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U.S. and France Kiss and Make Up, Haitian Democracy Dies
Leave it to the New York Times to turn the bloody overthrow of a democratically elected President into a veritable love story. In an article published on March 3 entitled "U.S. and France Set Aside Differences in Effort to Resolve Haiti Conflict" the newspaper of record reported that "the joint diplomacy over Haiti is a dramatic example of how the longtime allies can set aside differences, find common ground, play to their strengths and even operate in an atmosphere of trust." The story goes on to weave a tale so charming and rosy that one would never guess scores of people were being needlessly slaughtered in the background.
Dominique de Villepin, the French foreign minister, described Aristide's ouster as being the result of "perfect coordination" between the U.S. and France. In addition, "Mr. Bush telephoned Mr. Chirac to express delight over 'the excellent French-American cooperation in Haiti' and to 'thank France for its action.'" Colin Powell and Dominique de Villepin also managed to mend fences during the crisis: "During the Iraq crisis, Mr. Powell and Mr. de Villepin each felt betrayed by the other. ... But that was then. The Haiti crisis has required Mr. Powell and Mr. de Villepin to consult regularly by phone, sometimes more than once a day."
Am I the only one who finds this disgusting? They should have taken it a step further and described the way Colin's heart would begin to race when he picked up the phone and heard Dominique's voice on the other end. Colin never felt comfortable having to constantly worry whether or not Dominique was still mad at him. They could also describe how Dominique longed for the days when he and Colin used to be friends, and how he could scarcely remember the last time they smiled at one another. Ever since they got into that fight about Iraq their relationship hadn't been the same. Colin seemed so cold and distant.
If this article demonstrates anything, it is the utter stupidity of the liberal foreign policy doctrine of "multilateralism," which is not different in any fundamental way from the Bush administration's policy. Bush says he wants to invade Iraq, kill lots of people, install a puppet government, privatize the economy, and use the country as a springboard for U.S. dominance over the region. John Kerry says he wants to invade Iraq, kill lots of people, install a puppet government, privatize the economy, and use the country as a springboard for U.S. dominance over the region ... with the help of the French! Clearly, John Kerry is a man with a vision — a real ideas-oriented person.
This is the same John Kerry who eloquently and bitterly denounced the U.S. war against Indochina. Testifying before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, Kerry referred to the Vietnam War as "barbaric." He detailed atrocities committed by U.S. soldiers, charging that both they and the U.S. government were guilty of war crimes. He also asked a question that someone might want to ask the John Kerry of today: "How do you ask a man to be the last man to die for a mistake?" We all miss that John Kerry. Either he forgot to bring his testicles with him when he left the halls of Congress that day or he has given up on principles and idealism in his old age and has started making policy decisions based on cynical, self-serving political calculations.
Obviously, when military interventions are fundamentally unjust it makes no difference whether they are "multilateral" or "unilateral," which is why Kerry has not energized anyone in the Democratic Party (the only person energizing the Democratic Party today is Bush). Ask the residents of Belgrade how much they appreciated Clinton's commitment to "multilateralism." Do you think Afghan villagers delight in the fact that a diverse array of American, French, and British bombs are being dropped on them? The Bush administration has seized on the Haiti crisis as a way of countering these limp-wristed attacks on their "unilateralism." It probably won't be difficult for them to counter such tepid criticisms.
I can't even count the number of times I've heard administration officials use the words "multilateralism" and "working with the international community" while talking about their current misdeeds in Haiti. It looks like Bush will be thoroughly insulated from criticisms of "unilateralism" by the time November rolls around, not that such arguments were meaningful in the first place. Their common imperial interests have brought the U.S. government and the French government back together, and all is fine and dandy in the "international community."
Unless you are a Haitian who loves democracy, that is. Or a presidential candidate running on a "be buddies with France again" platform.