How many Americans in 2002 knew who the President of the
was? One year later he was the most hated and despised foreign politician among a majority of them. What a difference one year makes… French Republic
Because he was the one who wanted more evidence about the existence of WMDs and had the courage to oppose the hysterical urge to war of the Bush administration (bolstered by about 80% of the American media), Jacques Chirac became the paragon of treachery, deceitfulness, ungratefulness, wickedness, perversity etc. Look no further: the ultimate anti-American antichrist was French!
No matter how strongly he voiced his concern about the consequences of a war he knew America would win and how strident he was in his insistence in telling our American friends that what they were about to go into would be catastrophically detrimental to themselves, he predictably has been more vilified, despised and insulted than the real enemies of the U.S. ever were.
Yet, when we look at the history of his life, nothing, absolutely nothing, could vindicate the American accusation that he acted out of “anti-Americanism”.
He spent one year in the U.S. as a student back in 1952, worked there and wrote an essay about the New Orleans’ harbor, he speaks very good English, had the American anthem played (for the first time ever) in the courtyard of the Elysée palace when the then new American president (G. Bush) visited France in 2000 and was the first head of state to side the U.S. the day after the terrorist attacks of 9/11. Following this event, he is said to have told the French secret services to share any information with their American counterparts as if they were French. Talk about being anti-American!
Although the unfolding of History has proven him right from the very beginning, it looks like
will never forgive him for having dared opposing her when she was becoming inebriated with a lust for war and death. There’s no point, it seems, trying to explain to those who hated him in the first place when he said “no”, that he certainly didn’t act out of anti-Americanism, the “concept” that is supposed to explain any dissension with Americans. America
I promise I have even read in some articles in the American MSM that Chirac’s ultimate goal when opposing
America was to initiate a European anti-American dynamic that eventually would lead to a new Holy Roman Empire with at the helm! The mind boggles… France
About every accusation has been hurled at him: He was Saddam’s buddy,
France was on the payroll, he was protecting French oil contracts in Iraq, he wanted to keep alive a regime to which was eager to sell weapons etc. All this has been debunked time and again, there’s no need to return to it. France
Even the coolest of Americans, those who opposed the war, couldn’t forgive him the effort he made on the international stage to gather enough votes in order to prevent a majority at the UN to authorize the American attack on Iraq. They will never accept, it seems, that when someone sees a friend about to commit the worst mistake ever, he will do his utmost to prevent said friend to do the irreparable.
The funny thing (sort of) is that Jacques Chirac is the least missed president of a huge majority of the French who certainly would be hard pressed to remember anything positive he made on the domestic stage but who will thank him nonetheless for the position he held during the Iraqi crisis. That may be the only thing he will ever be gratefully remembered for in
. Not exactly France ’s point of view, is it? America
(The painting is “
St. Thomas”, by Georges de La Tour, Louvre, Paris)