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France Surrenders By: Chris Weinkopf
FrontPageMagazine.com | Wednesday, May 28, 2003

PREDICTABLY, albeit belatedly, the cheese-eating surrender monkeys in Paris have, well, surrendered.

The capitulation came later than most of us foresaw, but come it has, in the form of UN Security Council Resolution 1483, which recognizes British and American control over Iraq, and authorizes the coalition to sell Iraqi oil. The French, as well as the Chinese and the Russians—all of whom infamously refused to back the war—have all endorsed its results, with the resolution passing unanimously, save for Syria, whose delegate cowardly skipped the vote altogether.

For those who fretted about the war’s lack of international support, fret no more.

Those who think that only the UN Security Council can distinguish right from wrong may set their minds at ease. In the bureaucratic world of international weaselry, Operation Iraqi Freedom has now been shifted, ex post facto, out of the "unjust wars of colonial expansion" column and into the category of "responsible uses of military force."

We’re all neoconservatives now.

Not that the Axis of Appeasement’s charter members are willing to put it quite that simply. In a futile attempt to save face, they claim that one can support the allied occupation without supporting the allied invasion that produced it. "I don't see anything in this resolution which would be legitimizing the war," Russian ambassador Sergei Lavrov implausibly claimed.

Really? How about the fact that through Resolution 1483, the Security Council has recognized sweeping administrative powers on the part of American and British forces operating in Iraq, the extent of which it’s never before accorded to the victor in a war, not even in a war it condoned?

Remember that only a few months ago, the "international community" bellyached that an American-led invasion of Iraq would be tantamount to some sort of imperialist war of aggression. Typically, the UN doesn’t reward the antagonists in such conflicts with a diplomatic carte blanche, but punishes them with denunciations and sanctions. Such was the international response that Saddam Hussein met after his 1991 invasion of Kuwait, and to hear the way the appeasers ranted only a few months ago, President George W. Bush was little better (if not worse) than Saddam himself.

It’s remarkable what effect bold leadership and an overwhelming victory will have on "international opinion."

Now the French are falling all over themselves to repair relations with the U.S. and salvage some purpose for the UN in international affairs. "The United Nations is back," an unduly sanguine Foreign Minister Dominique de Villepin proclaimed over French radio after the Security Council approved 1483. Never mind that his country was, in retrospect, backing a war it had previously condemned. "What is really at stake here," de Villepin said, "is ensuring that the role of the United Nations is restored."

Maybe, but let’s not overestimate the UN’s revival. Under 1483, the UN is a partner—a junior partner at best, although "associate" or "intern" would probably be a more fitting description—in the reconstruction of Iraq. The UN participates in a mostly humanitarian and advisory capacity, and on America’s terms. It’s trusted with none of the leadership or authority that France, Russia, and China had initially sought, responsibility for which all three have proved themselves wholly unprepared and unworthy.

After all, if the appeasers can now give their blessing to an occupation they preemptively denounced as immoral, then America was justified in waging the War on Iraq, and the Axis of Appeasement was horribly wrong to stand in its way. The appeasers’ overdue attempt to get on the right side of history is no more commendable than the criminal who swears to give up crime after he’s already been put away for life. It’s a welcomed conversion, but a suspect one at that.

By signing onto Resolution 1483, the appeasers concede that their opposition to the war was never a firm moral stand, but a weak, amoral posture, a pathetic attempt to bolster their international position by mindlessly obstructing American policy. That posture recklessly prolonged the risk Hussein’s regime posed to Western interests, as well as the torture it imposed on its subjects.

And so it’s only appropriate, as Secretary of State Colin Powell has remarked, that America can cooperate with the erstwhile appeasers, but not forget their treachery. Resolution 1483 marks "a step in the right direction of moving forward together," Powell has said. "But does it mean that the disagreements of the past simply are totally forgotten? No—that was not a very pleasant time for any of us, and we have to work our way through it."

When America needed them, most of her nominal allies proved themselves a rather disloyal and cynical bunch. Trust, they have no doubt since learned, can be destroyed quickly, but takes a long time to rebuild. A good test of the appeasers’ renewed friendship will be how they respond should the War on Terror necessarily turn to other enemies, be it Syria, Iran, or anyone else.

Prior to the war, many Americans worried that the country’s "unilateral" approach. might damage its international relationships and strategic alliances. But it’s not America that’s now trying to undo a year’s worth of specious rhetoric. It’s not America that’s struggling to make amends for acts of foreign-policy arrogance. And it’s not America that’s been forced to eat her words and surrender her position.

That would be France.

Chris Weinkopf is an editorial writer and columnist for the Los Angeles Daily News. To read his weekly Daily News column, click here. E-mail him at chris.weinkopf@dailynews.com.

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