and Washington are again squabbling. France does not appreciate
the unilateral warrior rhetoric of the United States, whose foreign
policy is henceforth uniquely focused on the fight against terrorism.
"Simplistic and black-and-white" criticized Hubert
Védrine, when describing the "Axis of Evil"
theory of George Bush (targeting Iraq, Iran and North Korea).
"Mr. Védrine is full of hot air," retorted an
irritated Colin Powell, the American secretary of state. A rejoinder
judged "interesting" yesterday by president Bush, who
has it repeated in his report.
the same time, the statement of the French diplomatic chief has
yielded from the Washington ambassador to France an "invitation"
last weekend to explain himself to the State department. François
Bujon de l'Estang defended the summons, however: "It was
a prearranged conference," he assured, "in the course
of which Mr. Védrine's talk was effectively first."
Hawks of the Pentagon
fact, the differences between France and the United States are
the usual ones. Washington doesn't understand how a little European
country can be permitted to give lessons to the leader of the
free world. Paris, on the other hand, doesn't sit well with the
idea that its overly powerful ally can ignore the advice of the
the origin of the dispute are the declarations of Colin Powell,
who was deemed moderate even in the heart of the Bush administration.
He let it be understood that an attack against Bagdad was envisaged.
His words were interpreted by the European capitals as proof
of the alignment of Colin Powell with the war hawks of the Pentagon.
Paris considers, in effect, that the battle against terrorism
cannot be reduced to an armed action and that France cannot watch
these proceedings without becoming concerned.
time, France is not alone in raising its voice. Joska Fisher,
German minister of foreign affairs and, more surprising, Britain's
Chris Patten, European commisioner in charge of external relations
share the opinion of the Quai d'Orsay. And they have not missed
the chance to say it. Washington holds back from responding to
the Europeans, preferring to point a finger at what is made out
to be the usual French contrariness, and the press follows in
step. A day doesn't go by that the "New York Post"
doesn't discredit "those patronizing French who, in addition,
cheat at the Olympic games." A Democratic representative
observes the squabbles, amused: "Numerous Americans think
like the Europeans, but, for the moment, it would be suicide
to criticize George Bush, who is still very popular."
article by Laure Watrin
by David Sadegh