Riots have ravaged Paris suburbs for 9 nights now, and are spreading. Apparently not everyone is happy with the way that Mama France cares for them. I'm sure these 15,000 people wouldn't be too happy about it--if they were still alive. Am I the only person who remembers that 90 degree heat wave that killed so many people just 2 years ago, in 2003?
Apparently, France isn't the paradise its government tells us it is. Apparently, Socialisme Francais isn't all it's cracked up to be.
People who sneer shouldn't live in glass houses. Others are watching.
Some might argue that the United States does exactly the same thing, but nothing could be further from the truth. It could be argued that the US acts in a "cowboy", "go it alone" manner, and I understand how and why some could hold that (incorrect) view, but we didn't invade Iraq because we looked down on them and sneered--we invaded Iraq because Saddam Hussein presented a threat to the US, presented a threat to stability in a volatile region, and violated the conditions of the 1991 cease fire. We don't scoff. We act.
The New York Sun reports:
Back in the 1990s, the French sneered at America for the Los Angeles riots. As the Chicago Sun-Times reported in 1992: "the consensus of French pundits is that something on the scale of the Los Angeles riots could not happen here, mainly because France is a more humane, less racist place with a much stronger commitment to social welfare programs." President Mitterrand, the Washington Post reported in 1992, blamed the riots on the "conservative society" that Presidents Reagan and Bush had created and said France is different because it "is the country where the level of social protection is the highest in the world."
I haven't heard President Bush lecturing Jacques-strap Chirac about assimilating people into the mainstream of French life. I haven't heard President Bush lecturing Jacques-strap Chirac about the glories of the free market. I haven't heard President Bush lecturing Jacques-strap Chirac about anything. And I hope he doesn't. He shouldn't stoop to the level of the President of France.
But I will.
Update, 11/6/05 9:49 am: As usualy, Mark Steyn says it superbly:
The notion that Texas neocon arrogance was responsible for frosting up trans-Atlantic relations was always preposterous, even for someone as complacent and blinkered as John Kerry. If you had millions of seething unassimilated Muslim youths in lawless suburbs ringing every major city, would you be so eager to send your troops into an Arab country fighting alongside the Americans? For half a decade, French Arabs have been carrying on a low-level intifada against synagogues, kosher butchers, Jewish schools, etc. The concern of the political class has been to prevent the spread of these attacks to targets of more, ah, general interest. They seem to have lost that battle. Unlike America's Europhiles, France's Arab street correctly identified Chirac's opposition to the Iraq war for what it was: a sign of weakness.