Thomas Friedman thinks it’s time to face that possibility:

If you add up how France behaved in the run-up to the Iraq war (making it impossible for the Security Council to put a real ultimatum to Saddam Hussein that might have avoided a war), and if you look at how France behaved during the war (when its foreign minister, Dominique de Villepin, refused to answer the question of whether he wanted Saddam or America to win in Iraq), and if you watch how France is behaving today (demanding some kind of loopy symbolic transfer of Iraqi sovereignty to some kind of hastily thrown together Iraqi provisional government, with the rest of Iraq’s transition to democracy to be overseen more by a divided U.N. than by America), then there is only one conclusion one can draw: France wants America to fail in Iraq.

France wants America to sink in a quagmire there in the crazy hope that a weakened U.S. will pave the way for France to assume its “rightful” place as America’s equal, if not superior, in shaping world affairs.

This is a rather startling statement, although many of us were saying it a bit less starkly months ago. (See here, here, and here for examples.)

Friedman also makes another interesting claim:

What is so amazing to me about the French campaign — “Operation America Must Fail” — is that France seems to have given no thought as to how this would affect France. Let me spell it out in simple English: if America is defeated in Iraq by a coalition of Saddamists and Islamists, radical Muslim groups — from Baghdad to the Muslim slums of Paris — will all be energized, and the forces of modernism and tolerance within these Muslim communities will be on the run. To think that France, with its large Muslim minority, where radicals are already gaining strength, would not see its own social fabric affected by this is fanciful.

Hmm. Daniel Davies thinks this is rather overstated. I tend to agree, although can’t claim any particular expertise in French domestic politics.

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James Joyner
About James Joyner
James Joyner is Professor and Department Head of Security Studies at Marine Corps University's Command and Staff College and a nonresident senior fellow at the Scowcroft Center for Strategy and Security at the Atlantic Council. He's a former Army officer and Desert Storm vet. Views expressed here are his own. Follow James on Twitter @DrJJoyner.


  1. BigFire says:

    Well, I still vote France as the first Western European country to adopt Sharia in the LGF poll.

  2. ahem says:

    And I vote Charles Johnson the first blogger to be convicted of randomly gunning down Muslims.

  3. Michael says:

    1. The UN building should be removed from US soil and the US should withdraw participation.

    2. The US should ban all outflow of US assets to foreign countries and impose a 100% tax on all imported goods.

    3. All US govt personnel, including the military, should be brought back home immediately.

    4. All countries should be given warning – mess with us and you get an ICBM up your ass.