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Am I Hearing Things?

Say what?

I never defend the UN, but I have in the past defended the French. And I had hopes for Condoleezza Rice.
UNITED NATIONS, Aug. 17 -- France has rebuffed U.N. pleas to make a major contribution to a peacekeeping mission in southern Lebanon, setting back international efforts to send a credible military force to the region to police a cease-fire between Israel and Hezbollah, according to U.N. and French officials.

French President Jacques Chirac instead committed Thursday to send a relatively small military engineering company of 200 soldiers to serve in a reinforced U.N. peacekeeping mission that is expected to grow to 15,000 strong and that will help Lebanon police a demilitarized zone in southern Lebanon. He also said that a force of 1,700 French troops and crew stationed in ships off the coast of Lebanon could be sent in to help the U.N. force during a crisis.

The French decision, which was first reported today in the Paris daily Le Monde, has thrown U.N. military planning into disarray on the eve of a major international meeting this afternoon of potential contributors to a U.N. force. It also seriously complicates U.N. efforts to get a vanguard force of peacekeepers from powerful European countries within the next two weeks.

Senior U.N. peacekeeping officials said they had hoped that a commitment to have French troops form the "backbone" of the U.N. peacekeeping mission would spur other countries to join.
The UN had hoped? Had hoped? This wasn't worked out in advance? The UN's diplomats, the French and Condoleezza Rice and John Bolton didn't have this signed, sealed and delivered? Are you fucking with me? We stopped this war and we didn't even have a plan in place for a peacekeeping force? Is that possible? Is everyone involved in this a liar, a coward or an imbecile? (You can choose more than one.)

They hoped? And on that basis they imposed a defeat on the Israelis and salvaged Hezbollah? I mean, honest to God, as low as my expectations are, this is quite simply incredible.

If the French are backing out of a done deal then Condi needs to come out and say it publicly. Otherwise she really needs to quit. Either the French are acting like backstabbing liars, or our State Department is setting a new low for incompetence. It's one or the other.

They hoped?

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“Am I Hearing Things?”

  1. Blogger Callimachus Says:

    My formerly high esteem for Condi is taking the plunge on this one.

  2. Blogger Callimachus Says:

    The French, on the other hand, I can understand on this one. They don't want to go there in any numbers till they have a clear mandate to shoot back if pushed. One of the reasons I've defended them over the years from thoughtless bashing is they truly are one of the only Western nations that still is willing to fight (all joking about capability aside). If I'm right, this is smart diplomacy on their part. Give us the green light, and we'll send the troops.

  3. Blogger M. Takhallus. Says:

    I'd like to hear the French side of this. I, too, undertake the thankless task of defending the French who can at least be counted on to send Legionnaires to Africa.

    Small personal story: climbing aboard a ferry from Marseille to Corsica with way too many bags, two kids, an incapacitated nanny and back-spasming wife, we were rescued by the Foreign Legion who lined up smartly, each hefting a bag, and loaded the stupide Americains aboard. Since then I've had a soft spot for the guys in the kepis.

  4. Anonymous William Says:

    >> I, too, undertake the thankless task of defending the French who can at least be counted on to send Legionnaires to Africa.

    Where they can open fire on unarmed demonstrators, as has happened - was documented - denied, and ultimately acknowledged.

  5. Blogger Patrick Martin Says:

    Not to say I told you so, but I warned about this from the very beginning. As I said at Stubborn Facts on the Sunday the deal was announced:

    "Once the Israeli bombing stops, so will any international support for a strong, engaged multi-national force. Stop firing, and trust the UN to do right later has never worked for Israel or the United States before, and it won't work now."

    It was obvious that there was only "hope". If there had been actual agreement, they would have included the make-up of the international force in the resolution itself, not left it for a later resolution. As I also said at the time:

    "Of course it is impracticable to send in U.N. or NATO forces before a cease fire, but the nature, make-up, and charge for such a force could be negotiated and voted on before it was actually sent. Perhaps Ambassador Bolton (and I'm a big fan of his) deserves credit for crafting a resolution which has so little chance of being satisfactory to any of the parties that it will allow Israel more time to disarm the Party of God on its own, but he doesn't get much credit from me for crafting a resolution which would protect U.S. and Israeli interests. The U.S. should insist on adoption of a multi-national force resolution simultaneously with the adoption of a cease-fire resolution."

  6. Blogger Dave Schuler Says:

    Potential explanation for French behavior from MY posted here.

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