France - true to form
From today's Washington Post editorial:
THROUGHOUT this summer's crisis in relations between Israel and Lebanon, France has been liberal with its advice and admonitions, as befits the major power it claims to be. Now that the time has arrived to assume the responsibility of a major power, however, France appears suddenly bashful. The consequence for the peace deal it helped broker could be calamitous.What's the French for "Lying cowardly bastards"?
During the fighting that began when Hezbollah crossed into Israel to kidnap two soldiers and kill several others, France pressed for Israel to cease its military actions. At one point, it supported Arab demands that Israel withdraw before an international force was in place. Just this week, France's foreign minister was telling Israel to end its blockade of Lebanese ports and airports…
And, U.N. officials were led to believe, France would take a major role in leading and supplying troops to this international force, which would in turn encourage other nations to participate. Asked on the day the resolution was adopted about the deployment of the U.N. force, France's U.N. ambassador said, "I think it can be very swift."
Well, not so swift, it turns out, and possibly not so robust. Now that Israel is withdrawing and Hezbollah fighters are emerging with a swagger, French President Jacques Chirac says he is ready to send only an engineering company of 200 soldiers to join 200 serving in the current, and impotent, U.N. force in Lebanon.