't, in fact, the kind of cause that commands a concerted national effort, in which case we should... shut the hell up.

It takes a delusional level of self-regard for citizens of this globe-straddling colossus, Canada, to talk smack about France.


Scott Tribe said...

Well, to be fair.. I've only seen *ONE* Progressive Blogger endorse "this kind of thinking" -- and that happens to be the one you've quoted.

2ndly, if you know Youth In Canada's blogsite, you'd know he's a "Red Tory" and also a member of the Blogging Tory blogroll (one of our few dual members of both blogrolls) so I'm not surprised to see that his view of this is a bit different from what we've seen from other members of Progressive Bloggers today. Still.. we arent an echo chamber, and he is free to comment as he sees fit.

john said...


The post received several votes, moving from the sidebar to the main page. That's what I meant by "endorsed".

I suppose there's no way to prove that it was actual progressives voting for it, but the least-unlikely theory is that, yes, progressives read the post and voted for it.

kevvyd said...

I wouldn't be so quick to interpret votes for a post to mean acceptance of it. Sometimes I vote for a post, not because I agree with it, but because I think others should see it.

I didn't vote for the post in question, I'm just sayin...

Anonymous said...

I suppose I should respond to this. I in no way indicated that Canada is influential in the world, and I do not believe that Canada's influence really carries any further than Canada itself.

This is more of a response to conservatives who are freaking out about how Stephane Dion is somehow going to be influenced by the French in his decisions. I agree with the conservatives in that if it was dual-American, dual-Chinese, or dual-Russian citizenship it would matter. They're big power players in the world. France however doesn't have much of a foreign policy to influence us with. There is no policy Canada is currently looking into that could be 'tainted' by being biased to the French.

They are a othing in Canadian politics, they're not brought up, they're not mentioned, they're not discussed. However bring up the Americans and thats a more contentious topic that will open up debate and biases.

john said...

But, Paul, your remarks were not confined to Canadian politics. The passage I quoted was your own words about France's international influence, where you explicitly minimize France's role in the world - inaccurately - and specifically talk about France's inaction in Afghanistan. I took that to mean that Canada was playing a bigger role in the world than France, because of the Afghanistan connection. If I misconstrued your word, I apologize.

While I absolutely agree with you on the Canadian domestic politics angle, to describe France as a "lame duck nation" and mere "colour commentary" is simply false - ask the Lebanese. And I reacted against it simply because it smacks of the simple-minded arrogance that North Americans to often display when it comes to Europe. If that wasn't what you intended, then please elaborate.

Anonymous said...

Well first off on the language, under what standards do we "play" bigger roles? I wouldn't know what that would amount to. I'm dealing with something concrete as in how much influence one has on another.

I went on a tirade about France's involvement in the world because it is crucial. We tend to follow alongside power players in the world. France asked for the Israelis to stop the blockade against Lebanon... and then two weeks later they did it. France made no efforts to intervene and put their troops in harms way. No they waited until both parties agreed to a peacekeeping operation before they deployed their troops there. When France says "please don't do that" no one listens, their influence is minimal. The French had not even thought of blocking off any funds or trade from Israel.

I was simply giving examples of why France has no influence, not THE reasons why France has no influence. I'm sure I could elaborate on how France has few trade relations with Canada.

If France had influence, going against what they say would have considerable consequences to you... but it doesn't. When people bring forth domestic policies that the French use people look at you indifferent... since France is recognized as having one of the worst domestic policies in the western world.

As I originally said, Dion's dual-citizenship is a nonissue and would only be an issue if it was dual-American, Russian, or Chinese. There are some other countries where it would probably matter, but because it is with France it does not matter.

I should note there is nothing simple about my views on the French. I've long been a defender of the French's role in the world but after seeing how Chirac carries himself, the sorts of decisions he makes, the anarchy in his country, and the constant preaching of inaction on his part... its hard to call them anything but "lameduck."

Seven years ago France joined in an attack against Yugoslavia, a UN mandated mission. I'm thinking that because the French hate Bush so much, it would hurt Chirac's image to fight in a UN approved operation that is lead by the Americans. But if I'm being called "simple" for my views than all of the French who oppose having French troops play supportive roles in military operations are braindead.