L'actualit� internationale sur Lefigaro.fr

Another Victory:

Following the news today, one would think that Turkey was the scene of the latest disaster for the war in Iraq. Google News at this hour lists only news about the Turkish hostages taken in Iraq, and nothing else from Turkey on its front page. Search for "NATO," and you still find that the top collection of items is about the protests in Turkey aimed at George Bush's attendance at the NATO summit.

Meanwhile, the conservative (for the French) newspaper Le Figaro ran this piece of analysis yesterday:

Un compromis devra pourtant etre trouve. La France est consciente que ses theses sont tres minoritaires au sein de l'Otan. Paris ne s'oppose pas a une "demarche d'unite" de l'Alliance en Irak. Mais ce ne serait pas l'Otan en tant que telle, plutot certains Etats membres volontaires, qui participeraient a la formation des cadres de l'armee irakienne... La France envisage elle-meme de creer, peut-etre en Jordanie ou dans un emirat du Golfe, une ecole de formation de gendarmes irakiens.

Quant a "l'assistance technique" que l'Otan pourrait apporter aux nations engagees dans la force multinationale en Irak, les autorites francaises n'ont rien contre, a condition qu'elle soit discrete... La querelle franco-americaine est surtout affaire de symboles.

That is, in English:
A compromise [with America] will have to be found. France is conscious that its views are greatly in the minority in NATO. Paris does not oppose a a 'show of unity' for the alliance in Iraq. But, it can't be NATO as a whole, but rather a volunteer effort by member states who participate in the formation and training of the Iraqi army. France herself envisions the creation, perhaps in Jordan or in the Emirates, a school for training the Iraqi police.

When it comes to offering 'technical assistance' to Coalition forces in Iraq, France doesn't have a problem with NATO doing so as long as it is discrete. The quarrel between France and America is all about symbols.

France probably thinks it is winning the war of symbols, if it takes as its measure the obedience of the news media in continuing to portray Bush as an isolated loser whose coalition is falling apart. Indeed, the opposite has happened: the Coalition has expanded to include even France. Not only NATO, but the EU has voted to support the operation.

The NATO summit, all but unmentioned on front pages distracted by protests and hostages, has been a victory for the United States, the Coalition, and Iraq's new government. It is not possible to fight terrorists without developing a resistance to terror. You have to look past their efforts to frighten and to fray by fomenting discontent among the peoples of the West. Look past, and you see the first hints of a new dawn in Iraq, the first such light to brighten Mesopotamia in more than thirty years. Our enemies are doing their worst, and we our best. It seems this extends even to 'turning the other cheek' to the French desire to see us scorned in public, even as they aid us in private.

Fair enough. Forgiveness is noble, and the pursuit of justice is a higher calling than vanity or pride. But France should beware that there are other smiths forging symbols. Those smiths seek for their material weak convictions, and hearts they think might be moved by horror's lever. "Provocative weakness" draws eyes from many halls kept in the wastelands of the world.

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